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Jan. 6th, 2006 @ 09:33 pm Cooking geekery
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Most of my Christmas presents this year were cooking gadgets--several spatulas, a pastry scraper, and good stainless steel tongs. I had been living my entire adult life without good tongs. Enough, I said. I realized part of why when I showed my wife how happy I was cooking (baking tofu on a cookie sheet) and she said, "I didn't know, I never cooked with tongs." Wow.

The other cool thing we bought were two 9.25" Scanpan Classic Titanium frying pans. These things are beautiful and we bought them because they were only $40 bucks. Problem was when we opened them, one was dented. Not badly, but enough that the circle of the frying pan edge was askew.

I call Chef's Catalog and tell them this, they apologize profusely and say they'll send another one out--and here's the best part--since the one I have is damaged I don't have to send it back. So now I will have 3 of these frying pans--and then the rest of them went on sale so we went ahead and bought the 10.25" frying pan too (only one though). At this point we can get rid of our other crummy non-stick pans--these are very hefty aluminum and the coating is tough enough you can use metal utensils on it (although all the same, we're probably going to keep the metal away from it, which is why one set of tongs are silicone tipped).

Honestly, it doesn't pay to buy cheap kitchen equipment. Let's say you're starting off a new apartment. You're better off buying one really nice fry pan, a saucepan, and perhaps a stockpot, than spending the same money on a set that you probably won't use all the pieces of but might be cheaper. Then add one or two pieces a year as you can afford it. Don't buy crappy kitchen knives--you can probably make do with 1 chef knife and maybe a parer for quite a while, again, filling in as you get money and figure out what you cook and what you need. The stuff I'm buying now, I intend to last for many years. It will go really well with the new kitchen, when we do that sometime in the vague future.

Of course this is my theory on almost everything lately. Durable goods should be exactly that. We're buying a new dining room table--and it's more cost-effective to buy the one we'll be able to pass down to our kid.
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klaatu
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From:johnstevensaul
Date:January 7th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)

I got

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Calphalon... although today I would have bought the 400 dollar 8 piece calphalon one hard anodized stuff, since it cleans like non-stick, but it metal safe and sears properly... it's wonderful...

My sister who is a prof. chef says you only need 3 knifes, deboning, paring, and chef's.
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From:mrfantasy
Date:January 10th, 2006 01:28 am (UTC)

Re: I got

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You can skip the boning knife if you don't cook meat.
From:smbslt
Date:January 8th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
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And a serrated knife - works great when slicing tomatoes. And my current favorite gadget is an immersion blender - works great for pureeing soup, making smoothies, etc. And it is a lot easier to clean than a regular blender.
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From:mrfantasy
Date:January 10th, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)

Personally

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I prefer a straightedge sharp enough to slice tomatoes, but a serrated blade is good for that. Again, though, don't get a cheap serrated knife.

Someone in my house is getting an immersion blender for her birthday. Don't tell.