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Essential Items All Kitchen Needs
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Good Quality Knives
: A 9” or 10" chef knife, a 3”   or 4" paring knife, a 10" bread knife and a 8" boning knife are all must haves. As for quality and type, use only high-carbon stainless. This is the best quality you can buy. It will last a lifetime, but require sharpening every now and them. If you buy high-carbon stainless, you should also get them a steel to go with them (it's used to straighten the blade).
If the couple is NOT into cooking, you may choose to go with a good quality stainless knife instead. High end brands now make stainless steel knives that are very affordable. The blades are VERY strong and will hold an edge for a long time, but once they are dull, they cannot be sharpened and will most likely just be thrown away. However, this would take 10-15 years of periodic use.

Large Stainless Pasta Pot: Everyone needs to boil water which makes this simple item a necessity. A good gift idea are the sets which include a pot, lid and removable strainer. This makes pasta a breeze. Make sure the pot is as heavy as possible (Copper bottom is good, aluminum core is great too, basic thin stainless won't cook as evenly or last as long.)

Frying and Sauté Pans: Frying pans have the squared up sides, sauté' pans have the curved edges. A small non-stick sauté for omelettes; a medium non-stick for small stir-fries; a large frying pan for cooking in lots of oil or long slow braising. A few others as needed by the household (a family of 6 needs mostly huge pans, a couple of two can get a away with only one large one for large events). Make sure all frying pans have lids, you never know when you'll need one.
There is a great range of affordability in pots and pans. If you expect them to get lots of use (cooking 4-7 nights a week), invest in heavy gauge aluminum. If the couple doesn't cook much, don't bother spending so much. Find a good stainless brand or stainless with copper bottoms.

Large Lidded Roasting Pan
: For roasting a chicken or beef roast. The heavier gauge of aluminum, the better.

Large Set of Bowls: For mixing, serving and gathering ingredients. Everyone needs at least three and up to ten in graduating sizes. Stainless is great for everyday, it's lightweight, won't break and cleans up easily. Clear glass is nice because you can see what is in the bowl before you get over it, but they are at least somewhat breakable. Porcelain looks beautiful, can be used for most any task, but is heavy.

Large Plastic Cutting Board: I prefer plastic because I can put it in the dishwasher for a really good steam cleaning. Wood looks nice, and wears well, but it can't be sterilized. There have been several research studies done comparing bacterial growth on plastic vs. wood. Initial reports showed that although wood cannot be sterilized completely (bleach or other anti-bacterial cleaner cannot penetrate into all the crevices), wood actually inhibits bacterial growth naturally. A sloppily cleaned plastic cutting board is apparently more of a problem than a wood one.

Good Quality Utensils: Four sided box grater; Good Grips Peeler and Can Opener; large stainless steel cooking spoons, spatula, and fork; big stainless steel strainer; a whisk; a plastic spatula/spreader and don't forget a set of cup and tablespoon measurers.

 

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August 21, 2017

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