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Maybe you love it. Maybe you loathe it. Either way, kitchen duty falls on everyone from time to time. With the right tools (and attitude), even the most novice chef can find joy in cooking.
Why Eat In?
Looking for a good reason to eat at home? Here are three:
It’s fun. You don’t have to host an elaborate dinner party to make a memorable event out of eating in. Ask a friend over for drinks and dinner that you make together. You’ll have a blast catching up over risotto and rosé, and they’ll likely be on board for clean-up, too.
It saves money. No matter how casual the restaurant, eating out adds up. Plan for at least a few homemade meals a week, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your bottom line.
It’s healthy. Or, at least, it can be. If you cook your own food, you know what’s in it. The description of a dish on a menu reveals only so much. Choose nutritious ingredients at the grocery store or farmer’s market and a fit, healthy body will be your reward.
Measuring Cups and Spoons: Make sure you have a cup for measuring liquid (spouted rim for easy pouring) and dry (straight rim for easy leveling) ingredients. Three teaspoons equal one tablespoon, but if you have a ring of spoons of various sizes, you won’t have to remember that fun fact.
Mixing Bowl: A glass, plastic or stainless steel bowl that holds 3 to 5 quarts is perfect for potatoes, cake mix, or eggs destined for quiche.
Baking Dishes: At a minimum, you will want a rectangle (13×9) and square (9×9). Glass is best for monitoring progress, and lids make potlucks and storage a cinch.
Knives: Use a sharp, 8- to 10-inch chef’s blade to chop meat, slice vegetables, and mince herbs. A paring knife will peel and seed fruits and vegetables and prepare garnishes like a pro.
Utensils: There is an endless number of utensils available that range from basic to specialized, but don’t get overwhelmed. Here is a good place to start: tongs for turning meat and tossing salads, a large spoon for scooping and one with slots for straining, a ladle for serving the right amount of soup, a whisk for mixing, and a can opener.
Pans: One to fry an egg and another to heat sauce—a non-stick surface is the way to go.
Cutting board: Wooden is best for your knives, but plastic is easiest to clean. Whichever you choose, one for meat and another for veggies is the safest route. (Cross-contamination is no fun.)
Colander: There’s no better way to drain pasta or rinse fruits and veggies.
Baking sheet: For cookies and bread, of course, but choose one with rolled edges so you can roast veggies and meat, too.
Thermometer: How else can you tell if the turkey is REALLY done?