At Beneath the Crust, we spend a large part of every day in the kitchen. After countless hours — really too many to count — spent cooking and baking and meal-prepping for our families and friends, we know which items we reach for time and again, and which ones are left getting dusty on the shelf. That’s why Maria, Sophie and I feel confident in presenting to you a new series: the well-stocked kitchen. Over the next couple weeks, we’re going to share with you which kitchen items we consider pretty much essential.
So, whether you are just starting out on your own and wondering what to buy for that apartment kitchen, or you’re putting together a wedding registry and the options are overwhelming, or you’re a few years into married life and some of those registry-items are now breaking, or you’ve reached the point in your life where you really want to beef up your kitchen supplies with quality products, or you’re new to the cooking/baking from scratch world and you don’t know where to begin, or you’re looking for gift ideas… really, if you do any food preparation at all, this series is for you!
the well-stocked kitchen
part 1: stovetop essentials
dutch oven: this is a kitchen workhorse, a must-have. It basically lives on the stove. You can cook everything and anything in it, from deep frying french fries or donuts, to pork fried rice, to spaghetti sauce, popcorn, soups, stir fry, sourdough loaves, beans, roasts and more. The legendary winner is the Le Creuset Signature, but it’s pricey. The Lodge dutch oven is reasonably-priced and still a quality item. It holds up to daily use for years and years.
cast iron skillet: Like the dutch oven, a cast iron skillet is a kitchen classic. They hold and distribute heat well, they work across a variety of stovetop ranges (induction included), they are multi-purpose pans, and they go from stove to oven. (Although you may want to consider the small investment of a handle cover; too many times have I absent-mindedly grabbed a pan’s handle straight from the oven!)
cast iron griddle: On the same theme, the cast iron griddle is another workhorse. Essentially a skillet without tall sides, the griddle is great for anything that requires flipping (think fried eggs, pancakes, grilled cheese, quesadilla).
pots and pans: when you are looking at pots and pans, the price tag of complete sets can seem a bit daunting, but it’s important to think about the long-term quality of these items. They will probably get daily use, so you want them to last, and to serve you well. Consider the material they are made of—if you move into a home or rental with an induction stovetop, you may be looking at replacing your entire collection of pots & pans. Consider the handles, and how sturdily they are attached. Non-metal handles and lids with non-metal knobs, although often cute and colorful, may not be able to go from stove to oven, so take that into consideration. And nonstick pans, if sometimes thought more convenient when cooking, require more caution and are easily ruined. I opted for the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel cookware set, and have loved every aspect of these pots and pans. Sturdy construction, no staining, easy clean up…six years of daily use and they look as good and work as well as ever.
stay tuned for more posts in the well-stocked kitchen series!