It isn't something new to talk about, but it is incredibly accurate to say that having the right tools for the job will make the end product fantastic. The kitchen is no different. It isn't just about appliances, as those do help, but what I am talking about goes a bit more specific. It will also vary from person to person as some individuals are just better with certain tools than others and that is all they need.
When working in the kitchen, you need to have the appropriate pans to cook in. If you use cheap, inexpensive pots and pans, you will get burnt and strangely flavored foods. Cheap pans don't heat evenly and usually end up warping in the middle after only a few uses. Spend the extra money and get yourself some quality cookware. Your food will never be the same.
Next is your knife or knives depending on how special you think you are. I know of a chef who does everything with only one knife, one type, one blade, nothing else. You can get yourself a different blade to do almost every single task in the kitchen, but if you aren't a butcher or professional chef in your daily profession, you don't need half of the knives out there. A good bread knife, cook's knife, and maybe just maybe a pairing knife is what the everyday or weekend culinary warrior will need to get the job done. Price doesn't always dictate good quality. I have spent $80 on a knife that needs to be sharpened everyday and just annoys the crap out of me and I have spent $20 on a knife that just kicks ass. It also happens to be one of the name brand knives from a celebrity chef. I didn't buy it because of the name on it, I bought it because of its shape. It rocks nicely enabling me to cut everything smoothly.
What do you feel comfortable with?
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