February 18, 2015

Kitchen Confidential

A good cook is only as good as his or her tools. So last week I visited a few stores and kept wandering into the kitchen section. I've wanted to replace a couple of pans and a few utensils for a while now, but I've been putting it off mostly because I didn't really need these things, I wanted them.

I was wise enough to buy a quality set of pots when I was in my 20s, but apparently not smart enough to buy a couple of good pans. For years I've been replacing one cheap pan for another.

Then there's the argument of which material makes the best pan. Did I want to stay with a (healthy) non-stick surface or should I take a chance with my cooking skills and choose stainless steel (a fair conductor but non-reactive)? Or maybe I should try ceramic or copper... There are certainly a lot of professional chefs out there hocking their own line of cookware. Should I trust their judgement? The more information I had, the more confused I got.

After wrestling with this for some time, and reading numerous articles on the subject, I finally decided on Calphalon (hard-anodized aluminumreactive but a better conductor. Anodized pans are chemically treated to prevent reactivity). It fit my budget and my needs.

So what started this urge to replace cookware? Jars of beautifully packaged spices. Now I realize this is another subject that's up for debate. When I can, I pick herbs from my garden, but I need to rely on store-bought spices (and herbs) when I can't. I know you can buy spices for very little at the dollar store, I also know you can spend upwards to $20 a jar (or more) in gourmet stores. When I find a brand that falls somewhere in the middle, I'm usually happy with the quality.

That's when I can across these spices from Archer Farms (in Target !) and I was inspired. I love the wide opening and screw top. I keep kosher salt in an old Crabtree and Evelyn jam jar so I don't mind tossing herbs and spices into my hand.

Now I want to completely re-do my pantry and fill it with jars and baskets. I've already replaced my Tupperware with restaurant storage containers. I have the urge to rearrange my cupboards, place additional baskets in my fridge, and fill the kitchen with bowls of lemons.

Truth be told, someday I would love to try out All-Clad, but it's not in my budget at the moment. I'll use these pans for now and save my pennies for a small sautĂ© pan in the near future. And I kick myself for not taking my mother's cast iron skillet when she offered it to me!


Wendy E Wrzos said...

Loved reading this, Kim! I finally bought a crepe pan a few years ago, and I absolutely love it. Indulgent for someone who only makes them a few times a year, but worth the small expense.

Tess said...

Ha. I'm a sucker for packaging. And my weakness right now is also kitchen supplies.....new bowls, gadgets, and gizmos. Love the spice jars.

Katelyn said...

This make me want to cook something. I like your food posts......and the decorating, and the home and family, and all of it!


Kimberly Merritt said...

Thank you all. I think this time of tear we all want to freshen up our surroundings, even in small ways. I'm a big believer in buying quality. Now I need to practice what I preach!