(FeatureSource) A good cook needs good tools. That is why it is important to take a look at your very own kitchen tools—pots, pans, and knives. They are an intricate and essential part of your kitchen, yet many people overlook their importance.
You may be overwhelmed with the choices you have to make when it comes to pots, pans, and knives. That may even be the reason you have kept the same old kitchen tools for years! But with some help from Don Silvers, author of the book, “Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind” ($24.95; NMI Publishers), you will be guided through the endless world of kitchen tools.
Here is some advice from Silvers, a Certified Kitchen Designer and certified chef:
POTS AND PANS
--LIDS SHOULD FIT TIGHT.
A tight lid is like a tightly closed oven—it ensures no heat or moisture escapes, and creates a mini-over on the cook top.
--WHAT IS THE BEST KIND OF HANDLE FOR A POT OR PAN?
A metal handle is the best choice for a handle. Many pots and pans now have metal handles that do not get hot when used on a cook top. And a metal handle is the only handle that can go into an oven.
The material the pot or pan is made out of also effects your cooking experience:
--WHY IS CAST IRON EXCELLENT FOR SLOW COOKING FOODS BUT UNSUITABLE FOR SAUTEING?
A cast iron pot or pan absorbs heat slowly, distributes it evenly and retains the heat for a long time. These very qualities that make it excellent for slow cooking foods make it unworkable for fast cooking processes, such as sautéing.
--WHAT SHOULD YOU BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHEN USING AN ALUMINUM POT OR PAN?
Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor and diffuser, but it will react chemically with acids, and can darken, discolor and change the taste of some acidic foods. A white sauce, for example, may turn gray in an aluminum pot if you’ve made a tomato sauce in it a week or two earlier. Because of this, many people choose to use their aluminum pots and pans for specific foods.
--WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FORGED AND STAMPED KNIFE?
Forged knives are made form one piece of metal, whereas a stamped knife may be made from several pieces making it easier to break. When deciding what type of knife you should purchase, buy a forged, rather than a stamped knife. Forged knives have superior weight and balance, which translates into less stress on your hand.
--IS YOUR KNIFE COLLAR BIG ENOUGH?
A quality knife has a one-half-inch-think collar, the edge of the knife that butts up against your hand on the underside. The blade should extend into a triple-riveted wood—not plastic—handle, which yields better traction for greasy hands. A quality knife will feel balanced.
--WHAT IS THE KEY TO A GOOD KNIFE?
Sharpness. Whenever you use a knife, you need to straighten the blade edge. This is done with an instrument called a steel, which is an elongated steel rod with a rough-grained surface designed to maintain a knife’s sharpness. Lay the knife on the rod and stroke at an angle with an upward and downward motion.
--WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO STORE YOUR KNIVES BLADES UP?
Storage is also important to keep your knifes lasting longer. Most people store their knifes in a countertop wood block, which makes for easy accessibility. But every time you pull out a knife from one of these blocks, the edge scrapes the slot’s interior and distorts the blade. To avoid this, simply store your knives with the blade up.
There is more to a kitchen than the stove, refrigerator, and sink. Using the right tools in the kitchen can dramatically enhance your cooking pleasure. “Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind” offers practical advice for cooking in your kitchen, as well as detailed and specific instructions when it comes to completely redesigning a kitchen. Bon Appetite!
For more information on “Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind,” you can get it direct from the author at (323) 934-4761, or at his website at www.donsilvers.com. The book is also available through Amazon.com.