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If you were trapped on a desert island and you could only bringfive utensils, what would they be? OK, so perhaps gourmet cookingwouldn’t be at the top of your list of priorities if you were stuckon an island … but you get the point.With so many different formsof culinary cutlery available, it’s easy for a new cookingenthusiast to become overwhelmed with options. Here are the fivebasics that no kitchen should be without.

1. Non-stick skillet with glass lid

This is one essential with many different uses. Own this skilletfor a week and keep track of how many times you will rely on it -you’ll be surprised. The non-stick aspect will take a lot of thefrustration out of both the preparation and cleanup processes andthe glass lid will allow you to follow many recipes while stillseeing what’s going on inside. A non-stick skillet is frequentlyused in culinary trainingprograms because of its versatility. Breakfast foods areespecially great in a skillet. You can make an assortment of itemsincluding pancakes, eggs and bacon.

Tips: Remember, there are many different types and brands. Takenote of how many layers of protection each product offers. Singlelayer coatings will not hold up as long. To prolong the life ofyour skillet, never use any harsh or abrasive scrubbing products.These will eventually damage even multi-layered coatings. Also trynot to stack your skillet in a crowded cupboard as this too maybegin to scratch the non-stick coating.

2. Set of five assorted pots and pans

Maybe this one is cheating slightly, but often you will find abetter deal buying pots and pans as a set, as opposed to a singlepot, and you will find so many uses for the assorted sizes. Thiswill be your no-fail cook set, and if you find a set of goodquality, it will last you for years to come.

Tips: Try to find a set with a Dutch oven, stockpot, skillet andtwo assorted sized pots. Also, check what type of metal is on thebottom. Copper and aluminum conduct heat well but are best whencoated with a layer of stainless steel. These also may come with anon-stick layer; just remember not to use metal utensils whencooking with these as they may damage the surface.

3. Spatula

This simple tool is a lifesaver in the kitchen. If you are usingyour non-stick cookware, make sure that you get a hard rubberspatula (usually silicone) so that it won’t scratch the coating.Make sure your spatula will stand the test of time by checking theheat resistance – this way you won’t end up with any messy meltingdisaster. Some packages may claim they withstand up to 650 degreesFahrenheit, while other more expensive brands may be closer to 800degrees. You don’t need the most expensive spatula, as used in somebaking classes or bakeries, but having one that can withstandhigh temperatures is a good idea.

Tips: Spatula sets are also a great option to get the most foryour money.

4. Set of knives

It would be very difficult to get anything done in the kitchenwithout a set of no-fail knives. Many come with sets of differentsizes and edges. The best sets also come with a sharpener, whichwill quickly become one of your favorite kitchen items. Sharpknives are not only safer because they slide more easily, but theyare also the most effective.

Tips: Knives also come in different hardness. Not sure what thatmeans? Quality is measured on the Rockwell Scale of Hardness, or asit often appears in stores HRC. Without getting too complicated,just know that in culinary schools, standards for a good quality knife set willfall around 55 to 60, and this should be noted on thepackaging.

5. Measuring cups and spoons set

Unless you have all your recipes perfectly measured out in yourmind, it’s essential to use measuring utensils when cooking orbaking. Fortunately most measuring sets come with both cups forlarger measurements and spoons for smaller ones.

Tips: While some sets come in various types of plastics,stainless steel is the best option to stand up to long term wearand tear during use and also in the dishwasher.

If this is your first time outfitting your kitchen, these fiveitems will surely get you on your way. As you spend more time inyour new kitchen you will find there are other items that you willwant to add to your wish list

Information in this article was provided by Le Cordon BleuCollege of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas. Contact Le Cordon Bleu todayif you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge andcareer-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program. (LeCordon Bleu does not guarantee employment or salary.)

Courtesy of ARAcontent