Invest in good cooking tools.

Just like in the garage or office, nothing is more frustrating than critical tools that suck. If your mower’s blade isn’t sharp, if your pen is out of ink, if your laptop is slow, we waste no time correcting the problem. Same applies with the kitchen. Strangely, we may already have many of these tools, and in fact we probably have way more than we need. Here are some “bare necessities” from the Murthy household, though our full kitchen list may be posted in a future post:

  1. Knives
    1. 6 to 8 inch chef’s knife – good for meats, tough vegetables, chopping, slicing. This is your go-to knife for roughly 80% of your work.
    2. Paring knife – for more delicate work such as cutting around unwanted parts of small vegetables like artichokes or potatoes, picking seeds out of lemons, cutting into packaging.
    3. Serrated bread knife – not just for bread, these knives work in a pinch on tomatoes if your chef knife is dull. Also for slicing cooked meat like pork loin or filet.
  2. Stainless steel bench scraper – this is the ultimate kitchen multi-tasker. Use it to divide dough into pieces, smash garlic, scoop up chopped veggies while keeping your hands clean, break up blocks of ice, you name it.
  3. Knife sharpener – a dull knife is not only a pain but is also more dangerous. We put more pressure on dull knives to make it cut. If that knife slipped, the wound would be deeper. That metal stick you get with knife sets is not a sharpener. For under $10 you can get a carbide metal sharpener from Amazon. Or you can spend upwards of $200 for an electric one.
  4. Crock pot – ‘nuf said.
  5. +3 cutting boards – one for meats, one for veggies, and another for anything else (trivet, serving plate, lid for a pot). Ensure yours is nonporous, anti-microbial, is dishwasher safe, and is highly rated by user reviews. The Murthy’s swear by the ones made by Epicurean.
  6. Stainless steel cookware
    1. 8 qt stock pot
    2. 12” braising pan
    3. 10” sautee or “omelet” pan
    4. 3-4 qt sauce pan
  7. Non-stick cookware
    1. 8-10” sautee pan
    2. 3-4 qt sauce pan
  8. +8 ramekins or small bowls – Use these to prep and layout all your ingredients first before dumping them in the pot. This is known in the culinary world as “mise en place” or “everything in its place”. Notice how celebrity chefs have all their ingredients in small bowls as they cook. This isn’t just for show. It’s a trick to making cooking “assembly” easier.
  9. Everything else – if you use it frequently, buy multiples. For example, we have 2 sets of measuring spoons, and could do with one more set.