You’ve done it. You’re about to move into your new home and your new kitchen is just sitting there waiting to be outfitted. With just a little thought and planning, you can have a kitchen that is as functional as it is beautiful. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Measure the square footage of your new kitchen accurately. You don’t want to buy new appliances, only to discover that they don’t fit in the intended space.
- Have the retailer that sold you your major appliances deliver the items to your home. Doing it yourself could result in injury or damage to floors, walls or baseboards. Home delivery is well worth the small extra expense.
- Double check to make sure that your sub-flooring can support the weight of your new kitchen purchases. This will prevent sagging and damage to your home’s infrastructure in future years.
Getting A Handle On Pans
Make sure that your small kitchen appliances are ones that you will actually use. Keep the appliances you use daily out on the counter and not hidden in the cupboard. You won’t use them if they aren’t readily accessible. Let’s start with the basics. Many people have more pots and pans than they need. This results in needless clutter and more clean-up time than is necessary. Your new kitchen should have a 10 inch sauté’ pan with a snugly fitting lid, a 2 to 3 quart saucepan with a lid and an 8 to 10 quart stockpot. Your sauté pan can double as a frying pan as well as an omelet pan. Use your saucepan for sauces, rice and heating up leftovers. Use your stockpot to stew and simmer, as well as boiling pasta, steaming artichokes and much more.
No Small Cooks, Only Small Appliances
Food processors take much of the time and drudgery out of preparing meals. Make sure yours has adequate power for doing a variety of jobs. Use a small countertop food processor for chopping, mixing and dicing. Your food processor should feature a six to eight cup dry ingredient capacity with enough power to puree, liquefy or crush ice. If you are a motivated cook and aspire to more than survival mode, a stand-up mixer may be well worth the investment.
A stand-up variable speed mixer will knead dough with the power needed for the job. Extra attachments for kneading dough and mixing batter will save your hands while giving your dough just the right consistency. Cooling racks are important so your cakes and pies will cool evenly and a good convection oven is also worth the considering for the serious cook. A convection oven distributes the heat of the oven more evenly and results in a better final result.
A hand mixer is always useful for whipping up fresh cream or making smaller dishes that require a little extra care. Your six-speed mixer should include a “slow start” feature so you can eat your creations instead of wearing them.
My Kingdom For A Paring Knife
Appliances are always nice to have, but having the right basic tools on hand is just as important. These should include:
- A chef’s knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Rubber Spatula
- Utility knife and paring knife
- Soup ladle
- Mixing bowls
- Chopping board
- Can opener
- Vegetable Steamer
Many people make the mistake of cooking vegetables too long and boiling the nutritional value right out of them. Use a steamer to get the most out of your vegetables. Your knives should always be made out of high carbon stainless steel. The high carbon construction will give your knives durability and stainless steel cutlery holds up much better against rust.
The Magic Pan
Deciding on what kind of pans to buy will be determined by several factors. How much cooking do you actually do? Are you an aspiring gourmet or someone who is happy to cook an egg without burning it? For out and out quality, copper cookware is best, but it is expensive. On the other hand, buying cheaper pans will only mean that you will have to replace them fairly often. If money is no object, go for the copperware. Otherwise, buying pans made out anodized steel should serve very well. Pans made out of anodized steel help prevent corrosion. These pans are pre-baked at high temperatures and should be good for most kinds of cooking. Remember not to use steel implements with your stainless steel pans to prevent scratching or ruining the pan’s finish. A cast iron pot is good for slow cooking or as part of a Dutch oven.
Give ‘Em The Hook
In most kitchens, storage space is a main concern. Using a wall pegboard to hang pans and other items allows easy access to things while saving space at the same time. If everything is out in the open and easy to get at, you will be more likely to use your kitchen. Counter space is a prime consideration, so save space where you can by making the best use of the counter space that you have. If you have the room, you may want to consider a kitchen island. This will allow for a preparation area away from the rest of the kitchen while allowing for extra storage space underneath.
A good dishwasher is a boon to a good cook. Though some items will always require hand washing, a dishwasher will save you much of the cleanup time that everyone dreads. Don’t forget that cooking at home is not only fun, it will save you significant money over the long term. Even a bad meal out is still expensive. You have a wide choice of materials for planning kitchen surfaces. You want to make sure that they are easy to clean and not prone to cracking, chipping or other kinds of damage.
Ready To Surface
Your choices for countertops are extensive. Many people like a granite surface if it’s in the budget. Granite is elegant, heat resistant and durable. It can also stain, crack and it needs to be treated with sealant on occasion. Engineered stone may be a better choice. It is made of quartz but has the look of granite and comes in a wide range of colors. The non-porous surface resists scratches and is easy to maintain. You can also choose ceramic tile, laminates, a classic wood and butcher block or thoroughly modern stainless steel. Your choices will be guided by many factors, but err on the side of elegance and ease of use and you can’t go wrong.
About the Author: Tim Norton is a college instructor and a freelance writer. Though originally from Portland, Maine, he has lived in Rhode Island for many years. He is the founder of the Providence Grays, a 19th century baseball team that demonstrates the game before 1900 for today’s fans. He also enjoys giving tips and advice on home improvement, decorating the babies room, and buying kitchen appliances