There’s a lot of nonsense to wade through out there when trying to stock your kitchen. Do you really need that $300 knife? How often are you gonna pull out that salad spinner? And exactly which one of those things they sell on TV is really going to take the place of every other piece of equipment in my kitchen? (Hint: none of them.)
The problem with most of the people telling you to buy things is that they’re usually the ones selling it. Who can you trust? Well, this chapter is a no-nonsense, no bullshit guide to point you toward what you really need in the kitchen and what is just noise.
Any Eddie Izzard fans in the audience? According to him, “The National Rifle Association says that guns don’t kill people—people kill people. But I think the gun helps.” Funny joke. But what’s it got to do with cooking? I remember a time back when I first started working in restaurants. One of my jobs was to reduce a couple quarts of heavy cream down to a couple of pints.
I’d get a big heavy pot with an aluminum base, pour the cream into it, and cook it over the lowest possible heat so that it’d reduce without even bubbling. I’d do this every morning, and it would take a couple hours, but no big deal; I had plenty of other tasks to keep me occupied—peeling potatoes, peeling salsify, peeling carrots (ah, the life of a green cook).
Then one morning, the pot I usually reduced the cream in was being used. Rather than wait for it to free up, I just grabbed one of the thinner stockpots off the shelf, poured in my cream, and heated it as usual.