Whether you're a beginning cook or you're living on your own for the first time, a set of basic kitchen tools allows you to fend for yourself, entertain and provide for others. A relatively small group of kitchen tools performs the most essential kitchen tasks. If you learn about basic kitchen tools and their uses, you can assemble a set of tools that will allow you to create your own meals from scratch.
There are two essential types of measuring cups: dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups. Dry measuring cups usually look like stubby half-cylinders with thin handles sticking straight out from their sides. Each dry measuring cup's size corresponds to a particular measurement; for example, 1 cup or 1/2 cup. Liquid measuring cups are essentially small pitches. Like drinking mugs, liquid measuring cups have curved handles that protrude from one side of a slightly concave, cylindrical body. Unlike a dry measuring cup, which only measures a single quantity, a liquid measuring cup measure various quantities. A liquid measuring cup indicates units of measurements with markings printed or etched on its surface.
Knife and Cutting Board
The indispensable team of knife and cutting board handles most food preparation tasks. Kitchen knives vary in size and shape according to application. While large, broad-bladed knives generally chop, dice and mince ingredients, small knives with thin blades perform intricate paring or decorative cutting. Regardless of appearance, kitchen knives are exceedingly sharp and capable of smoothly slicing through tough meats and vegetables. A cutting board is simply a clean, flat surface used as a temporary work surface. Cutting boards range from 12 inches square to several feet wide and from 1/8 inch to an inch or more thick. Cutting boards are commonly manufactured of glass, plastic or wood.
Typically made of glass or metal, mixing bowls provide the chef with a container for combining solid ingredients, dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Unlike serving bowls, mixing bowls have an extremely shallow bottom, sometimes only a few inches in diameter. Additionally, while the sides of many serving bowls are straight, like the sides of a cone, the sides of mixing bowls climb upward and outward in a gentle curve, like the interior of a globe. The unique shape of mixing bowls allow chefs to easily lift, toss and scrape ingredients from the bowls' sides.
Pots and Pans
Pots and pans are the primary buffer between heat and ingredients. They are usually shaped like broad, shallow cylinders and have a solid bottom and an open top. Chefs place pots and pans over stove burners, into ovens or over direct flames. When subjected to heat, the pot's or pan's metal body absorbs and transfers the heat to ingredients contained within its body. The walls of a pot are taller than the walls of a pan and the bottom, or base, of a pan is often broader than the base of a pot. Pots generally deal with wet-heat cooking methods, such as boiling, steaming and braising. Pans usually sautee, fry and sear ingredients.
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