with purchase of 75 $ and more
1- Cooking tools
* For the oven:
- An aluminum cooktop/baking sheet: never baked on it, always put a high quality silicone mat or parchment paper. Aluminum is one of the best conductors of heat, it is ideal when you want a uniform cooking therefore for cakes rolls, biscuits, baked papillote etc.
- A stainless steel plate: it is a less of a heat conductor but you can cook the food directly on it and it caramelize well, so it is ideal for roasting vegetables etc.
* For the stove:
- A large stainless steel pan: one chooses either a true three-ply (1 layer of aluminum sandwich in 2 layer of stainless steel) or with an encapsulated bottom but very thick (everything below 4mm n Is not the best quality). In these 5mm bottom thickness, there is a thick layer of aluminum that will allow an ideal distribution of heat. This stove is used to fry, sauté etc.
- A large non-stick frying pan. It is used sparingly and never heated at high temperature quickly, and ideally never at high temperature. We choose a non-stick coating that is not only AFPO (mandatory in Canada for a few years now) but also without PTFE (very important). Ceramic coatings are a "better" option, unfortunately, although these coatings have improved in recent years, their lifetime (in terms of anti-adhesive properties is disappointing, it works great at first but as Measurement of uses, performance falls drastically). However, whether it is a ceramic or regular coating, make sure it is without PTFE and AFPO, these are highly toxic manufacturing processes not only for the workers who manufacture them but also for their environmental footprints because they are extremely polluting. Even in the "best" factories in China (yes, 97% of the world production is made there, even for famous Italian and French brands ...), I have seen working conditions that respect international standards but Which in the eyes of people with a good human sense would not find it acceptable. So what's the best option? A stainless steel pan with more fat to make it stick less, if not a cast iron pan WITHOUT coating for which one must do the work of "seasoning" the pan ie preparation of the pan’s protective layer. On the other hand, in these two cases, the pans are much heavier and according to the use that one has to make of it, sometimes one prefers to really have a non-stick frying pan. In that case, I prefer the forged aluminum pan with an excellent non-stick coating. Why? Because aluminum is a better conductor of heat, it must be less heated and it cooks quickly and uniformly what one wants to cook. In addition it is light so to make the pancakes the cast iron pan is great, the steel one, a disaster but to make pancakes or omelets, let's just say we are more likely to be a champion with an aluminum pan. Whatever happens, one avoids pressed aluminum pans which are cheap and do not last long, they deform themselves too quickly.
- A large saucepan that serves as an everyday pan, do all stainless steel pan and 2 regular saucepans.
- Whether the lids are made of glass or steel, they are personal preferences, but in all cases, lids are chosen without holes! These holes are useless and cause loss of heat and humidity more than anything... If it looks like the lid "floats" a little on the saucepan, this is normal! If there are no holes, this adjustment allows for the excess pressure to come out of the saucepan. When there are no holes, it is a type of cooking called à l’étouffée. There are many advantages and benefits. This means that all liquids, flavors and foods evaporate and as they are stuck in the saucepan, condensate back and fall back on the food thus preserving the flavors and moisture of the food (important in cooking but also, as the heat stays inside, there is an appreciable energy saving used but also, it also allows a true cooking at low temperature which really allows to lose the least nutrients possible and should be advocated as much as possible.
- We have a quality cast iron pot, preferably one that is made in France or Germany, nothing else! Simply because we have a better assurance that it is a quality product and above all, even if the fabrication process is very polluting, it is done with high standards that surround these same manufacturing processes. The working conditions I saw in China horrified me and still haunt me, even today.
Morality for everything cooking utensils: we shop for them in single unit even if it seems more expensive but at least we are sure to have the pieces that will really serve us. We always have an aunt, a girlfriend or a mom who bought the whole cooking set at a big discount every month and that has pieces that she does not use ... we take advantage then ... Otherwise, my favorite (except for the non-stick frying pans that you always buy new and throw out as soon as you see that it is damaged or scratched) is to buy used. My most beautiful pieces were found on flea markets in Europe at the time when I lived there, pans etc. That has 20 years of life and is impeccable, both in the functional part as the handle! I make sure it was manufactured in France, Italy, the Netherlands or Germany; I obviously do not buy the made in China from 20 years ago ... lol
2- Preparation Tools
- Three good knives: a chef's knife, a bread knife and a paring knife. You can buy the whole set if you really want it but you really need only those three knives. Moreover, the sets sold in the blocks are rarely of good quality and besides a block is the worst way to store knives ... we mangle the blades and we have to sharpen them often! You do not skimp on the chef's knife and paring knife; it's a long-term investment that saves a lot of money and safer to work. There is nothing more dangerous than a knife that does not cut or badly ... Small note for the bread knife: there are two types of bread blade on the market, pointed serrated blades and slightly rounded serrated blades. We prefer the latter, especially when dealing with gluten-free bread or gluten-free cakes as they are more fragile than breads with gluten, and a pointed toothed blade tears the crust (already more friable than breads with gluten) but also requires more pressure and crushes our loaves ... In contrast, rounded (but sharpened) serrated blades cuts and slices into the crust. So we have the opposite effect!
- A good wooden spatula. By good, we mean: a spatula made of a solid piece of wood, not made with glued pieces. They are recognized by looking at the grain of the wood, which must be uniform over the whole spatula, from the handle to the end, to the front and to the back. Even if they are "food" glues, these spatulas are heated in our dishes, we mix, scrape the bottom of the pots and pans, do we really
want to have heated glue in contact with our food? They are also made of hardwoods such as maple or walnut. I am mixed on that of bamboo because the bamboo is in fact full of pieces of wood glued and pressed ... the other woods are too porous or not hard enough and wood fibers break down and slip into the food to Without our knowledge. The ravages on our internal system can be considerable, so no pine utensil etc. I have a special favorite for the angle spatulas of Ricardo and Little Deer. Their angle and ergonomics are perfect and is the most versatile and necessary utensil for me in the kitchen. I have 5 and I do everything with it. It replaces the wooden spoon, the spatula, the serving spoon, it is the indispensable tool for deglazing, and I find it new uses almost every day!
- A large flexible spatula (just for pancakes and other very delicate things ...)
- A maryse (or silicone spatula) and I prefer it covered with silicone. Never choose a utensil that is made from two distinct parts, either they separate in the long run, or they are made to separate but the amount of bacteria that hide in the corners is impressive. Since silicone has extraordinary waterproofed properties, it also makes sure that as soon as there is fat on it, it is difficult to wash and in the long run, there is a film of fat that settles and it becomes quickly disgusting to hold. That is why the only things that have silicone in my kitchen are either the maryse (for the functional side) or the silicone mat (for the ecological side vs parchment paper ...) or the silicone brush (because it does not lose its hair and it is the only one who washes well!)
- A ladle
- A 4-sided grater (to grate the vegetables etc. if you do not want to use the heavy artillery) - we want it with a non-stick base and we make sure that at least 3 of the faces will be useful ... I see So much aberration on the market where there are only two faces that will really serve us, faces with lots of pimples are useless (even for the parmesan for which they are supposedly made!) And faces with long Blades never cut and at the frequency where you make shavings, I just tell myself that we were just looking for a use on this fourth face! We want a face for fine graters, a medium and a wide.
- A zester - in this case we want specifically razor blades, they’re the most effective on the market. And a microplane has the best on the market.
- A good mandoline
- A good garlic press: make sure the container is large enough, and that there is a mechanism to clean/remove the crushed garlic in the small holes...
- A potato peeler with a quality blade
- Kitchen scissors that separate to clean...
- Tongs (very versatile in the kitchen)
- A Scale: no need for scale with 1000 nutritional functions. The only one that serves is the one that shows the grams and the tare or 0 function.
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons. What you have to make sure when you buy the measuring cups is that you take Canadian and non-American cups. Indeed the American cups are equivalent to 240ml while the Canadian are worth 250ml. This sometimes explains the differences in results in recipes. With salty foods, it is less serious but in the sweet, it is more problematic!
3- the small appliances
- At least a stick mixer (or immersion mixer)
- At best, a high power mixer like a Vitamix or Blentec
- At least one hand mixer
- At best a stand mixer. No need for the most powerful either!
The rest is incidental but can sometimes be very useful if you want to save time, nevertheless, there is always way to do it by hand. For the small appliances mentioned above, there are no good options by hand so they are a minimum and you have the chance to be able to choose, then why not go with the best!
There are 1000 other things and anecdotes that I could share but I will get boring with all this information!