After hopping from apartment to apartment for the last several years, I am finally about to have some stability. I start grad school this summer, and with the prospect of being in one city for 8+ years, I am looking forward to acquiring some things that I'll keep around.
As I get more into cooking, I notice a clear difference the cheap dollar store pans I've been using, and the cookware my parents and relatives have in their kitchens. I'm also sorely starting to miss a stand mixer - it makes so many recipes look so much easier. I've also been loving my crock pot, and would like to move into sous vide (for the ease and reproducibility, more than the sexiness) Piece by piece, I'd like to start putting together a kitchen set (both pans and appliances) that makes cooking comfortable and consistent.
The problem is, I'm not sure what features or brands to look for in "nice" cookware. I know I want it to be easy to clean and generally able to go from stovetop to oven, but that's about it. I'm sure I don't have the budget to buy everything new (income is ~25k/year for the foreseeable future), so I'll be keeping an eye out at garage sales, Craigslist, and eBay. I'm not in any rush, so once I'm educated, I can wait to come across a good deal.
I'm sure others have put together a fine kitchen set on a budget before. I'd love to hear about your experiences.
More specifically, I suppose I'm looking for thoughts on where I ought to spend, and where I can scrimp. I'd also love if someone could give a primer on what makes a quality pan/stockpot/etc... And finally, any thoughts on good brands for appliances that are common enough to be found secondhand.
Below's my list of what I'm expecting to purchase. I'm hoping to keep it minimal and versatile, but I'm certainly open to thoughts about items to add or remove!
0. Chef's knife and Paring knife
1. Medium Skillet
2. 2 Gallon Stock Pot
3. 2 Quart Saucier
4. Stick Blender
5. Sous Vide Circulator
6. Stand Mixer