The title may seem odd at first for this community, but I think you'll understand quickly enough. I'm separating from my spouse of over 30 years, so I find myself with the daunting (yet strangely exciting) task of starting my kitchen over. At 20 years old I had neither sense, money, experience, or the expertise to make any informed decisions about what I'd stock my kitchen with over the next few decades. Well...now I have more money and experience, and I have sense enough to listen to other people before spending that hard-earned money.
One of my new purchases that I want to make some good choices on: knives for the new kitchen. I spent the last couple hours of my life (not a bad investment, but I wouldn't mind streamlining it a bit) reading a number of columns on this site (and a few others) where folks ranted (sometimes vehemently) about hardness numbers, looked down their noses at people who would *ever* use a particular alloy (I'm familiar with NIMBY, but now I've discovered NIMK), etc. There were only a few level heads who shared that they used different ones for different jobs and that what mattered was performance and feel, not company name, not a particular alloy, not even necessarily a price tag.
One of the people in that post stated, "If you learn the correct ways to slice, julienne, brunoise, tourne, or chifonade, you will find these techniques difficult or impossible" using certain brands he was eschewing. I drive a Jeep. When I bought my last Jeep, I asked for the 4.0 L model with manual steering (I *like* the feel of the road when I drive). The salesman argued with me for 10 mins. about how with the bigger engine, I'd really want the power steering. His final remark was "with manual steering it definitely won't drive like a cadillac". The chifonade guy above argued that people shouldn't be in the thread if they didn't want to learn proper cutting techniques. (That wasn't the title of the thread, btw).
One of my best friends rides a Ducati. I ride a Honda. His bike will out corner, out accelerate, and in a hundred other ways outperform my old bike. His bike cost him 10x the price of my bike, and he spends as much time tuning it (which he enjoys also) as he does riding it. I'm quite happy with my bike. It's no Ducati though. But that's OK.
So, back to basic cookware. Which pieces do I want to get and from what company(ies)? I do not want to have to "take care" of it, so even if cast iron is a joy to cook with and performs some tasks better than ANY other metal, I can't be bothered with curing, caring, seasoning, and whatever else you might do to fine cookware. I don't mind if it's expensive, but I do mind if it's solely because it's a designer brand. I want something that cooks well (evenly, consistently--think work horse) and is durable (lasts the next 20 years) and cleans well. And I want enough pieces to use the right tool for the right job.
Thoughts? (both as to essential pieces and brands)
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