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Imagine the scene; you are preparing a lavish meal for friends, business associates or, horror of horrors, the in-laws. Suddenly you realise you don’t have the cooking equipment you so desperately need to create the recipe that calls for poached eggs, fondue or smoked salmon. Your heart sinks and you muddle on through the food preparation using as best you can what small and old cookware items you do have. The meal is not the best and you’ve probably received polite but disappointed glances from your guests as they tuck into the main course.

This nightmare scenario above can be avoided with a little preparation and contemplation beforehand. Buying cookware for your kitchen is a reasonably simple process and in fact can be done online if you are averse to traipsing around stores or live too far away from one which offers near-decent products. There are a few points to bear in mind when deciding upon the ideal cookware accessories for your cooking needs and they are as follows.

What cookware do you need?

This is the most important decision you’ll need to make and depends largely on what types of food you prepare, or are planning to prepare, on a regular basis. If like me you are fond of casseroles, then one or more casserole dishes are going to be an important addition to your kitchen equipment, if you don’t already have them. Likewise, if your friends, who come round every weekend, love fondue then you will need a good quality fondue set to make the best meal they have ever had and also to add a decorative element to the setting.

Spend some time thinking about what recipes you make the most and what items of cookware you were wishing you had last time you prepared a meal. It’s always best to be over prepared and thus allow the cooking process to be a fun and rewarding activity instead of a tense and frustrating drag on one’s emotional health.

Variations in cookware design

When you have decided upon the cookware item that you need, it is then time to pick the style of the pot, pan, dish, poacher, boiler or smoker, to name but a few, you have chosen. This will depend on how much you want the cookware to match and mix with the overall décor of your kitchen and/or dining room. If you’re not bothered about the aesthetics then picking a certain piece of cookware is going to be very simple. On the other hand, for most people, the style and functionality of the item will go hand in hand.

Cookware comes in a multitude of different colors, styles and decorative patterns. For a traditional kitchen interior, more classical pots and pans in copper will complement the décor of the room whilst for more modern interiors, then fun, unique and contemporary pieces will be suitable. Do you like kitchen accessories in yellow, blue, green, black, pink or orange? If so, you’ll be able to find cookware in all these colors and more.

What cookware material should I choose?

The material of the cookware you intend to buy largely depends on the type of item as well as the decorative quality you seek to bring to your kitchen. Stainless steel is the most widespread material used in the construction of cooking equipment and cutlery. This has a neutral look to it and will fit in to just about any style of kitchen interior without causing any drawbacks to the overall ambiance. Aluminum is another option and is similar to steel in appearance although it can be found with different colorations to match a certain style or scheme you want to achieve.

For a more unique look, either classical or modern, there are cookware items made from cast iron and copper. These are not so widespread as the previous two materials and will contribute a more interesting look to your kitchen and cooking arena.

Different cookware sizes

How many mouths do you have to feed? What is the average number of dinner guests you have round on a regular basis? These questions will provide the answer to the size of cookware you need to buy. For example, if you have small numbers of guests, say, just another couple around for dinner on most occasions, then a 10-quart pressure cooker is likely to be fine for all your cooking needs. However, if you have six or more people around for a large family gathering on Sundays, then you’ll be looking for a pressure cooker that is 23-quarts in size.

Another factor you’ll need to bear in mind when it comes to cookware size is the length and width of your electrical cooking appliances and the food preparation surface area of your kitchen. For small appliances and kitchens, more compact cookware items will be more beneficial and some are built for this type of scenario such as double boilers for use on cookers.

Cookware special features

For cooking aficionados who really love some extra bells and whistles on the items they buy for their kitchen, then cookware with special additional features will be highly in demand. These can actually be quite simple things such as a lid that locks or cookware sets with interchangeable lids so one lid can be placed on a variety of different items in the set.

Another positive quality and special feature of any good cookware set is the ability of the items to be stacked tidily after use. This saves space and also adds neatness and a tidy feel to the kitchen. For many people this can give peace of mind when feeling comfortable in a cooking environment.

How much storage space do I have for my cookware?

A common point many people forget in their enthusiasm for new cookware is the amount of kitchen storage they need for these new items. If you have a large kitchen with plenty of cupboards and shelves, then this won’t be a problem, but for smaller kitchens or those filled already with old cooking accessories, then you might run into placement difficulties.

One of my favourite alternatives to less cupboard and surface space is the hanging pot rack which is attached to the ceiling above a kitchen counter island. These not only look great but save on space and keep those important pots, pans and skillets close to hand. It’s important to buy cookware with holes or hooks in the handles however. The vast majority of pots and pans are built with holes in the handles precisely for this reason. Simple hooks attached to the kitchen wall will also look good.

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