I spend a lot of time thinking about food. I think it's because I feel like buying food is more necessary then buying other products. It's consumable and nourishes my body in a way a sweater can't.

I do a lot of my own cooking to save money and eat healthier.

Saving Money
The average price for a home cooked meal ranges but I doubt that it is more then your $10+ entree at a restuarant. My average cost per meal comes out to $2 a serving. And I eat very well, in the healthy sense and in the amount sense!

Healthier Meal
If you cook something, you have control of what goes in it. How much salt did the restaurant put into your soup? How much butter in those cookies from your favorite dessert place? You probably don't want to know. You can also do things when you cook like sneak in fiber and vegetables to your unsuspecting victims. (Evil laugh here)

Ok so I've convinced you to at least attempt cooking at home, even at least some of the time. Excellent! Here are ten cooking implements I would recommend having, whether you are just beginning to build your kitchen or a seasoned pro.

Crepe Pan
A light non-stick pan that goes beyond making that wonderful little french dish. You can use it like a frying pan, but its lightness makes it easy to make something a little more delicate like an omelet. Buy a good quality one; I've had mine for over six years. (Average cost: $100)

George Foreman Grill
If you eat meat with any regularity, this makes it easy and healthy (no oil). Also great for grilling crispy tofu and eggplant. Oh, and you can think of it as a panini machine, just add butter to the outside of your bread and *perfection*. (Average cost: $25-$80- depending on size and brand)

For stirfrys but you can also boil water in it for pasta. Get one with a lid, and don't bother with nonstick surface. The real Chinese cooks use metal. (Average cost: $10)

A Strainer, with a fine mesh
For draining pasta, rinsing sushi rice, and making apple sauce. You can also use it like a sifter! (Average cost: $5-$10)

A Knife
A good knife makes chopping fresh vegetables or cutting open packages that much easier. Check a place like TJ Maxx; you can get a discount on one good quality knife. (Average cost: $15-$25)

Cutting Board
Goes with the knife, keeps you dishes and counter from getting damaged. (Average cost: $3)

A Spatula
Get stuff off a non-stick pan, cutting and serving. It's one of those things you only miss when you don't have it, though I can't think of a really compelling use for it at the moment. (Average cost: $5)

Pan (For the Oven)
A glass or ceramic deeper dish will not only make deserts like brownies and pies but you can make layered dishes like lasagna. Sure it makes a bizarre-shaped lasagna, but you don't need to buy a bunch of oven pans this way. (Average cost $15-$40)

Cookie Sheet
For making cookies, pizza, and roasting swiss chard. (Average cost $2)

Rice Cooker
A versatile appliance for busy people who want to eat well? A rice cooker. (From GenX Finance) It steams, it cooks rice, it can brown onions. The nonstick surface and low temperature make it perfect for cooking rice but also soups would be perfect in here. (Average cost: $25-$80- depending on size and brand)

Obviously, you can build up your kitchen over time. Start out with the thing that excites you the most and go from there.

So do you agree with my list? Anything you'd take off or you think I'm forgetting?



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