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Build my Kitchen Arsenal...

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I'll start by saying I've read more than I can process, and have been both overwhelmed, and satisfied with how great the knowledge base is here. So it being a forum, I figured I'd pitch my situation to the crowd, and hopefully get a few pushes in the right direction.

I live in a dorm with a tiny kitchen (stove, fridge, sink, microwave, minimal counter space, minimal cabinets) on an AF base. As it is my first assignment, I arrived with very little to my name, esp in the kitchen.

I'm not exactly a stranger to cooking, however I am by no means an expert, and I am still learning many things about basic food preparation. I do, however, know enough to know the difference between good equipment, and the single pot and pan I bought at Wal-mart for $10 after realizing I didnt even have the tools to heat soup:lol:! That said, I am notoriously spendy when it comes to things I like (skydiving, firearms, computers... all my toys are expensive) but normally balance quality with price if I know what I'm looking at. In the cookware arena, I don't really know what I'm looking at.:crazy:

Ok, enough yammering about me, here's what I'm looking for:

I need to build a set of pots, pans, knives, etc that will allow me to prepare a decent range of meals, while keeping the number of pots/pans/knives I own to a low number, since I don't have a lot of real estate to store them.

I want quality, without hesitation, and I am willing to pay for it. However I don't need the best, as I am not good enough to use it, and wont be in the immediate future. So if you had to build a dorm-room kitchen, what would you put in it? And then, what brands would you go with? :confused:

I have utensils (parents are wonderful, aren't they?), but I don't have a knife to my name, or any pots or pans to speak of, save my recycled-tin-can Walmart stuff :(.

I have read alot about AllClad on this site, and I've been scouring the local TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but I still dont know exactly which pans or pots I'm after.

I'm interested in every aspect, material, finish, handle quality, etc.

And yes, I know not to buy a set. So whaddya think guys/gals, can ya help a starving pilot?

post #2 of 38
There are a number of worthwhile pots and pans out there.

Bed Bath and Beyond routinely has 20% off coupons which will save you some money on say calphalon or other pans.

On a budget, Walmart carries Tramontina pots and pans with heavy bottoms that perform well and are very durable. KMart has the Martha Stewart line of cookware which is OK too. I don't like the shape of the Martha Stewart saute pans but their saucepans are good for the price. This recommendation is for all stainless, not nonstick and with metal handles. I want to be able to put these things in the oven and under the broiler.

Knifewise, bang for the buck is Forschner in their Fibrox line. Many good inexpensive vendors, I'm partial to Shop for case knives, Kershaw and other discount knives at Knifeworks.com

I'd recommend a cast iron skillet. Very versatile. As you're in a dorm, you must get one pre-seasoned as they'd kick you out if you tried to season it there. I like it better than non stick and can take high heat.

As to non-stick, I'd get cheap thick aluminum nonstick skillet for eggs and other finicky things. I'd shop around for a metal handle. Brand doesn't really matter here.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 38
a single good sauce pot. a few quart.

Calphalon or all-clad or something else heavy from TJMaxx or Marshalls (they like to "hide" in the stainless mess of the shelves...I'm an expert at spotting an all-clad or calphalon handle.

cast iron skillet

non-stick skillet - just look for a decent handle and a little heavy bottom....but don't brek the bank.

and perhaps just a stainless skillet, you could probably get most of what you want done with either the cast iron or the non-stick.
post #4 of 38
Target has a good deal on a 10" non stick omelette pan with stainless on the outside and an aluminum core on the bottom for $29.99 - Kitchen Essential by Calphalon. It has a metal handle also. Great pan for the money - I use mine all the time.

post #5 of 38
Real estate is going to be your limitation.

Frying pans:

Comment: There are a number of good brands, you don't have to restrict yourself. The most useful all around material/construction is a stainless insert in an aluminum shell -- or better in a stainless/aluminum sandwich (tri-ply). Don't bother buying cast iron until you have stainless. There's a lot you can't cook in cast iron because it's chemically reactive to acids. When you have everything else, it's all put away, and you still have room for one more pan -- then think about getting a cast iron or carbon steel skillet.

Non-stick has some interesting properties, especially in terms of cleaning. However, it has some interesting negative properties in terms of cooking performance and fragility. It's something you have to think about.

Sauce pans:
6 qt
1 qt

: Same construction considerations as with frying pans. Some brand names to look for Gourmet Standard, All-Clad, Calphalon (Tri-Ply), On base might be the best place to find them. The next step lower in quality is Emerilware and its similarly priced bretheren. This is actually well made, high performing cookware -- more than adequate for a dorm, and will serve well until other you move on to different domestic arrangements .

It's not a good idea for everyone, but considering you have essentially nothing, you're probably best buying a small set complete with compatible lids.

Baking pans/casseroles
(glass or ceramic)
9 x 13
8 x 10
8 x 8 square, or 9" round
9" pie pan

Comment: The first three will nest. You'll use these for for serving as well as cooking. Pyrex, Anchor, Corningware, Simax, plenty of good stuff out there. Reasonably priced, too.

Mixing bowls (glass, ceramic, stainless)
Set of at least three, nesting

Spatulas, metal sppons, etc. Get the best you can find/afford.
Wooden spoons. Get alot.
Corkscrew. You'll need it.
Whisk. Get a good one -- not a wire wrapped handle cheapo

When you think of knives, expand the concept to include sharpener and board. You'll destroy your knives on a bunk board. And if you don't keep them sharp, there's no point in buying anything other than cheapest. Like grounded pilots, all dull knives are equal.

The name Forschner has already come up. Forschner Fibrox/Rosewood are the least expensive knives that are worth holding on to for a long time. In the greater scheme of things they aren't good knives. If you can afford a little more, the quality differences in the next level of chef's knife are well worth the extra few dollars -- just as the step up to Forschner was worth the extra dollars more than Wal-Mart specials.

You need three knives for a core set: Chef's (or cook's); Paring (or petty), and Bread. Let's start with the bread knife.

Bread: Crusty bread will destroy a smooth edge as quickly as cutting cardboard -- and for the same reasons. A smooth edge, no matter how sharp will make a mess of some cake and bread cutting. You don't need to spend a lot on a bread knife. Buy by price and or appearance. Buy at least 8", 9" is better. Wal-Mart or Target are fine. On-base is fine. Forschner makes several good models. FWIW, the best at any price -- at least until the ridiculous -- is the MAC.

Paring: A small knife is useful for a number of tasks -- including paring. It also allows you to get a decent size cook's knife since you can use the paring knife for point intensive tasks. Forschner are good. MAC Professional is significantly better. Warther are quirky looking, American, and excellent.

Chef's: This is the knife you'll use most often, for most things. If you can afford it, it's worthwhile to step up to the "just over $100 for a 10" knife" level. I'd say no to Shun and Global. But both are good knives, there just happen to be better than either for the price. Shun are cosmetic champs. If you love the look, just buy it. Global chef's create hand problems don't the road for a great many men with better technique than you have. I'd say don't even think about it.

Fibrox/Rosewood are significantly less expensive -- they're worth every penny and more. It's the entry level good knife. Good all around except they lose their edge quickly.

Tojiro DP: If you're interested, I'll help you find them. These are the entry level, "traditional Japanese western knife." Good steel, bad quality control, a handle not everyone loves. A lot of knife for the money.

MAC Professional: Great knife. The Professional is nearly perfect; you've got to spend a LOT of money before you find anything which performs significantly better.

MAC Superior and Original: Don't bother with the Original. Too flexible, too hard to sharpen. The Superior is a good knife -- one of the best under $100.

Wusthof, etc.: Good (Stainless) European and European Like (Wusthof, Henckels, F. Dick, Lamson Sharp, Victorinox): The top line knives like Wusthof Classic and Ikon, Henckels Five Star, LamsonSharp, etc., are all good and all equal to one another. Wonderful fit and finish, wonderful quality control, wonderful cosmetics. Mediocre steel. Unless you can find one on deep sale, you can get much better performance for much less dough.

Kanetsugu: A real value leader. Nice knife to hold, easy to sharpen, easy to keep sharp. Quality control and fit and finish are good -- but the money's where it counts great blade, comfortable handle.

Sharpening: I don't know what you know, what you want to learn, or what you have time for. There are at least a couple of "best choices" for everyone. Tell me more about how much you're willing to spend in terms of time and money and we'll figure it out.

Hope this helps,
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great replies, I've got a much better idea of what to head for.

Some responses/questions for BDL:


Great info. Only one questions really: would you prefer cooking eggs on a non-stick pan? That's essentially the reason I had for getting at least one non-stick pan.


I looked through the brands you listed, especially at MAC since you gave the professional line such high regard. I have been able to find the 9.5 inch chef's knife for around $140. Is this a good price for this knife? (Model MBK-95). And would this be a good choice for a chef's knife?

For the paring knife, if I were to stick with the Professional line, which size would you suggest?


Yes, I knew I'd have to get to this at some point. I guess it's not the type of thing I want to spend money on, but realistically, I will.

I want a kit/set/whatever-you-call-it that will do justice to whatever knife I get. If that means spending more money, so be it. What would you recommend for sharpening the MAC Professional Line chef's and paring knifes, since I am leaning towards those?
post #7 of 38
No one mentioned a pressure cooker. If I could have only one pot, it would be my 8qt pressure cooker, since it can also be used as a regular pot and steamer. Prices vary, but I wouldn't consider anything other than stainless with the 3ply base. I have Presto (that groan you just heard was the pot snobs...never mind them :look:). There are costlier ones, and the "new generation" models are rumored to be much simpler to use. Fagor is a good mid-price cooker, and on the high end you will find the Kuhn-Rikon, which you often see the Iron Chefs using in the food network. All are available at Amazon.com. (Remember to use the link from here for your purchases.)
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #8 of 38
I don't like the teflon type non-stick. I think you're much better off getting a carbon-steel skillet from Matfer, Vollrath, etc., and seasoning it so that it acts non-stick. You'll end up using the carbon pan for everything for which you don't have to use the stainless (tomatoes, high-acid, etc), because it's better in almost every other respect. I didn't want to get into the whole stainless/not-stainless thing with someone who wanted to keep their cookware down to a minimum. If you have the storage, get a couple of carbon steels (yes, even before cast iron); and if you don't just stick with the stainless. Use the stainless correctly and you won't have any real trouble with eggs.

It's a great choice for a chef's knife. I hadn't realized the price had gone up so much, last time I looked they were under $120.

How can I put this in perspective? It's a pro's good knife. You're not going to find anything that works much better at any price. You can get 95% of the performance for under $100, and 90% for under $50. The $135 is about the same price as a Wusthof Classic or Ikon. If you're looking for a life-time knife the MAC Professional is a great choice, if not the huge bargain it used to be.

After reading your post, I started looking around at knives (and prices) and have to say there aren't many bargains in the true high-end. The closest thing I could find were close out prices on Wusthof Le Cordon Blue. It's a very good knife, not quite as good as a MAC (in any respect really) but more than good enough. An LCB runs around $80. Is the extra $60 for the MAC worth it? I'd say, "close call, but yes." But we're not talking about my money.

Full disclosure: I don't own any MAC knives. Almost all of my knives are old, vintage, and/or antique Sabatier carbon steel from one of the four best Sabatier companies. If I were buying new knives tomorrow, the core of my set would be Masamoto HC (virgin carbon). But, if I were forced to buy "the best stainless for a reasonable price," I'd choose between MAC Professional, Takayuki Grand Chef and Masamoto VG (and the MAC is the least expensive among these). Take the recommendation and the context for what it's worth.

The "new" knife skills call for a "petty" rather than a "paring" knife -- don't worry, it's really just jargon. In the Pro line, I'd suggest the 5" "utility" knife; and perhaps adding a very inexpensive 3" paring knife for cutting string, opening packages, and anything you really like a small knife for -- like a Forschner fibrox. I don't know your habits -- or even if you have any.

I'd recommend either learning to freehand or a quality rod-guide system. In the context of a set which includes a few MAC Pros (which are very hard steel) that means diamond or waterstones instead of Arkansas stones. Given that you're starting out, I'd recommend either the EdgePro Apex Kit 2 or 3; Naniwa 1000# and 5000# Super stones, plus a Norton coarse India and a Norton flattener; the Norton four surface set (220, 1000, 4000, 8000) which includes a sharpener and a how to sharpen DVD; a single Norton 1000/4000 combi stone, plus a Norton flattener ($50); or a Shapton 1000 and 4000 GS stones, plus DMT XC diamond stone for repair, profiling and flattening.

And with any sharpening system, an Idahone 1200# ceramic honing rod ($20), or a HandAmerican borosilicate glass rod ($70).

The choice of sharpening systems depends on how much you're willing to spend, how much maintenance you're willing to do, and whether you're willing and able to devote the time learning to freehand. The Apex has a very flat learning curve and is as good as a set of stones in almost every way. The few ways in which it isn't are ones you'll probably never see. The downside to the Apex is that it's kind of a PITA.

Another possibility -- not quite as good but a heck of a lot more convenient is one of the Chef's Choice sharpening machines. Chef's Choice have their limitations, but they do work, and with a minimum amount of attention won't screw up your knives.

post #9 of 38
About a year ago I bought a carbon steel pan just to use when making eggs. It was an experiment. The results were such that I no longer use a non-stick pan for eggs. IMO, the carbon steel is that much better. So much so that I'm looking to get another one.

Gradually I'm phasing out non-stick cookware. I've only one skillet that's non-stick, and I sometimes use it for one thing or another, but when it's used up, it's gone. In fact, I already bought the replacement, but being a cheap SOB, I can't bear to toss a good skillet in the trash. Maybe I'll donate it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
post #10 of 38
Thread Starter 
Good to know about the Carbon Steel pans, I'll look more into them after I put a basic Stainless set together.

Thanks for all the input BDL, but I have to admit, the sharpening advice is a little intimidating :lol:

You mentioned the Chef's Choice sharpeners. A few questions about those:

Electric or Manual? If its just a matter of laziness, I'd rather get the manual, but I want to make sure that's not a performance issue.

Which one? Is there a Chef's Choice model that will do justice to a Mac Professional knife? It seems clear that the previous, more labor intensive options are the ones you prefer, and if that's what it takes to use a good blade, I'll bite the bullet. However I'm not against putting off learning the art of fine-tune sharpening until I'm in a less... demanding environment.
post #11 of 38
Chef's Choice: The electrics are much better than the manual. There's a range of electrics which can handle the MAC's. If all you're going to use are Japanese blades, the 316 or 317 (I forget the exact number off hand) is the fright choice. If you're going to use others, get the XV and convert everything to a 15* bevel. The XV also has repair capabilities. Then there's a 1520 made for Japanese and European bevels, but we're getting ridiculous.

One of the things I like about the MAC Professionals is that they actually can be sharpened on a combination of man made Aluminum Oxide (India) or Silicon Carbonate (Crystolon) stones, and Arkansas stones -- but that's really pushing the Arkansas stones -- it takes a long time and a lot of strokes.

An Edge Pro or a set of waterstones makes more sense. Tell me if you're more comfortable using a jig and tool setup, or want to freehand. The jig and tool is going to cost more up front, and isn't quite as versatile. As I said though, I suspect the lost versatility is one you'll never need. I learned to sharpen free hand in the cub scouts more than forty years ago, so not only is not an issue for me, it's relaxing.

Everyone who uses an Edge Pro likes it, but you're looking at around $150 for an appropriate set. Everything I know about pilots tells me this is probably the right way for you to go.

We can set you up with a beginner's set of water stones for under $50; a decent set for around $100, or a really good set for around $150.

The alternative is to move to knives made from softer steel that can be sharpened with a set of India/Arkansas "oil stones" (quotes because modern sharpeners don't use oil with them). One alternative I didn't mention is carbon, rather than stainless, steel. It's what I use, and if you're disciplined enough to clean it and put it away immediately after using, there aren't any downsides. Better performance, costs less, easier to sharpen, stays sharper, better feel, and so on. If you're OCD enough to fly in the military, you can definitely handle it. OTOH, it's very "old school," and I don't want to talk you into something that isn't a good fit.

But just like going through the check list before you take off, you have to wipe those puppies down and put them away before you sit down to eat.

Two more things to think about before warming up the credit card and ordering knives. A cutting board and knife storage.

There are two best cutting boards -- wood and "Sani-Tuff." Nylon is barely acceptable. Plastic, glass, corian, metal, composition, fiberglass, will ruin your knives.

Storage options are a block, a mag-bar, a knife drawer insert with individual slots, and plastic blade covers, pretty much.

Think of your knives as part of a "prep system" which includes the knives, the sharpening stones (or jig), the honing "steel," the board, a wipe-down towel or sponge and cooking-surface disinfectant. You need all the elements, so budget accordingly.

post #12 of 38
I have never liked washing dishes, but where I live, in an apartment with a small kitchen, it's worse because there is hardly any counter space or anything, and if I do wash dishes, where do I put them to drain and then where do I put them away?

I brought too many dishes with me.
post #13 of 38
Try living in a motor home. You'll think your apartment kitchen is huge. :look:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 
I dont really even know what jig sharpening is. If freehand is better, I dont really have a problem learning that. Either way, I'm open to your suggestions.

Some purchase updates:

I went ahead and got the MAC (Pro) knives, so sharpening suggestions can officially be gear towards those.

After searching every TJ Maxx in Mississippi and Tennesse without finding so much as a misplaced All Clad lid, we finally moved on to Alabama, where apparently the All Clad hides. Got a few pieces all at 50% discounts from retail price, though I had to figure out which ones were from the Stainless line, it all worked out. Didnt get everything I need of course, but I got a fry pan, so I can at least finally start cooking. I may check a few other TJ Maxx stores, or get the other peices from cookwareandmore, the irregular outlet.

Cutting boards: Is there a golden rule here? I've only ever used wood, so I plan to stick with that. I read that endgrain is the best, is this true? I know TJ Maxx sells an endgrain bamboo cutting board for like $10, is there anything wrong with that?

Knife storage: I have a Benchcrafted mag blok, the one with the magnets inside the wood. Should work dandy.

Looks like its finally coming together... Cant wait to actually eat something, LOL.
post #15 of 38
Not "jig sharpening," but a "jig and tool" system.

Congratulations. Those are really, really good knives. You'll enjoy using them. Get a fine ceramic steel to maintain them.

"Jigs" and "tools" are both hardware. The "jig" guides the "tool" so the tool can do its work. In the case of a rod guide such as an Edge Pro -- the sharpening tool is attached to a rod. The rod goes through a little hole in a guide attached to a table (Edge Pro) or clamp (Lansky and others) -- the table/guide is the jig. The knife rests on the table, and the user rubs the sharpening tool against the edge, while the rod keeps the tool at the desired angle (rod is the hypotenuse of a right triangle formed by the knife edge, intersection of the mount and table, and location of the hole in the mount).

A bit of a pain to set up, but relatively versatile and a low learning curve. Edge Pro is by far the best, but there are others which are cheaper by far and which will do an adequate job -- for instance the Lansky Diamond Deluxe Set ($80). If you get an EdgePro Apex, you're either looking at Kit 2 or 3 (around $175 and $205, respectively -- not cheap, I'm sorry).

As you know, I freehand. I think it's a skill well worth learning if you are at all a tool person. It is a skill, it does require learning -- but it doesn't take long to learn and ultimately will give you far more flexibility in the types of edges you create, which abrasives you choose, and what kinds of tools besides knives you can sharpen.

If you decide that you want to freehand too, there are a number of different waterstone sets I glossed for you. The one stone you really need is an intermediate sharpening grit -- around 1000# in JIS numbers.

It would be nice to have a finer stone for polishing the edge, somewhere in the 4000# to 6000# range. It would also be nice to have one coarser surface for repair when necessary, and profiling when other knives come your way (which they will). In my opinion a four surface set is best for culinary sharpening: 1) Profile/repair; 2) Begin sharpening; 3 Refine sharpening; and 4) Polishing.

Unfortunately waterstones require some maintenance of their own -- you'll need a flattener for sure, and some of the finer grits require a "nagura," for working up a slurry (this gets so darn technical so quickly), but some don't.

There are way too many stone manufacturers and ways of putting sets together than I can go into, so I'll highlight four of the most common lines. The two at the top are Shapton Glass Stones and Naniwa Super Stones. The next level down is Norton, and at the bottom (but still very useful) level is King.

With Norton or King you can either purchase a partial set, and replace and add as you go along (well under $100); or purchase a complete set -- for less than the cost ($125) for well less than an Apex. I very much like the Norton 220/1000, 4000/8000 combination stones for the complete, or the King 1000, 6000 separate stones for the partial. These are extremely popular first sets, and justifiably so.

With Shapton or Naniwa, you can purchase a partial set for around $100. Given that you jumped at the MACs for your first decent set of knives -- I'd say a 1000# and 5000# Naniwa along with a Norton flattener would do you right, as would the Shapton GS 1000# and 4000# and flatten on sandpaper. A Shapton GS 1000# plus the Naniwa Super Stone 5000# would be ideal. That is, IF you decide to go freehand. You could add a Norton coarse India "oil stone" (but you wouldn't use oil) very cheaply as your profile/repair stone. Putting that sort of three stone set together -- about $130.

There are some good websites that discuss freehand sharpening. I especially recommend Chad Ward, Steve Botoroff, and Joe Talmadge -- in that order. We seem to have a pretty good written rapport going, so it might interest you to know that I'm about a week away from finishing a pamphlet length set of instructions on freehanding culinary knives. It's not only too long to publish here, but I intend it to be a very important sub-chapter in my book COOK FOOD GOOD: American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates (Please take a look at my blog if you have the time).

Bamboo is very hard as wood goes, but is better than all but one of the wood alternatives.

With other species, end grain, quarter sawn, and burl all tend to last longer and be more self healing than half-sawn long grain. Long grain is OK too, though, and better than any (but one) of the wood alternatives -- including bamboo. Maple is the most popular species for cutting boards, but most hardwoods are fine. There's nothing wrong with cutting boards from Target, Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx or anywhere else -- as long as you maintain them properly, and if they're properly made (they usually are), they shouldn't warp.

The one good alternative to wood is "Sani-Tuff," which is every bit as good, with some maintenance advantages as well. Best choice if you work in a very wet environment or other people are involved in maintenance. In other words, good with roommates. Not cheap, in fact with some looking you can find good wood cheaper; plus I prefer wood for the look.

Size trumps end grain. Get the largest cutting board you have room for. Your board pretty much defines your "station," and the bigger the better. If the board has feet, make sure they're removable so you can use both sides of the board.

Thumbs up. Good storage.

I know the feeling all too well.

Let us know what choices you make as you make them, especially regarding the stones; whether you need more information to make a choice on one of the sets; and whether you'll want a draft of the sharpening sub-chapter.

Good luck,
post #16 of 38
Thread Starter 
Awesome info, I'll look into the options you went over.

And yes, I'd love a draft of the sharpening chapter, with a promise to buy the book when it comes out (as long as its not a $300 book, lol)
post #17 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quick question:

Looking at the Edge Pro Apex kits, how much do I need the "3" kit over the "2" kit?
post #18 of 38
Need? Not at all -- especially for now. The difference is the level of polish you can put on the knife. Polish won't make your knife sharper, but it will cut smoother and feel a little more pleasant doing so. You can add the polishing tapes some other time.

If you get an Edge Pro, do get a "steel," for twice a week maintenance. The 1200# "Fine" Idahone looks like the great deal. Just right for your knife and under $25 too. I'm told by people I respect that one can do without a steel by "touching up" a knife (as hard as your MAC) on a fine stone every few days; I'm a dedicated steeler myself.

Don't make me feel guilitier than I already do about spending your money. The good thing is I know you're going to love the MACs; they're great knives.

Up in the air junior birdmen,
post #19 of 38
Thread Starter 
Ok, that gives me another question to ask:

What is the "8 inch 1200 Grit Ceramic Hones" in the Apex 2 kit? Is that the same as a steel?

I do like the price on the Idahone.

Oh, and a pic of the All Clad I snagged at TJ Maxx in Alabama...

post #20 of 38
Forgot it was in there. Should do the trick -- although not as convenient or refined as a hone on a handle.

Very cool. Almost all together now.

Way to go,
post #21 of 38
Thread Starter 
Ok, shot an email to the EdgePro folks, and got a $5 upgrade to the 12" ceramic steel w/ handle on the Apex 2 Kit. The Mac Pro knives get in today, and after a fair deal off drilling and bolting, I got the magnetic knife block up.

BDL, can't thank you (and everyone else here, really) enough for all the help and advice. I still have alot more to go, but this has been a great start.

I'll get some pics up when all the stuff gets in.
post #22 of 38
Thread Starter 
The knives have arrived!

So what angles should I sharpen these bad boys to?
post #23 of 38
15* on each side. Your first couple of times, use a Magic Marker to cover the edges and about 1/2" up the blade, and sharpen the ink off. That will give you a good view of your bevels and let you see if you're sharpening evenly and keeping the bevel shoulders (top of the sharpened part) in a smooth line.

You want to keep the bevels equal lengths -- that will keep the edge in the exact center of the knife (so called 50/50 symmetry) which is standard for your knives. Later, you can make them right or left handed by changing the symmetry if you like. But for now, learn to sharpen 50/50.

One of the really nice things about MACs is how sharp they get and how nicely they handle.

What do you think so far?

post #24 of 38
Thread Starter 
Sounds good.

I didnt have anything to cut last night, except for a bunch of carrots, but wow, I've never used a sharp kitchen knife before. Gotta get used to holding it the right way and the proper motion for cutting, but that thing glided through them like they weren't even there.
post #25 of 38
You're hooked. Thank BDL for what happens to your bank account in the future.

For knives, you have to have them all.

For sharpening, you need at least this much.

and that's just the stuff I schlepped up to my summer place.

Pilot eh? So what do you fly? I guess you can see from my handle what this Marine used to do....
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #26 of 38

Welcome aboard and thank you for your service. Stay safe. You've heard the "Old pilots and bold pilots" thing... Flying those things is not chicken soup.

I lost several friends in Naval aviation, so I decided to poop around on a destroyer, though I was offered flight training.

You've found a wonderful source of cooking and culinary information and encouragement here at ChefTalk, and I hope you will be a frequent questioner and contributor to the community.

Someday you'll have a bigger kitchen! :bounce: Choose your equipment with care.

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #27 of 38
Sticky maybe? This thread is THE FAQ for newbies like myself. Wish I found this sooner :)
post #28 of 38
Thread Starter 
LOL, no kidding, right? These guys and gals made it possible for me to cook with the fewest tools possible.
post #29 of 38

Now we've just got to hook you up with the right stuff.

post #30 of 38

I'm taking a little different route than LordRatner.

The decided pile
- The Fujiwara FKH 270 Gyuto, 150 Petty, and CCK 1101 CLEAVA(from CCK local distributer in TORONTO)!
I like carbon steel, and these will be my knives to learn the habits and sharpening on, later on in the future, maybe masamoto:chef:

- cheapo end-grain cutting board
I was seriously considering the works of art from boardsmith and boos. But I decided against it, I use the boos board at where I work, and I don't think I'll be using them at home... too nice:lol: I may get these when I get a masamoto:)

- 2 carbon steel pans from either Matfer or Vollrath
Not sure about the sizes though, 8" and 10"? 10" and 12"?
If I can't find it locally, which is a definite possibility, then it all depends on where I decide to bulk order. In which case, there is a good chance it's going to be vollrath.

- 1 carbon steel wok
I'm thinking of getting this one locally in one of the numerous places in multiple chinatowns of Toronto.

- Knife strorage
A knife bag, a generic one. It has to be a bag, at this point, and I don't think a brand makes any difference, but I don't know any better.

- I won't be getting anything bread related yet, bread knife, bread pan, so on and so forth. I won't be using them, being a Korean Canadian means, not too much bread in my diet(minus the morning toast). As you can see, frying-centered arsenal reflects on that. Do I hear someone's blood clogging:D

The undecided
- I recently read a posting regarding dutch oven to cook CHILLI! I wasn't really thinking about getting anything cast iron yet. But this sounds like an idea. Of course, I haven't decided 100% on this yet. I love my chili, and I do like my stew, and chances are I will be cooking these often. I'm sure the stainless pot will do the job... but what do you think?

- Anything stainless, Vollrath, no questions.
Actually the question is... which ones :D Since my main skillets will be my carbon steel, I was thinking of single 10" or 12" tri-ply frying or a 3qt saute pan, and 1,3qt sauce pans(but if i get a 3qt saute pan, I could probably use that as a sauce pan too?), 8or12qt sauce/stock pot. I'd like some input in this.

- Sharpening system on these knives is still not clear... I'm definitely going to learn free hand. No jigs for me, my arms will be my jigs.
The stone or stones I'll be purchasing this time will not be my last, therefore think i'm going to pass on the polishing grits for now. Even after all those posting on fred's cutlery forum, I'm not sure about this. I see Buzz's picture, don't think I need all that to begin with, but it would be nice if someone could just give me a list(according to the knives I'm buying)

Could I borrow some of the board's wisdom here? I know BDL, Buzz visits daily:D
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