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Equipping a Kitchen from Scratch

Part 1—Pots and Pans


Marcella, April 24, 2012, 2:23 pm | Kitchen Essentials

My husband Bob and I recently bought a home near Palm Springs, CA so that we could be closer to Lauren, Randy, and the cutest toddler ever, Eloise, who live in Los Angeles. For the first time in a long time, I was faced with equipping a kitchen pretty much from scratch. The house came furnished, so I did have dishes, flatware, and glasses; but the cooking equipment was severely limited. So, I had to decide what I absolutely had to have to feel that I could make a decent meal.

I should start by saying that I am not one of those people who can make anything with just a frying pan, a wooden spoon, and a spatula. In fact, I am Williams-Sonoma’s dream customer—if they tell me I need a specialty pan to make something, I buy it. (And let me tell you that you can live without an asparagus pot.) But I decided to be frugal in starting my California kitchen, and just buy the essentials.

The first meal I cooked, within 24 hours of walking into the house for the first time (Bob bought the house without me—long story), was Thanksgiving dinner. Since, due to popular demand, the Thanksgiving menu never changes at my house, this was not as daunting a task as it might have been. And it gave me my starting point: a large roasting pan with a rack. Ideally, you would have both a large and a small roasting pan, but if you can have only one, go with the large. Next, a small (1.5 quart) and a medium (3 quart) saucepan; 8- and 10-inch frying pans, both regular and nonstick; a Dutch oven (5.5 quart is a good size); a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan; and a large multi-pot, which you can use as a stockpot, a pasta pot, or a steamer. Add two jellyroll pans, and even I could make almost anything.

My last point is that you should buy the best cookware that you can afford—good pots and pans will last you a lifetime. My cookware of choice is a subject for another day.

Finding My Passion

A little bit about me (and this is so not about me.)


Marcella, April 15, 2012, 10:44 pm | Cooking

I grew up in upstate New York, have lived in Chicago for almost 25 years, was educated as a lawyer, and had a 25-year career doing tax work for a financial planning firm. About one year after our firm was sold, my husband Bob and I retired, at fairly young ages. Bob and I are baby boomers (and hopefully, all of you non-boomers won't hate us for that), and, after I retired, I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I kept reading articles (yes, even newspaper articles) that talked about all the boomers who were retiring and "finding their passion." So, several times a week, I would look up from reading my cookbooks and cooking magazines, or from planning the menu for one of Lindsay's parties, and complain to Bob that there must be something wrong with me because I had no passion. Then, one day, six years in, I smacked myself in the head, called myself an idiot, and realized that my passion was entertaining family and friends, and making my home as comfortable and welcoming as possible. And, in order to justify spending enormous amounts of time "pursuing my passion", I decided to turn it into a business.

Once I got the idea, I talked about it to my sister-in-law, Pam, my step-daughter, Lauren, and my daughter, Lindsay, for two reasons. First, I enjoy them all tremendously, and thought it would be fun to work with them. Second, they all have strong skill sets in different areas, and we all complement one another. And we are all passionate about All Toasty, as it has evolved, and will continue to evolve.