Weekly Food for Thought with items on the basic kitchen utensils and spices to have on hand,

If you are moving into a new home and setting up a new kitchen for the first time, or if you are ready to rid your kitchen of the frivolous gadgets accumulated over the years, rest assured that basic kitchen tools and spices will make cooking delicious meals easy.

Here's a rundown of the basics when starting a new kitchen. You can add more as you go depending on what you like to cook the most. For now, you can tackle just about any recipe if you have:

* A couple of basic pots (one large enough to make pasta and a medium-size one for sauces and steaming veggies)

* A skillet

* A casserole dish

* Measuring cups and spoons

* One large and one small mixing bowl

* Wooden spoons, a good can opener, a slotted spoon, a ladle, rubber spatulas and a metal spatula

* A cutting board and a good chef's knife, a paring knife, a vegetable peeler and a grater

* Baking pans: one 9-by-13-inch, two round cake pans, a pie pan, a couple of cookie sheets, a pizza pan and a loaf pan

* Storage containers and recycling bins

When gathering your collection of spices, start with these essentials: basil, bay leaves, cayenne, chives, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, turmeric and, of course, salt and black pepper.

-- ARA

Tip of the Week: Separate ingredients in the cooler

If you are planning a picnic, then bring a cooler to keep your food cold and safe to eat. Wrap raw food like meat securely in plastic to prevent the juices from mixing with melting ice and other food. Also, bring a separate bag of ice for drinks, and never use the loose ice from the cooler to put in a drink.

-- FoodSafety.gov

Easy recipe: Homestyle Meatloaf

1 pound lean ground beef 1 cup bread crumbs 1 egg 1/4 cup ketchup 1 package Simply Organic Sloppy Joe Mix 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, egg and ketchup. In a small bowl, dissolve Sloppy Joe Mix in water. Add liquid mix to beef mixture and knead into a loaf shape. Place on cookie sheet or in oven-safe pan and bake for 45 minutes.

-- ARA

Did You Know?

Women who breast-feed have a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression. – EatRight.org

Food Quiz

Biscotti are the Italian equivalent of cookies. What does the name "biscotti" mean in Italian? Hint: It has to do with the way they are baked.

A. "Diagonally sliced"
B. "Twice-cooked" or "twice baked"
 C. "Toasted"
 D. "Baked slowly"

-- funtrivia.com

Answer is at bottom of column

Wise to the Word: Gelatin

[JEHL-uh-tihn] An odorless, tasteless and colorless thickening agent, which when dissolved in hot water and then cooled, forms a jelly. It's useful for many purposes, such as jelling molded desserts and salads and thickening cold soups. Gelatin is pure protein derived from beef and veal bones, cartilage, tendons and other tissue. Much of the commercial gelatin today is a by-product of pig skin.

-- epicurious.com

Number to Know

330: A Grand Slam with two pancakes at Denny’s is 330 calories.

 – calorieking.com

The Dish On …

“Chez Panisse Vegetables” by Alice Waters

For 25 years, Alice Waters and her friends at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., have dedicated themselves to the ideal of serving the finest, freshest foods with simplicity and style. There is tender baby asparagus in early spring; the colorful spectrum of peppers at the height of summer; crisp, leafy chicories are in autumn; and sweet butternut squash is in the dark of winter. Using the treasures from the earth, "Chez Panisse Vegetables" offers endless possibilities for any occasion.

-- HarperCollins Publishers

From the Beer Nut’s Blog: A paler shade of black

It seems like every brewery in the world is now brewing black India pale ales.

A black IPA is not a new style, but it has really exploded onto the scene in the past two years, and there is a debate on the name. How can an pale ale be black? Some call them Cascadian dark ales (Cascade hops are popular in the beer), while others call them American black ales.

What separates a black IPA is the use of dark malts, either roasted or chocolate, while the style retains the hops of a typical IPA. The combination seems to work well, and I haven't had a bad black IPA yet.

To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.

Food Quiz Answer

B. "Twice-cooked" or "twice baked"

GateHouse News Service