I think the best kept secret in home cooking is that restaurant supply stores are open to the general public. You do not have to be a chef or own a restaurant in order to shop there. And you really should shop there! Here's why: Restaurant Supply stores provide durable quality tools to working chefs and cooks who give those tools hard daily use. They offer these tools and supplies, sometimes in bulk, at prices that restaurants and working cooks can afford. The surroundings may not be glamorous, the store may be in the warehouse part of town and they waste no money or effort on fancy packaging or displays; but if you are willing to ask questions and take the time to explore, you will find some excellent bargains. So, don't buy your tools in the grocery store. Here is what I buy at the restaurant supply store: Disposables - paper muffin cups, foil pie tins of all sizes, parchment paper, cardboard bakery boxes, paper or foil to go boxes, hors d'oeuvre picks, BBQ skewers. The list may actually be endless. Tools - tongs, skimmers, chef's knives, saute pans, fine sieves and china caps, instant read thermometers, sheet pans, melamine food storage containers (excellent for stocks, raising bread doughs, etc.), silpat baking liners, and silicone spatulas and basters of all sizes. One piece of advice before you go: measure the inside height, width, depth of your oven or countertop oven so that you will know if the sheet pan or pizza stone you are looking for will fit. Some items are sized specifically for restaurant ovens. You will soon become a regular at the Restaurant Supply Store and save money, too! Most cities and even some large towns will have a restaurant supply store. Do a quick internet search to find the one nearest you.
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To contribute an unusual or favorite pie recipe for testing and possible inclusion in The Year of Pie Recipe Blog, please email your recipe to: pie@grandmashomebakery