Hello everyone, This is my first post. I live in France now but I spent many years studying in the UK and now my English is better than my French ever was, I even think in English and only read English books now, which means I also own English cookbooks, I just can't read the French books, I just can't. Anyway, I'm 20 years old and for the first time I am moving into a place of my own. Since I was fed up with eating the same boring stuff that people make every week I wanted to learn how to cook. People around me always boast about how their food is home made but really they have no clue, Spaghetti always tastes better in a restaurant and when people make soup it usually tastes of nothing but water. I don't want to be like them, I want to learn how to do some real cooking, when I was little my grandmother would take me to the finest restaurants and to events where we were able to eat the finest food there is. So here I am, trying to teach myself how to cook. I know the basic stuff which Mr and Ms Everyone know but I know nothing of what lies beyond the realm of the uninterested amateur. Please don't hesitate to advise or voice any opinions if you think that I am on the wrong path. The first thing I learned is that to cook you need tools that are well made and last a lifetime but you don't need a ton of stuff like advertisers try to make us buy. Well that's good because I am very OCD and I only like buying things once so they better last a lifetime indeed. I was told that one only needs one cooking knife so that is what I bought, a Zwilling Henckels Twin Select Chef Knife mainly because it seemed to have good reviews and was the only reviewed knife that I could find with a 100% metal handle, I don't want the grip to come off in ten years... To that I added a Twin Select Sharpener because I was told it was easier to use than a stone and it was a lot cheaper too (Did I make the right choice?). I have not purchased anything else yet because I was given a 'basic set' when I moved out, nothing special, just IKEA pans and such which I will replace when I can afford it. Book wise I was told that the best ones in English were 'Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking' by Marcella Hazan and 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking I & II' by Julia Child. I must say however that I am very confused as the books seem to be written in cups, ounces and pounds which I do not understand... Any advice on that? I was also looking for two more books, maybe someone can help, a book on wine and a book on cooking, maybe not a cookbook but something that explains the best way to use your tools, clean them etc... Basically all the cooking related stuff that doesn't directly involve cooking, preparation perhaps. Thanks for reading my thread, any advice and other things I should try and do would be very much appreciated. - Le Francais PS: How many Fryingpans and Saucepans does one need? What sizes are best? What do you think of de Buyer? They seem cheaper than the competition.