Ode to a Well-Equipped Kitchen

6 Jan

I spent the last two weeks of 2011 on holiday visiting various family members. While it was wonderful to have so much quality time with everyone, my partner and I were both very grateful to come home to our own place. I will say though, that I also missed my kitchen.

I cooked multiple times in kitchens not my own, and I definitely found it to be an exercise in patience and deep breathing. Cooking in other people’s kitchens can be an adventure, but it’s combined with a certain amount of confusion and frustration. Why do they only have tiny knives? Why doesn’t their electric hob have a setting between freezing and incinerating? And damnit, WHERE IS EVERYTHING?!?

Oof. So it was a relief to come back to my natural habitat, where I can find everything that I need and where my gas hob responds instantly to my commands. After my experience of the past few weeks, I’ve come up with a list of kitchen tools which will be required by law in every household kitchen when the revolution comes. Or until then, the tools which will make every cook’s life better!

Kitchen Gear For Which I Am Grateful (in no particular order)

1. Knives. Sharp ones. And preferably in a variety of sizes. At one point over the holidays I was attempting to break down a large red cabbage into thin strips with a cheap knife the length of my index-finger. There was a lot of unladylike grunting and denigration of the knife’s parentage and sexual preferences. Save yourself the aggravation and buy big knives!

2. A Kuhn-Rikon Y-shaped peeler. Cheap, candy-coloured, and they keep their edge for ages. Makes peeling root vegetables more of a pleasure than a chore.

3. A silicone spatula. Mine is pale pink and bears a strong resemblance to something you’d buy in a sex shop, but there’s nothing better for mixing and scraping batter for baked goods. Plus, you can just pop it in the dishwasher when you’re done.

4. A large non-stick sauté pan with high sides and a lid. I use mine for just about everything, from poaching eggs to wilting spinach to cooking curries. You get nice, even heat distribution, and you can stir things vigorously without fear of losing something over the side.

5. A cast-iron Dutch oven. Mine is an enormous bright orange Le Creuset, but you can get variations on the theme from Ikea for less money. Nothing better for making stews, or anything that needs to be cooked low and slow. I’ve also used it to make pilaf.

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2 Responses to “Ode to a Well-Equipped Kitchen”

  1. Erin January 6, 2012 at 5:56 PM #

    I loved your list of kitchen must-haves. The question I have is why people still bother with non-stick saucepans (with the exception, of course, of the likes of Le Creuset casserole dishes etc)? For general-use saucepans, I cannot imagine a situation where you would want to leave yourself having to spend several hours soaking and scrubbing at the sink after cooking your amazing meal. Of course, I realise that you can just shove regular pans in a dishwasher, but they are unlikely to come out properly clean anyway. I would be interested in your thoughts on the subject, as a gastronomic gadget guru?

    • tomatoesandradiowire January 6, 2012 at 7:44 PM #

      Non-stick pans don’t last forever the way metal ones do (the lining starts to fray a bit). Plus there was a health scare some time ago about Teflon. But I think these are minor concerns in comparison with convenience of use!

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