Anyone have a minimalist kitchen?
What's the least a person can get by on, in terms of utensils and equipment? I've read the Chowhound link from the NY Times (I think ) article, but I love personal stories. They motivate me. I'm trying to declutter and streamline to the point of minimalism but there's a lot of stuff I take for granted in the kitchen, because I have room to store it.
Ok, motivate me please!
Start with a good sharp knife and cutting board. With good knife skills you can eliminate many utensils.
A story that happened this past Sunday night. We had a dinner party for 20 people. My cousin and his wife stayed after everyone had gone and while looking at my kitchen said, "If I were to do it again I would have planned my kitchen different. More like yours. You have all your appliances out but I guess you use them. All we have is fake/pretty stuff on the counter. Well he didn't actually say stuff. We both had a good laugh because his wife is like a minimalist in that she wants nothing on her counter tops except art. Before we started our kitchen remodel project my wife and I had philosophical differences on even what a kitchen is. To me the kitchen is a work place and to her it is a show place. I got my stuff on the counter but she got to design her show place. Bottom line from my point of view. I don't like a lot of useless things but do want the essentials out and ready to use.
Over the past few months I've been on a counter-clearing mission. I have pretty much successfully removed almost everything from the countertop except a bread basket, a utensil crock, a drainboard next to the sink and some cutting boards. It's so much easier to work without a knife block, a flour canister, a coffee maker, etc taking up space!
I have too much other stuff in the cabinets to qualify as a minimalist, but I am working on it :-)
Yeah, that's a great point. I keep my counters almost totally clear because clutter freaks me out, but I think if my cabinets and drawers were emptier, I wouldn't feel as if my kitchen were so cluttered. I would love to keep my stand mixer and my other appliances out. I have somewhat limited counter space. I'll challenge myself to declutter the rest of the house and then maybe allow some kitchen appliance clutter on the counter.
I just want that feeling like when you rent a house or villa on vacation, and you can mess up every utensil and pot in the kitchen and be done washing in 5 minutes, and how you have to get creative to get it all done working with what you have.
At the agricultural research institute where I work, my office is in a U shaped "motel" of maybe 25. At the bottom are the two lavs and, in-between, a simple kitchen (with its door open to the outside like our offices) with a sink, counter with a two-burner electric, and some counter space. In two of my filing cabinet drawers I have: two pots, a couple of pans, a cutting board, some knives, some chopsticks and tableware, some plastic plates and some ceramic bowls, a blender, bunch of condiments, rice, spices, oil, soy sauce, dried mushrooms, and so on. I cook by either getting to the office very early and putting on something for slow cooking (beans, lentils, stew, braised meats) or can cook up something--almost anything--during lunch hour. Cook for many at times. The kitchen can fit in a suitcase.
My kitchen is tiny; a true galley kitchen. I have found, through the years, that all I really need is my two cast iron skillets, (always on the stove), a medium saucepan, a good knife, a good cutting board, and my cuisinart. I have other appliances and cookware, but the prior are what I use 95% of the time. Oh also, if you do any baking at all, you need some kind of counter space to roll out, knead dough. I would suggest that you take a look at your kitchen "stuff" and decide if it has more than one use. Also, if you have used it in the past year. I have a pretty fast rule that if it only serves one purpose and I don't need that purpose more than once a month, I find a way to do without. In fact, I do not think I have anything besides my French Press and coffee grinder that only have one use; and I use those daily. If you have something that you do not use very often, but is essential to something you do occasionally, consider storing it someplace other than your kitchen.
A few years ago, I spent a couple months in a "furnished" corporate apartment. The kitchen furnishings consisted of two place settings, a coffee maker, a stove, a microwave, and a large binder of take out menus. I bought some stuff, which fit in one box, for the most part, when I left. I ended up with:
three knives -- a chef's knife, a 6" utility, and a paring knife
a swing-away can opener
a set of nesting mixing bowls
measuring cup set (dry)
2 cup liquid measure
2 four or five quart sauce pans with lids
two loaf pans
a pie pan
a couple cookie sheets (these days, I'd go for half-sheet pans)
a rolling pin
a pastry blender
a handheld electric mixer
a largish strainer
I'm probably forgetting things, but nothing big. These days, I'd add an electronic scale, and maybe a mandoline, a couple whisks, cake pans. a lot of that depends on what you cook. If you never make bread -- which I make lots of -- you'd probably not need loaf pans.