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Mar 25, 2008 01:34 PM

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!

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: scubadoo97

      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 :-)

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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
            measuring spoons
            a skillet
            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
            coffee grinder
            a largish strainer
            some spatulas
            pancake turner

            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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dscheidt

              Great list - I'd add tongs - I use them for so many different things ....