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A Chowhound trying to cook in a "Bachelor's Kitchen"

I met a very nice man, and decided I would make him dinner at his house. But there arose a problem, this man had a decrepit frying pan, and a toaster.... thats it.

I stood there, all the ingredients I need to make him a wonderful dinner, and he did not even have a tin foil baking dish, or a saucepan! Don't even ask if he has a wisk, He has 4 forks and a plastic spoon for coffee that he probably got with his last dunkin donuts cup! Oh and for spices, he has a salt shaker.

yeah.. see the picture? I made what I could under the circumstances, and the next time I made him dinner I brought half my kitchen... lol

Tell me Chowhounds, Is this how all bachelors live? One frying pan and a salt shaker? (BTW he is 40 and never married)

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    1. re: c oliver

      Absolutely right. Has been 23 years since I've had that kind of kitchen but even then, of course not. & I'm not 63...

    2. What did you do? Were you able to prepare the meal? Did he like it?

      If I recollect, we didn't have all that kitchen equipment as students but still managed to put out some decent meals.

      5 Replies
      1. re: pdxgastro

        Yeah, what did you make?

        You don't need a lot of cookware to make a simple, decent meal. Maybe you could get him a soup pot, cleaver, ladle, spatula, and cutting board in addition to his frying pan. That's all I have in my dormitory kitchen and I regularly cook for my friends. The only huge drawback to my kitchen is the induction stove... hate that thing.

        1. re: pdxgastro

          I made him shepard's pie, cooking the potatoes and the meat in shifts, then warming them together with the corn in the microwave. It was actually very good but it took forever to mash the potatoes with a fork.

          1. re: gryphonskeeper

            Just a shout out for "making do" - next time, if there is one, use a wine bottle to crush the potatoes before you mash them.

              1. re: mamachef

                I recall having used wine bottles for many things, from crushing nuts, garlic and peppercorns, to rolling dough!

          2. I rather thought that burners, an oven, and microwave were standard.

            He should not have allowed you to make dinner for him.

            I am very lucky that my bf's kitchen, though short on good frying pans, does have all sorts of implements, such as potato masher, whisks, spatulas, etc. I still carry my own knife bag with knives, peeler, and Microplane.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jaykayen

              I don't think he realized what was needed to cook a meal. His refrigerator was stocked with ketchup and take out boxes.

              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                I see you have not been deterred and will go back! You are a brave one, gryphon's keeper...

                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                  no no no, a bachelor's refrigerator should always have beer and oreos. he does need help.

              2. My SO's kitchen was marginally better when we met. I made many thrift store purchases for Corning ware, etc. Also gave a few gifts of nice knives, decent pans (Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons came in handy!). Now, 4 years later in a combined household we have many duplicates!

                I have met singles of both sexes who loved food but simply were not into cooking. When they did eat something other than take-out or leftovers at home it was a sandwich or eggs...
                I don't get it, but it isn't that uncommon.

                Sometimes people simply haven't used good tools enough to see the benefit in having them. Once they use a good pan or knife a bit they gain appreciation for its superior handling.

                I'm happy for you - enjoy the journey!

                5 Replies
                1. re: meatn3

                  Yeah he is by no means a cook. Heat and Eat is how he has lived for many years. he is an artist and lives very simple life. Sweet man. I did what you did, I bought a bunch of essentials at a discount store.

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    There's something to be said for living a simple life, free of material items. Imagine if you lived in one of those tiny-houses that everyone is talking about now.

                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                      I'm an artist and live a very simple life, but basic cooking tools are essential. Many good items can be found at church bazaars and charity shops. And others are useful in artistic pursuits as well.

                      I have met people like that, not all of them men, and not all of them poorish by any means. On the contrary, truly poor people can't afford takeaway.

                      Graydon, lots of people can pare down and downsize, but this has nothing to do with useless "stuff". You can cook a decent meal in a tiny house, or in a Parisian or NYC tiny galley kitchen. But you need a few tools and some cookware.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        Jack Kerouac, the author of On the Road, said, "If you own a rug, you own too much", a motto for a generation for whom "beating it" was a moral necessity.

                        I once knew a nomadic type guy who said he changed his ways after he realized one day how many pairs of sissors he had bought over his lifetime. He now drives a Corvette.

                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                          Oh dear. I do prefer my old Raleigh Sprite.

                  2. Absolutely not! I didn't marry until I was 54 (OK, we moved in together when I was 51) and I maintained - and made very good use of - a gourmet kitchen from the time I was in my mid 20s until then. In fact, the main reason I moved into my first solo (no roommates) apartment was that I was doing a lot of cooking and wanted to have complete control over the kitchen and who showed up at my dinner table.

                    When my now-wife and I did move in together, we had our biggest-ever fight over whose kitchenware we kept (in the end, mostly mine - she loves to cook too but I had better-quality pans etc). The one thing we could not agree to compromise on was knives; to this day we have two sets, mine to the left of the stove and hers to the right. Knives are very personal things.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: BobB

                      ha I love the separate knives idea.

                      1. re: hungryabbey

                        We also have separate knives and I think that makes the kitchen big enough for both of us! Before I came into the picture, my MIL gave my husband cooking classes when he turned 35 - 16 weeks of classes to learn all the basics. Let me say, I think this should be a standard gift for all kids when they graduate from college. He met some great local chefs and learned to feed himself. And acquired some toys along the way, I'm sure!

                        1. re: vstock

                          Mrs CHM and I have had several "disagreements" about my knives. She insisted on running them through the dishwasher. At one point she said she was just going to get her own. She came home very proud of herself with a butcher block set. She said she paid 20 bucks for a set of 5 knives plus the steak knives. And that they were dishwasher safe, so that meant they are better quality than mine.

                          She quickly found that they couldn't cut softened butter and she now takes much better care of mine.

                          1. re: chileheadmike

                            Now why wouldn't you run your knives through the dishwasher? Are they fragile? Are they prone to rust?

                            1. re: jameshig

                              PLEASE do NOT start that conversation :) Those knife people are up (or out) there with the BBQ people. They'll argue til you agree or just collapse from the pain of it all! Do a search here if you want a taste. It gets quite noisy.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Heh heh, I'm a BBQ people too.

                                I do not put my knives in the dishwasher. First chef I worked for would fire you for that. Dulls the blade and is not good for the wooden handle.

                                Shall we talk about boiling ribs?

                                1. re: chileheadmike

                                  Yes! Boil them in a cast iron pot! And then cut them apart with the knife you just took out of the dishwasher and sharpened with an Accusharp!

                                  *sits back to watch the sparks fly*

                                2. re: c oliver

                                  I don't bother even cleaning a knife now if I use it. If i so much as touch it I know the SO will be out there later sharpening it. That said we don't argue about knives, and he actually loves my ancient carbon steel knives because they ALWAYS want to be sharpened. So I use it, put it by the side of the sink and the knife fairy will come clean it and lovingly sharpen it. and then the next morning I get to pick up all the knife sharpening crap all over the counters and put it away. It works for us.

                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                    Sounds like a good marriage to me!

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    ]Those knife people are up (or out) there with the BBQ people. They'll argue til you agree or just collapse

                                    Hell yeah, we will.
                                    Got something to say about it? (puts hand on knife)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      That's funny. :-D I will not put my knives or pots and pans in the dishwasher for a few reasons. I use them so often that I don't want to wait for the dishwasher to be full before starting the cycle. Plus I cook so much during the day and have a lot of specialty cookware that I just wash it as I go. Culinary school teaching still looms in my mind as well. It is true that it dulls blades but I won't go there!

                            2. re: BobB

                              My wife and I have his and her's cutting boards. I cringed every time she reached for my cutting board (since I never cut meat on it). Finally I just bought her one of her own ha ha.