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Sunday, September 27, 2009

An empty kitchen

I've an empty kitchen.

This week Lucy and Pip moved into a home of their very own, and as Lucy owned just about every possession in our entire house, I have been scurrying about from garage sale to garage sale trying to replace every kitchen implement you could possibly think of, all on a very meager budget.

I should really get some living room furniture, but I am more concerned about not having a proper chopping board than about not having a couch. Or a TV. Anyway.

Luckily for me, Ing's mother has scoured every second hand shop in Tasmania, so we now have a little table and two chairs, forks and spoons (no knives, rather oddly) lots of mismatched plates (the best kind), a few decent pots and pans, a kettle, a toaster that only toasts one side of the bread at a time and a very random selection of utensils.

Oh, and the fire extinguisher, but I've had that for years. Haven't needed to use it yet... but it's only a matter of time. And my baby mortar and pestle. That's it folks. That's all I've got.

In trying to sort out my priorities I have put together this list of kitchen must-haves, in no particular order. Feel free to add suggestions on the comments page.
  1. a microwave
  2. block of good quality knives
  3. chopsticks
  4. bamboo steamer
  5. stock pot
  6. Microplane
  7. colander
  8. chopping board, various sizes
  9. can opener
  10. non-stick wok, preferably very expensive one on sale that I can afford
  11. barmix
  12. food processor
  13. little chefinox non-stick pan (for scrambled eggs)
  14. bendy spatula (also for scrambled eggs)
  15. metal mixing bowls, various sizes
Additions to list from comments:

Steven Estcourt:

Pyrex measuring jug
rolling pin

You're totally right Steven, I cannot live without a Pyrex measuring jug! I don't know about the whisk. I seem to be able to make things lump free without one, I have no idea how!


chefs knife
paring knife

Can I afford a Global knife? That is the question. Possibly worth sacrifice of living off 2 minute noodles for a month or two for a life time of quality kitchen supplies.

Steve Cumper:

oven proof pot
kick arse veggie peeler
steamer dish

I did manage to find a couple of great heavy bottomed frying pans, non-stick, moderate brand
and perfect condition at garage sale for $2 each last weekend. Score.

And thanks to Hazel, I now really want a rice cooker!


Stephen Estcourt said...

It is sad when you suddenly have an empty kitchen but it's a great opportunity to get the things you really want. Because I use the microwave for roux based sauces I couldn't do without pyrex jugs and whisks and what about your rolling pin? :-)

Rita said...

It's all personal of course but I reckon you're wasting your money on a knife block, expensive or not! Really you only need about 3 or 4, depending on what kind of cooking you do. I've found in most blocks, they foist another few onto you that you never seem to use. As long as you keep them sharpened you can really make do with 2 - a paring knife and a bigger chopping-type one. If you buy good (unsliced) bread, obiously you'll need a bread knife, which you probably already have. I also use a chopper which I got at Wings about 20 years ago, and is invaluable for those times when you want to chop up your uncooked whole chook into eating sized portions etc.

lemon curd said...

Agree with Rita re: cleaver, what about a mortar & pestle? Even if you don't use one much they're good for wank value! I assume you have a portion of your budget set aside !

Maggie said...

Mortar and pestle excellent, the lovely George from Criterion St Cafe gave me one for Christmas last year. At the moment it is crushing peppercorns in place of pepper grinder (another one for the list!).

And no, don't be silly, what budget! This will be a gradual process I suspect. Must put deposit on sofa next weekend. Ouch.

Tassiegal said...

Try Freecycle for some of the stuff - its amazing what turns up on that list. As for my must haves - a decent, large solid mixing bowl.

steve said...

Hi Maggie, its a good thing they 're moving out-a chance to define yourself by your cooking utensils!
Microwave-essential, sorry all you purist's out there.
A collander or seive-essential
A steamer dish-essential
An oven proof pot with a tight fitting lid-essential
I good heavy duty frying pan-essential
a good peeler-essential
one good knife-essential

everthing else you can bluff your way through things like the rest of us do
Kitchens are so much more about what actualy happens in them, not what they CAN do.
You have class so it will overcome any acoutrement issues that might arise-the dish will always reign supreme to your sophisticated guests & the others, well they're not worth fretting over!

Victor said...

I have lots second hand stuffs in my garage - to stock up your entire kitchen and house. Do it cheap! Let me know what you need. I even have an authentic stone mortar and pestle if you need one, microwave oven, dining set, sofa bed, everything from my second home!

I plan to have a big garage sale this summer. Cash only though.

Maggie said...

Steve: That's lovely that you think I have class :p you do read my stuff right? Ha ha. I am kinda excited about the chance to define myself by my kitchen utensils, speaking as someone who would take half an hour to decide which cheese grater to buy and still think it was half an hour well spent!

Victor: Yes yes yes! I will have to come over for a special preview of garage sale no? Let me wait a bit and see what my housemates contribute to kitchen, and I will be right with you!

Tassiegal: just checking out freecycle right now.. thanks for the tip!

penny aka jeroxie said...

After many uni years and living with various housemates, I collected mismatch of utensils, cutlery and even random types of seasoning. And I still have some of it till today. I such a hoarder. Need to do some spring clean. I hope I can start afresh! Still living like a student after all these years..... I suck! :P

Bri said...

I have a Global knife block, and I completely adore it. It's a purchase to last a lifetime, such good knives. I got mine from my during a stocktake sale, but
I have this set but with a bamboo block. That site has some of the cheapest prices around.
I agree that a whole block isn't completely necessary, but if you regularly use 3 knives or more then it's cost-effective. I use all of mine. The bread knife is particularly amazing!

Don't forget about a set of scales if you're a baker :)

Dog's Breakfast in Moonah have lots of interesting kitchenware, decent prices.

Hazel said...

I'm afraid we don't have a lot of self control over kitchen purchases but what do we use most:

Chef's knife, carving knife, bread knife, small paring knife, santoku knife.

Kitchen scissors

Non-stick frypan (we use this everyday)

Pot that can be used on the stovetop and also in the oven.


Salad spinner (if you grown on lettuce & herbs)

Roasting pan with a flat base rather than ridged.

Baking trays, at least one 23cm springform pan, and cooling racks.

Mini whisk

Stick blender.

1 silicone spoon and 1 wooden spatula to do everything from eggs to cakes, to stir-fry.

We do own lots of other things that we do use but are probably not essential to every day life!!
ie, rice cooker, ice-cream maker!

We are slowly learning the lesson of not buying something really crappy/cheap. I was given a particularly useless food processor, its too small, the bits are impossible to clean, and if in a moment of weakness you do fill it too much the bits all get stuck and stops! Still saving up for the magimix purchase....

Hazel said...

Forgot to mention

great site for buying knives etc, cheap postage too when compared to Peter's of Kensington

lindaevans said...

A Kitchen Aid.
Yep, they're pricy but you will get lots of use for years.Even after hard yakka you can have it serviced and/or repaired and not throw it away.