Simple Kitchen

I’m getting sick of too many pots, pans, containers, utensils, etc.  What do you consider to be your essentials that offer the most simplicity, versatility, durability, ease of use/cleaning, etc. in the kitchen? Im’ especially interested in having only a couple of pots/pans. The stove’s electric.  What changes in your kitchen contents and/or organization that you have found to be especially liberating?”

 

First of all, let’s be honest…all the junk in the kitchen is either there to satisfy the tongue or to allow for unplanned and last-minute food preparation.   That’s what the modern kitchen is all about.  It’s not designed for any necessary cooking or food prep, but finger foods, snacks and entertaining, where the kitchen becomes a hang-out.  We have a family of 10 and our kitchen is clean and empty.  We have very little in the way of pots, pans, etc..  because they’re not needed.  We leave no leftovers and do not buy food from the grocery store, so there is no need to store anything in the pantry or fridge.  No need for tupperware, zip-loc bags, cling wrap, aluminum foil, etc..

Our kitchen...no cabinets. The pots and pans are under the stainless work table. That's it.

 Our kitchen is pictured on the left.  That is a no-nonsense farm kitchen.  (The walls and mud room are prepped for painting…ignore them). 

On the left is an electric stove used to cook indoors when we can’t cook outdoors…it is lightly used and temporary.  The fridge holds little besides our own farm dairy, eggs and frozen meat.  We have to process 3+ gallons of milk each day right now, half at 6am and half at 6pm.  On the right, you can see all of families dishes and utensils on the stainless drying rack.  We have a 3-compartment stainless sink for washing dishes (and managing all the dairy work), and a stainless table for food prep.  All of our pots and pans are cast iron, kept under the food prep table.  In the back left corner there is a grain mill and a $35  electric bread machine used when fresh bread can’t be made. 

Now, if simplicity is your goal, there’s no simpler kitchen than this one.  We do no grocery shopping except for special food purchases (birthday party, take-out dinner, etc..) when they cannot be supplied at home.    The simplicity is primarily owed to the fact that our family doesn’t live to eat.  We cook, eat and clean-up.  That’s it.

Our food pantry...no finger foods here.

As for food, we have a small (dry) food pantry that holds our grains and condiments.  On the right you can see a picture of our pantry.  At the bottom are buckets full of grains and legumes.  We buy them in bulk and store them in pails. On the shelves, you’ll see wheat flour, grits and cooking supplies (sugar, salt, spices, coffee filters, tea bags, oil, etc..).  Half of the shelves are holding appliances:  a toaster, rice cooker and mixer. 

That’s it for food and cooking supplies in our home.

Note: The mud room in the first picture is empty because we just got rid of our electric washer & dryer.  We’re putting in a 2-compartment stainless laundry sink and doing laundry by hand. 

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18 Responses to Simple Kitchen

  1. jessica hannon says:

    We got a good laugh looking at your pantry…. b/c it looks just like ours. I showed the kids the picture w/o letting them see the article first and asked them if it looked familiar. They said “well, yeah… it looks just like ours. ”

    I love the idea of the stainless steel island, shelving rack and sinks! Cabinets are a pain- well, at least mine are.

    Our fridge and freezer are nearly always empty. We dont farm, but we also dont stock up and eat simply. Currently, our freezer has frozen fruit in it and a bag of chicken. ( fruit from this seasons pear, mulberry and blueberry crop)

    Hey but we dont starve- there are 9 of us and we are all fed and healthy!

    • villapacis says:

      You’re healthy because your pantry looks like ours…If you’re not pregnant or nursing or a lumberjack, you don’t need a lot of food and the food you do need is bread, vegetables and dairy.

  2. I do have way too much in the way of kitchen “stuff” that I never use. Other than that, your kitchen and pantry looks a lot like mine. I am saving up to buy a triple sink like yours. I used one this summer somewhere else, and it was awesome. Made filling the soup pot (as well as cleaning the soup pot) much easier, since it actually would fit under the faucet!

    Some day, God willing, we will have a cow, and I can already see that our current kitchen sink will not be very efficient easy to keep clean. It came with the house – has a fake “granite-look” counter top that is coming apart, and a double stainless sink that is too shallow to wash the 2 pots I use regularly.

    Where your electric stove is – is that where you will put the fireplace/cooking hearth you posted about recently?

  3. villapacis says:

    “Where your electric stove is – is that where you will put the fireplace/cooking hearth you posted about recently?”

    No. It will go to the right and that table will be out of there. There is a sliding glass door on the right behind the table that we will eventually replace with the open hearth and bread oven. That’s my next big project and I’ve got to do some research first so I don’t burn the house down.

    WM

  4. jessica hannon says:

    “You’re healthy because your pantry looks like ours…If you’re not pregnant or nursing or a lumberjack, you don’t need a lot of food and the food you do need is bread, vegetables and dairy.”

    Actually, I AM pregnant for our 8th and yes, my appetite has picked up. I started drinking milk again and having unsweetened yogurt…my kids are jealous. I bought them those little individual yogurts last week for a dessert treat- you would have sworn I would have bought ice cream!

  5. Bridget says:

    We LOVE our stainless steel sinks (deep ones) and counter tops. We are not as pared down, but practical nevertheless. When we re-modeled our kitchen for practicality reasons, we were going to go with granite, etc because it was beautiful. But, I did not want to pay those excessive prices and take out a loan. So, my husband went to the local steel place, asked about how school kitchens were made, and asked if he could make our countertops. We had them made at a very low rate, and they are so practical, easy to clean, and very hygenic!

    Nice kitchen.

  6. jessica hannon says:

    WM,

    Where did you purchase the 3 compartment sink, island and rack?

  7. Catie Haselbarth says:

    Mr. Michael,

    Did you once have cabinets and rip them out? If so, what spurred that decision? Just ease of getting to items/putting them away… and less to clean I suppose?

    Thank you for this post! I am always excited when you post pictures. The visual image is so helpful.

    • villapacis says:

      Yes. We had a rather beautiful, oak kitchen with cabinets on every wall and a center island. We ripped them all out because after three years of cleaning and organizing all the stuff in them, we realized how stupid the whole idea of cabinets is. (A) they take up useful kitchen work space for storage (mostly for things not used anyway), (B) they assume a houseful of pots, pans, bowls, dishes, etc.. and foster Wal-Mart kitchen culture; (C) they are mouse and bug hotels, (D) they absorb/block light in the kitchen, (E) they age and then make a kitchen look bad or dated and then need to be replaced for the sake of appearance, (F) much better use could be made of the space, (G) when we eliminate cabinets, we remove the ability to store junk out of sight.

      We ripped them all out and gave them to my parents…who “needed” new cabinets because their old ones were old and outdated looking. Now, the kitchen is brighter, easy to keep clean and junk-free.

      • I want very much to rip out our “beautiful oak cabinets.” Some day I will. My kitchen will look a lot like yours. I would like to do the same in the bath rooms. The cabinets in there are full of junk, too!!

  8. Are you getting your laundry wash tub from food service warehouse, or will it be a different kind of tub? I want to get one for our “Master bathroom” which is huge, and will be converted into a laundry room for indoor, winter use. It’s too cold here to do laundry outside year-round.

    Speaking of doing laundry by hand – I found this today:

    http://www.columbuswashboard.com/

    We have been doing some laundry by hand in the small bathroom sink, and I think a large metal tub and a washboard would be good to use instead.

  9. villapacis says:

    We just received a 2-compartment stainless sink with a right side drainboard from FSW. This will be our indoor laundry sink, now that the washing machine and dryer are sitting in the backyard. 🙂

    WM

    • Jessica B says:

      We’re getting set to establish our laundry area in our new home. My husband likes the idea of handwashing. I do for the sake of simplicity but to be honest…with so much going on I’m wondering if we are crazy to take on handwashing or crazy not to? You tell me. You’re the only one I know who hand washes clothes and we have about the same family size.

      I currently have a kind neighbor here who offered to deliver his like new 2 yr. old Maytag to my front door for $50. I was excited! But, maybe if you could answer some practical questions for me I could “get” hand washing for a family of nine. So, I see the double stainless sink you bought and I wonder how you squeeze the water out of the clothes. Do you have a wringer of any kind or do you just use the strength of your hands? How about the kids? What about ironing after haning them to dry? Are the clothes wear-ready off of the drying line? What about bedding and the like? Dirty, stiff overalls? How long does this take? Does each family member wash their own clothes? I need some practical help here or I’m calling up my neighbor. 🙂

      • villapacis says:

        Are you asking me whether or not it is physically easier to use an electric clotheswasher or to wash them with your own hands? That would be obvious.

        The real question is WHY wash by hand…or do ANYTHING by hand?

        First, what makes a family wealthy is diligent labor following a wise plan of life. It is the desire to exchange money for labor that makes everyone poor eventually. We all imagine there is something more important for us to be doing than making food, caring for our clothes and maintaining our home. However, the apostles were taught a different idea of life. They taught men to “associate with the lowly”, “be content with food and clothing”, “work with your own hands”, and so on. The way to wealth is to be content with simplicity and then do the work yourself so that you don’t need cash from outside the farm. The more cash you need, the less freedom you have.

        Second, Dania and I have what we call “the air conditioner principle”. It’s summer time, you’re hot and yet you’ve wanted to go old fashioned…no air conditioner. You can handle it just fine, but then a 98 degree day moves in. You’re really hot now. You re-visit the question, “Do you want to put the air on?” Sure, okay…it’s really hot after all. Now, what temperature do you set the air at? 90? 85? 80? No. You set the air on 72. Why? Because what you really want is absolutely no sweat, no heat, no seasons. You want office weather 24/7/365. You want weather that is good for computers, televisions and upholstered furniture. You don’t want nature.

        We call this the “air conditioner principle” because it is a principle that we apply to all questions of convenience and modern artificiality. You want to avoid laundry? OK, fine get a machine. Is that machine really as convenient as others? Sure, it’s $50, but if it’s not that great, then you’re going to have to repair it or get a new one anyway. Then, what kind will you get? You can spend hours an hours online reading reviews and shopping around (great use of time). Will you get a cheap one that may break or require you to turn manual knobs or will you get a commercial washer that “you can hand down to your kids” and that eliminates laundry washing for good? Yes, if you’re not content washing by hand, you’ll probably never be content with any washing machine. Then, when it breaks (for it will) can you fix it or must you then find money to pair a repair-man’s hourly wage so that he can order replacements parts for you?

        Third, while your electric washer is spinning away, what are your children doing with their hands? Do they have work to do or are you making them idle by farming out all the chores to machines? You’re sending money off the farm to pay the electric company to supply the energy to wash your clothes while your children use more than enough energy doing bad since they have nothing else to do. Well, maybe you can get a TV to keep them occupied or lots of toys outside so they’re not bored. Then, their clothes, how will you teach them to care for them when the electric machine is responsible for washing them? You will have laundry piles and ruined clothing everywhere because, since there is no consequence for dirtying clothes, your family will be dirtier. Your kids will learn to dirty their clothes, then take them off and throw them into a pile and put on other clean clothes. Since laundry will sit around in piles, you’ll need a number of outfits for each kid, so you’re buying new clothes. Moreover, since you’re not washing these clothes by hand you can buy all kinds of heavy fabrics that would be too difficult to wash by hand.

        WHY NOT JUST STAY IN THE SUBURB? Country life is not a different location…it is a different life. It is a private, stationary amd silent life of routine, daily work.

        My wife washes laundry on Monday and my daughters help her…all day. Now if she focused on the presence of work (gasp!), whe would be miserable, but she focuses on her day teaching the girls and working with them, raising them to be godly, hard-working Catholic women. The hard work teaches them humility as they are mad conscious constantly of how weak they are. On and on we could go…

  10. Catie Haselbarth says:

    That’s great. I need to learn the mechanics of washing your own clothes. Do you use a washboard?

  11. claire chapman says:

    Hummm, I thought you had gotten rid of the refrigerator. I see it’s back. I think it would actually be very hard to live without a fridge, especially when you get so much milk daily.

  12. Stacia says:

    do you use cloth diapers? I have 2 in cloth and cannot imagine doing them by hand

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