“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 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.
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.