Home > Uncategorized > Knives and Fire: Cooking Essentials

Knives and Fire: Cooking Essentials

LifeHacker has an article about Cooking Essentials. This got me thinking about my most basic kitchen.

That would be my Passover kitchen – the items I store 51 weeks out of the year, more or less. This means I only really want the essentials – I can only store so much. However, I need that equipment to make at least two, if not more, Thanksgiving level meals for up to ten people.

So. What do I have? First, I do kasher my big stockpot and my gravy boat – I don’t have room to store the stockpot and the gravy boat is metal anyway.

So. Stockpot – have to make chicken stock for soup and for ingredient.

Meat supplies:

Chef’s knife. This is my one and only santoku style knife – my husband bought it for me a couple of years ago so I don’t need to use the horrible laser-sharpened piece of foil I’d been using for the past decade and a half. It works fine – it works far better than the other. I don’t plan on using one year round.
Paring knife.
Wooden spoons/spatulas/slotted spoons
One soup pot and cover
One sauce pan and cover
Three frying pans – one covered saute pan
One glass casserole dish
One glass pie plate
One steamer basket
One plastic grater
Can opener
Small wooden cutting board

Dairy supplies:
Chef’s knife (cheapie, but better than the old fleishig one)
Paring knife
Shares peeler
Wooden spoons, etc.
One sauce pan and cover
One frying pan
Can opener
Small wooden cutting board

Most roasting/baking etc is done in disposable aluminum foil pans. Most of the pots and pans are very flimsy, teflon coated junk, but as they’re never used for more than a week or so a year, they’ll last me forever.

And, honestly? Throughout the year?

I use a chef’s knife and cutting board, a peeler, a “stir-fry pan” – large, deep, flat-bottomed but curved teflon pan, a saute pan and my soup pot. Sometimes a grater, either box or rasp. More rarely, a stockpot. Even more rarely, a saucepan. Plus tongs and spatulas and serving spoons.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 9, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    I’ve been putting my kitchen back together the past few days, and so having the occasional….where is [insert needed item here]??? reaction. When I unloaded the kitchen for the remodel, I was astonished at how little useless stuff I had — almost every non-food item I was packing up had been used in the week beforehand.

    Today was my first real run of cooking in the new space. I think, in one day, I have used about 75% of the items I use regularly. The other 25% only didn’t get used because the foods I chose to make didn’t require them — like the big stock/pasta pot, and the veggie peeler.

    Serious cooks + small spaces + lack of storage lead to a very refined set of Important Items, I think!

  2. June 9, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I saw that kitchen remodel. *Jealous*. And you moved your sink and stove! Beautiful.

    That’s part of it, yes – I have twice the amount of stuff in half the normal space (well, outside of NYC. Here, it’s one of the biggest kitchens I’ve ever had.)

    The other part is that anything I can do with a chef’s knife, I do, and I’ve been that way for years. The difference is that now I can do more, faster and more accurately. And more safely. Kitchen gadgets are fun, but essentials are cool.

  3. June 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Hey: other stuff you use a lot during the year: pasta pots and colanders, milchic and fleishic. Rice cooker. Fish flipper. Several different cutting boards. Kettles and hot-pot.

    Don’t underestimate the stuff you use.

    Microplanes – milchic and fleishic. Cheese grater. Two standing graters. Think about it some more.

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