To say I have a bit of a fixation with anything you find in a kitchen would be a correct assessment, maybe even an understatement. I can’t help myself. I am fascinated by kitchen gear. But what do we really need? I mean there has to be a limit on what we cram into our cooking space…right?
The answer is a resounding yes, there is a limit!
So then, what items are must haves, and what can we probably do without. That’s a pretty tricky question, as each person has their go-to utensils and cooking aids. We can probably start with the multiples, ie two blenders or two food processes. You get the point. Your counters will thank you for weeding out the extras, and it will open up more work space. This leads us the next place. How many spoons, spatulas, mashers and other utensils do you have? Me, I used to have TWO full drawers of them. Now I have just a handful, and I find I spend less time searching for them, and more time cooking. Some more items that seem to breed like rabbits are; plastic containers and casserole/baking dishes. I would go to grab a plastic container for my daughter’s lunch and find this ancient item smelling of tuna and lasagna. Bleh! My point is, I had to learn to throw out unneeded and expired kitchen items, too.
So then, what are the must haves you ask?
I want to start with my favorite. Knives. Sharp and beautiful works of art. At least they should be. There is nothing less safe in the kitchen than a dull knife…oh, and don’t get me started on serrated knives! I would suggest that if you can swing it, go for a little bit nicer knives. They don’t have to be top of the line or anything, but they should feel right in your hands, like an extension of you preparing to create art. I have used Henkel Pro series for years, some of my knives are 20 years old and still razor sharp. I also only really use three knives, chef, paring and a bread knife…that’s it. By the way, be sure to have a honing steel on hand to keep the edge.
Another place is pots and pans, it is important to have decent pots and pans. We invested in some pretty good ones 10 years ago, and are just now getting ready to be replace them. The vessels that you use to create your masterpieces are important, and can be the difference between burnt marinara and a zesty tomato sauce with flare. I also really like cast iron skillets and dutch ovens, super versatile and great for meats and poultry. It’s true they are hard to clean, but if you take care of them they can last for decades.
One more before I close out this article – cutting boards. I have a lot. Yep, you heard me right. Let me tell you why though. They each have a different function; raw meat, fish, cooked meat ,vegetables and fruit, onion and garlic…that’s five if you’re keeping score at home. I keep them meticulously sanitary, and never stray from this point. Trust me, you don’t want your chicken to get into the veggies or your apples to taste like onion.
Now, these are just a few ideas that have worked for me, and certainly won’t work for everyone. But I just wanted to throw them out there in case anyone was looking to un-clutter their kitchen, and didn’t know where to start. If you have any more tips on keeping your kitchen clutter free, please let me know. I am aways striving to learn and grow each and everyday.