Monday, February 21, 2011

The Art of Equipping a Kitchen

Rob and I decided not to rent a moving truck, or even get a roof rack when we moved, instead we crammed what we could inside of our Chevy Malibu and sold everything else.  We had some boxes of clothes and other light things mailed to us once we were settled, but for the most part we pared down to the bare essentials.  Being who I am about 50% of what was in the car came out of the kitchen:  the wine and martini glasses I did not trust to ship, the All Clad cookware that I loved too much to let out of my sight, the hefty cast iron Staub pot, my grandmothers china, and the list goes on.  We had gotten married less then a year before our move and our families and friends had generously updated our kitchen arsenal to items that may very well last the rest of our lives, so there was no way we were leaving any of it behind. 

Our moving sales were pretty incredible, the type I am always on the hunt for yet rarely find.  How we had fit all of that in our tiny apartment I have no idea, but it sure did help pay some of our moving costs.  For all of the kitchenware that we kept we also sold a lot, and for the most part I don’t miss any of it.  I think of certain items from time to time, why I got rid of the avocado slicer when I was moving to avocado territory I don’t know, it’s not like it would have taken up much room.  Other things I find myself looking for, digging through drawers having forgotten that I no longer own them.  The rest: the ice cream maker that  I never used, the bread maker that I used when I first got it and then forgot about, the mini Staub pots that I loved because they were adorable yet never once used, had to be left behind to support the (moving) cause, and I don’t find myself missing them.  Having to sell off a good chunk of my book collection was a whole other matter, and one that I am quite scarred by.

If you read my post "Foodie Thrift Store Find (of the Year?!)" you know that I am a thrifter, I love going to thrift stores, and garage sales finding the perfect things for very little money.  It is one of the reasons that I have such a fun kitchen arsenal.  If you are a thrifter you know that you see certain kitchen items everywhere you go: the bread machine and ice cream maker noted above, both found brand new at thrift stores and sold by me still brand new, are two of the most common.  When you start seeing them that much you know odds are you will probably never use them either, a lesson I am still learning. 

All foodies have a kitchen wish list, often changing depending on what kind of food faze they are going through.  I have started to notice that if I am patient I will almost always find the things on my list at thrift stores or garage sales.  Rob and I just got our first juicer which we are really excited about, found at our local thrift town (never used) for $10.00.  Last month I found a yogurt maker for $4.00 still shiny and new but missing one lid.  Being a soup lover I have had an immersion blender on my list for quite a while but it never seemed to make it to the top, that is until I found one at a thrift store for $2.00, the fact that it was hanging with the curling irons really worked in my favor.  I am still bitter about the $75.00 Kitchenaid mixer with all the attachments that I didn’t have the money to buy last fall, and I know it is one of those things that will stay with me for a very long time.  You don’t let a Kitchenaid mixer pass you by!

For many, kitchen items are a fad or a passing fancy, they buy them because they are popular or they have these big ideas of how they are going to change their diets, and then they sit around in a cabinet until someone thinks to donate them.  There I await, ready to use them but never willing or able to pay full price.  So I am grateful to all the magazines and cooking shows that convince non-cooks to purchase all the fancy cooking tools that they will never use, and I am even more grateful to those non-cooks who have the sense and courtesy to donate these items.  Now if someone would just donate a food-dehydrator (preferably this one) I would be all set!

If you are so inclined check out:

Alton Browns Gear for Your Kitchen by Alton Brown

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In the Hands of a Chef: the professional chef's guide to essential kitchen tools by The Culinary Institute of America

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Cook's Tools: the complete manual of kitchen implements and ow to use them by Susan Campbell

Warmans Kitschy Kitchen Collectibles Field Guide by Brian Alexander

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