|Pizza fixings in a pared-down kitchen|
The linens were not much problem, as we put together a small group of sheets and towels, pillows and blankets. Without much effort, we were good to go on that front.
The kitchen, on the other hand, was a bigger deal. I cook. A lot. And in my kitchen at home, I have pretty much all I need that I've collected over the years. My mother-in-law started me out with so many goods that I still use today: Corning ware, baking dishes, bowls, grater... The list goes on and on. Being faced with outfitting an entire kitchen was a bit daunting! I knew I didn't want to spend a fortune, but needed enough to get by at least in the short term.
So, in case anyone's interested either in starting a new kitchen collection, downsizing to just a few things, or setting up an additional kitchen, I've put together a list of essentials (what I found to be essentials, anyway).
|Bread baked in a bowl|
- set of dinnerware (I found a decent Pfaltzgraff 8-piece place setting at Big Lots for a reasonable price that included dinner and salad plates, mugs, and bowls)
- small and large glasses (or mason jars that double as storage)
- a few good, sharp knives
- kitchen shears
- steak knives
- 2 large, oven-safe bowls (good for mixing + baking bread -- see above photo)
- 1 large metal mixing bowl
- 2 Pyrex dishes: 1 square, 1 rectangle
- baking sheet
- Food storage containers (I copped out and used some plastic, but glass with re-closeable lids is so preferable; especially ones that double as bake-ware; this was a pain, as I couldn't store hot leftovers in the plastic)
- 1 skillet, preferably with lid
- 1 saucepan, preferably with lid (these pans also both came from Big Lots >> Big Mistake)
- cutting boards (get something sturdy with good grips that won't slide around as you cut)
- measuring cups (both glass and cups) and measuring spoons
- silicone utensil for stirring
- can opener (manual)
For the appliances, I got only a few things:
- toaster oven
- slow cooker
- coffee maker (though, with space - and taste - considerations, I would also consider just an espresso pot or french press)
- hand-held lemon squeezer (we had a lemon tree in the backyard)
|Lemon / Almond Bars|
I didn't have, and it would have been nice to have:
- an immersion blender
- a hand-mixer
- a food processor, for occasional chopping or sauces and dressings
- tea infusers
- a few small multi-purpose bowls for mixing / cereal / snacks
- mason jars
After a brief visit home, I also brought back my zester, (mostly because of the lemons).
A good outcome from this experience is that I ended up focusing more on preparing whole and simpler foods. We ate lots more veggies and salads. And lots of winter squash, beans from the crockpot (see below). And quesadillas, with homemade re-fried beans and veggies, and awesome uncooked tortillas (with only basic ingredients) by Tortillaland. Yum!
In in the end, we got by fine. I cooked most every meal at the house, still. I made bread from scratch; I chopped things manually. I missed my hand-mixer, but got by with a whisk. I won't say it wasn't nice to get back to my own kitchen, with all my familiar tools. It was; it felt like a dream! But we managed with only a subset of my regular items.
It was an interesting experiment, and I hope if we do a similar thing again, I'll be armed with more knowledge of the necessities (for me) of a functional kitchen.