Dec 082011

Since we are in that season of cooking, eating, and gift giving, I thought I might update you on my minimalist kitchen. Here it is…


That’s it. That is where all the culinary magic happens. The stone soup, the watery gruel, this is the spot for all that tasty goodness.

Actually I eat pretty good based on what you see here. The appliances, toaster oven, microwave, bread box, apartment size fridge underneath, the sink to the left out of the picture, all come with the apartment. The dish, bowl, glass, and utensils, all total to around $10 came from the dollar store. With this meager kitchen I am able to whip up some half decent meals. Nothing spectacular mind you. No seven course feasts of roast beasts. Just simple basic stuff.

I love to cook actually. When I had a full kitchen I would make some pretty good recipes. A lot of homemade stuff handed down from the family. But I have decided to cut back for now and keep things minimal. I only buy enough food for about two days at a time. It keeps the food budget in line at about $10 a day or so and I am always eating something fresh. The store is not that far away so it’s an easy bike ride to get what I need. I usually take a single canvas bag and whenever the bag is full, that is all I get.

I rarely eat out mostly due to financial reasons but I do find a deal now and then. A sports bar where I go to watch football has a nice little steak and fries for $5 on Saturdays. Not a bad deal. Sometimes I hit the raw bar on the harbor during happy hour when they have half price deals on their appetizers like shrimp and shellfish. But most times I am content to eat at home.

I realize this minimal example may be a bit extreme for most people when it comes to cooking. That’s ok. Here are a few tips though to reduce your kitchen clutter and your food budget…

Stay away from one trick ponies. No appliances that do only one thing. Yes, that $2 waffle maker is a great deal but any appliance that does only one thing ain’t worth it’s weight in pepper spray.

Use the motorized gadgets less. You would be amazed how much you can do with a paring knife and a frying pan. While we all don’t have the time to prepare a good home cooked meal, sometimes, creating by hand rather than by machine adds to the flavor. Make it a family project once in awhile and get everyone involved in cooking.

If you do have kids, teach them to cook. As soon as you feel comfortable handing them a knife and a pan, get them into cooking stuff. Revive old family recipes and enjoy something that doesn’t come out of box. Help them appreciate the taste and health benefits of home made food instead of fast food.

If you don’t know how to cook your self get online and learn. It ain’t hard. You don’t need to have a kitchen set up like on the cooking shows. You don’t need a separate dish for every single item. It’s not that hard.

Plan meals ahead of time and get the most out of what you buy and cook. Leftovers can be a great way to stretch out a food budget.

Look for deals when you shop. For example, our old friend, Publix, introduces the deals of the week every Thursday. Shop generic for basics like dish soaps, napkins, paper towels, seasonings, etc. Publix has a fine line of generic products for way less than branded items. Look at the ingredients and you will see no difference between them.

Shop the produce, bakery, and seafood/meat sections first. Try to stay away from the box brands.

The same dishes you use for everyday meals will work just as well for a fancy dinner. Quit trying to impress people with fancy dish ware. They are there for the food, not to admire the dishes.

One fork works just as well on salad as it does on the mash potatoes. Let the fancy restaurants deal with cleaning up all that extra mess.

If you have a decent size kitchen and have the means, whip up some homemade goodies and give them out as gifts for the holidays. Trust me, I get a nice supply of homemade cookies every year and I savor every bite. Well worth it.

Ok, hope this helps with your minimalist culinary questions. If you will excuse me now, I’m getting hungry. I just picked up some fresh granite for some stone soup. Much better than limestone, less aftertaste.

Capt. Fritter

  2 Responses to “The Minimalist Kitchen…”

  1. Add a hot plate plus a skillet with a lid and you could probably cook everything we do. Of course, we have twice as many dishes as you do since there’s two of us. 🙂

  2. i love your kitchen, captain.
    i have 4 of each in the dish and utensil division. i know. too many. and it’s just me.
    i have 2 pans, 1 little steamer (with holes) and 1 skillet for making omeletts. too much stuff!
    i have 4 glass mugs that double duty for hot or cold beverages.
    compared to your kitchen and probably linda’s… mine is over the top.
    even with that i could have it packed and ready to go in about 10 to 15 minutes!
    minimalism is grand.
    btw… checked out linda’s blog. very interesting and inspiring. except wouldn’t stay in minnesota!