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Minimalist Kitchen | Manolo for the Home

A Minimalist Kitchen

I remember long ago living in a Brooklyn apartment that was totally tiny. The kitchen? Smaller than my mother’s walk-in closet. Luckily, my roommate had already stocked the kitchen cabinets with all of the pots and pans and dishes we could want. Well, as many as could fit in those minuscule cabinets, anyway. Nonetheless we had just about everything we needed to cook almost anything.

Now I’ve heard people say that you can’t make a gourmet meal in an itty-bitty kitchen, but I’m going to say they’re wrong. Check out the Portable Kitchen guide, which is a PDF geared toward traveling cooks, but way useful for those of us with no space to spare.

minimalist kitchen

The best part is that you can get everything you need on the cheap. I mean all these things. As cookery book master Mark Bittman found out, you can outfit your kitchen without spending a gajillion dollars.

I contend that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items, $200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any task, and $300 can equip one quite well.

He started with an eight-inch, plastic-handle stainless alloy chef’s knife for $10. Nice. Next up was an instant-read thermometer for $5. Then three stainless steel bowls for $5 and tongs for $3.50. A sheet pan set him back $6, and he continued on with a paring knife, a colander, and a can opener, among other things. He also bought pots and pans, in case you were worried he was starting off with an unfair advantage. Remember, cast iron is cheap!

4 Responses to “A Minimalist Kitchen”

  1. class factotum January 24, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Amen. A good cook can make good food with just the basics. My grandmother turned out excellent meals with a crummy knife (not a sacrifice I am willing to make, though), one cutting board and cheap pots and pans. It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools.

  2. Never teh Bride February 4, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    Right on, class factotum! I understand the joys of non-stick cookware and very sharp knives, but the pan I like best is a cast iron job I bought on Amazon for less than $15. It rocks my world.

  3. class factotum February 4, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    My husband does not understand the great love I have for the All-Clad kettle I got for $4 on eBay. It is heavy and perfect for cooking almost anything that shouldn’t burn.

    He does, however, get why good knives and other basics are important (he got me a great knife for my birthday last year — and it was only about $15, I think — good doesn’t have to be expensive). When we went to his parents at Thanksgiving (where I learned that xanax really doesn’t do anything for me, alas), I had to peel and cut apples for a pie without a potato peeler or a good, sharp knife. I was scared to death I was going to slice off a finger. I don’t think those knives had ever been sharpened and it’s not like they were of the quality that would have held an edge anyhow. The pie turned out OK, but it was a pain in the ass to make it.

    Yet another reason not to visit the in laws.

  4. Port February 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    Kitchen design is always so tough for me. Thanks for the idea!