…what foods and gadgets would you keep?
90% or more of our worldly goods are crammed into a 10×20′ storage unit while we bunk at my in-laws’ house between selling our home and buying a new one.
Working in someone else’s kitchen is always a challenge, but especially so when you make as many things from scratch as I do (my top 5 are detailed in Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, One Bite at a Time).
Pictured: Homemade Yogurt (I brought the jars, pot, cooler and towel so I didn’t have to rethink the routine)
I had to think long and hard about what items were absolutely necessary for my survival and sanity in the kitchen so that I could bring as little as possible here and be less intrusive. I knew that I was going to offer to plan and cook all the dinner meals, so I’d need some of my favorites to make that work.
Are you curious about the necessities in a Kitchen Stewardship kitchen?
First, let me amaze you with some of the things I decided I would live without:
- my KitchenAid mixer (this means no bread or rolls of any kind, ’cause I just don’t knead by hand – and yes, I know about the no-knead bread method – and also makes some other baking recipes a major challenge)
- my breadmaker
- my Nutrimill grain mill (one of the features at Paula’s Bread)
- my Excalibur dehydrator
- both of my tortilla presses
I made a list and checked with my mother-in-law to see if she had:
- a slow cooker
- a blender
- a hand blender (and then I brought my own anyway and am glad I did! Making homemade mayo is such a tender process, and I wanted a machine I knew and trusted to make it work. I used my MIL’s once in a pinch, and it didn’t get the job done on the orange vegetable pancakes, so I think it would be a big fail on the mayo, too.)
- a bottle brush (for those half gallon raw milk jars)
- measuring cups and spoons (I hope she wasn’t offended that I asked)
- 4-cup glass measuring cup (she has the 8-cupper, even better!) – for draining yogurt cheese
- I knew she had a baking stone and glass storage containers, and I’m so glad I bought them for her at Christmastime!
There were a few things I thought I could do without and am so very, very happy she has them anyway:
- Spoonula (for best ever scrambled eggs)
- Electric griddle (pancake day was soooo long on the stovetop the first day we did it)
Pictured above: a small storage unit I brought in the basement that stores most of the “gadgets” I was able to bring and my bulk oils on the bottom.
I’ve used pretty much everything I brought and patted myself on the back in gratitude for at least 80% of them. I was right; I do use and love these gadgets. They make my life as a from-scratch cook much easier.
- Funnel – for pouring raw milk into different containers.
- Reusable sandwich bags and stainless steel containers for packing lunches.
- Cheesecloth and tea towels for hanging yogurt cheese.
- I actually wish I’d brought my big metal colander, as the medium-sized plastic one here is too small for a huge batch of beans or chicken stock.
- Salad spinner and lettuce knife – Oh, how I love them
- Silicone spoon – I needed something I knew I could leave in the pot and not melt my MIL’s spoons! I only brought one, and I miss its mate when its dirty (every day).
- My favorite knife…ok, two knives. Oh, twist my arm – it was three. Two big ones and a paring knife. And a cutting board to go with them. I knew I didn’t like the knives and glass cutting board here.
- Garlic press
- Food chopper, especially for nuts
- Vegetable peeler (I’m just picky about the shape of mine)
- Cheese knife – looks like a machete, but my kids use it to cut real food since it’s also very dull.
- My Pampered Chef masher tool thingy – love this as a strong whisk, for guacamole or egg salad, and more. I’m glad it’s here.
- Small glass glasses and bowls for the kids (use them ALL the time)
- I asked for special permission to bring water kefir (pictured below) along – my kids really appreciate having a third choice beyond water and milk at meals. It takes up counter space, so I had to make sure it wouldn’t drive anyone nuts. Grandma is a sucker for her grandkids, so she said it was okay!
- My canner – it’s great to have the option of buying tomatoes in glass jars from Tropical Traditions, but I still felt it necessary to can my own this year, and I need applesauce from fall apples, too. This item would have gone to the storage unit if we decided there wasn’t room.
- My two largest pots – one for yogurt, and one for huge batches of soup or dry beans, in case the yogurt one was busy incubating. I have used them both dozens of times already!
- My whole freezer! Couldn’t exactly put that into storage…
This is the rest of my “food storage” in the basement. I brought my own shelves and have to run downstairs for lots of things:
- bulk grains and legumes
- dried fruits
- extra supplements
- coconut flour
- various weird sweeteners for the Sweet, Sweet Summer series
- canned tuna, beans, etc.
- I wasn’t going to, but I couldn’t help it: I ground various grains before I packed up the grain mill and store them in the freezer for biscuits and crackers and treats. I’m nearly out.
This is the upstairs cupboard – I’ll give you one guess which shelf is mine.
What would you have nearby if you only had one small shelf in the kitchen?
- Fats and oils: extra virgin olive oil, refined and unrefined coconut oil for cooking, baking and oatmeal.
- Everything we need for breakfasts: oats, sweetener, cinnamon, raisins/dried fruit, homemade granola
- Homemade crackers
- Raw honey and stevia for yogurt
- Nuts for snacking
- Peanut butter
- Healthier sweeteners like sucanat and coconut sugar
- Recipes – only my favorites in a folder. Thank goodness 50% of what I make is already online here at KS!
- The themes are quick breakfasts and snacks – I figure I can do some stairs for making bigger recipes at dinnertime.
Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I “needed” so many things for just a few months in someone else’s kitchen. It’s almost silly…but to keep my sanity and keep this blog going, I’m glad I did it.
And someday soon, I still have a “wish list” for more gadgets, including a Bosch mixer, ice cream maker, and high-powered blender. If you’ve got a wish list going, I’m pleased to introduce you to Paula’s Bread, owned by a Christian woman who lives out her faith by feeding her family well (and helping you do the same with safe, real food gadgets and bakeware). She’s a September sponsor of KS, and I’m grateful!
What could you simply not live without in the kitchen?
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