Home Forums Living Spaces Kitchens What's in a minimal kitchen?

This topic contains 28 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  SunshineR 8 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #158869


    I’m moving to Alaska and need to reduce my stuff to what can fit in my truck.
    I think I can make major cuts in my kitchen because I’m single and not much of a cook.

    What’s the bare minimum stuff to keep in a kitchen for one person?

  • #172937


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    There’s a list in Mark Bittman’s cookbook, How to Cook Everything.

    I’ve gotten by, overseas, with

    cast iron skillet with lid
    large pot with lid
    mixing bowl
    cooking spoon
    can opener
    vegetable peeler

    Also a few plates, bowls, cups, and utensils. I think that was it. I was doing basic cooking, ho baking and no measuring anything.

    Someone, somewhere, suggested putting something like a sticky dot or a strip of masking tape on things, and removing the marker when you used the item. If you do that for a few months, you’ll see what kitchen equipment you actually do use and what is there just in case.

  • #172938


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Or perhaps it was putting a marker on the items you did use. D’oh!

  • #172939


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Why is everybody moving to Alaska all of a sudden? Are there more jobs there?

  • #172946


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Thanks for all the replies. This will help a lot!

    Amy, I have heard that the economy is pretty strong in Alaska.
    I’m moving because my company is shutting down our local office.
    I’m one of the lucky few to have been offered a job in one of our other offices.

  • #172952


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    I am not much of a cook, although I enjoy making certain homey winter dishes like soups, stocks, stews (and all things with S apparently). We have 4 knives–butcher, 1 paring, and 2 small all-purpose. Zora’s list is a great starting point; we have a bit more than that but not much more. DH does almost all the cooking and uses a heavy frying pan and a stock pot for almost eveything.

    For baking I do have lidded nesting mixing bowls which we also use for food storage and freezing, and measuring spoons and cups, and some casserole dishes/pie plates. All get heavy use. We also have a couple of well-used unitasters too though: coffee grinder (also for spices, grinding nuts and flax for baking etc) coffee machine, and blender. We also use an electric wok and a fondu set, both of which get used every couple of weeks. Electric kettle also gets used several times daily. No crock pot, stand mixer, or microwave.

    we have very little by way of food storage, as we don’t need much. I find ziplocks in varying sizes to be perfect for everything, even soups. We wash them out and reuse them until they look like they are starting to break down.

    Then you will need some stirrers, wooden spoons and a spatula, a whisk, peeler, wine/bottle opener. Manual can opener. Some tea towels and silicone oven mitts and you are done!

  • #172960


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    the minimal kitchen really depends on your cooking style and food preferences.
    if i absolutely had too, i could manage with
    wooden chopping board
    2 knives
    a vegetable peeler
    a wok
    a rice cooker
    a large saucepan and a small saucepan
    a coffee machine
    a blender
    a toaster
    a wooden spoon
    a metal spoon
    a whisk
    a grater
    a sieve
    nesting bowls
    tea towels
    oven mitts (silicon ones are great)
    dish cloths
    2 bowls
    2 plates
    2 cups
    2 spoons/forks/knives/teaspoons

    now please indulge me while i get onto one of my very favourite rants.
    one of the most important life skills we can have is the ability to cook decent food for ourselves.
    i am talking nutritious, from-scratch, proper food.
    it needn’t be a gourmet extravaganza every night of the week.
    control over your daily food is the best and most important long term investment you can make in your health.
    so please take the time to learn how to make a handful of wonderful tasty nutritious things and rotate them.

  • #172963


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    so Bandicoot, get thee o’er to the recipe thread and get us going with a wonderful concoction…c’mon, I know you want to!

    I tease…but I would love to learn a new recipe;)

  • #173043


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Juliarose – I imagine you’re moving to Anchorage? I’ve lived in Alaska for the past 37 years, so feel free to ask any specific questions (unless you’ve been/lived here before, and thus know what you need to know πŸ™‚ ).

  • #173048


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Juliarose, “minimal” depends on what kind of cooking you do and you say you don’t do much!

    I think I could make do quite nicely with an electric skillet (one of the largish ones with a lid), a slow cooker, and a microwave. If you have those three appliances, you don’t really even need a cooktop or oven. And then one 5 to 6 quart heavy-duty pot with lid, big enough to boil noodles.

    Cooking tools: two each spatulas, turners, and spoons. Can opener. Colander. A set of Pyrex measuring/prep bowls – 1-cup to 4-cup – the ones with an integrated handle and spout. Wooden chopsticks (for safety when heating liquids in the microwave: put a chopstick in the liquid and it won’t splash up when you touch the hot container). A paring knife and a chef’s knife and a cutting board. Dish and hand towels, and a trivet.

    Tableware: Plates, bowls, mugs, and flatware for two (we ARE talking minimal here, but it’s nice to have the option of serving two!). Placemats and cloth napkins (cotton being my preference – washable and don’t need constant ironing!) are inexpensive accessories that can make your meals at home more comforting, believe it or not, and more of an occasion.

  • #173072


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    As an Alaskan I’ll mention we have no Ikea, Target is just in Anchorage and most other box stores aren’t up here. You’ll be stuck with Walmart, Sam’s Club and Fred Meyer( Krogers) +specialty kitchen stores for kitchen equipment. So if you consider yourself a gourmand consider holding onto anything you think you’ll be replacing when you get here, don’t get rid of it for weight thinking it will be cheaper to buy it here because it won’t. Do get rid of it if you can deal without. You’ll be surprised on how little you can get away with.

    Also, yes, the jobs environment is still pretty good in Alaska. Construction is down, but not awful.

  • #173080


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    I have to mention my favourite cooking blog here, Stone Soup (subtitle: ‘Minimalist home cooking’). Jules’s food is gorgeous and she writes a lot of ‘5 ingredient, 10 minute’ recipes. She also has a couple of nice posts on minimal cooking equipment. http://thestonesoup.com/blog/

    Here’s my list, FWIW:

    * a cast-iron frypan and dutch oven
    * large and small saucepan, and a colander
    * tea-kettle and coffee plunger
    * cook’s knife, bread knife, small knife
    * wooden chopping board
    * a silicone spatula (I call it ‘the universal utensil’ – they are that good!), a whisk, a big spoon, tongs, a ladle, a peeler
    * Pyrex measuring jug and measuring spoons
    * a big mixing/salad bowl
    * a mortar & pestle (for making pesto and guacamole and banana smoothies)
    * a couple of cake tins and a Pyrex roasting dish
    * a bunch of Pyrex containers for storing/freezing food

  • #173086

    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Since you’re single and don’t cook much it really depends on what you like to eat. My BF and I live together and neither of us really cook.

    2 bowls
    4 plates (for eating & preparing foods)
    2 glasses
    2 mugs
    4 of each: forks, spoons, knives
    1 manual can opener
    1 bottle opener
    1 cutting knife (for cutting raw meat)
    1 big spoon with slots in it for drainage
    1 spatula
    1 soup ladle
    1 pair of tongs
    2 mixing bowls (1 small, 1 large which also doubles as a salad bowl)
    1 strainer
    1 small pot
    1 big pot
    1 small pan
    1 big pan
    2 small tupperware bowls with lids
    1 medium tupperware bowl
    1 cookie sheet
    1 muffin pan (makes 6 muffins)
    1 square pan (8×8)
    1 Foreman grill

    Our tastes our simple and what we mostly eat are: sandwiches, soup, salads, cereals, baked chicken, grilled meats, the occasional casserole, pastas, muffins (I like to bake). Whenever we feel like having a full course meal or something specific like Chinese food we’ll just go out to eat because it’s cheaper than buying/preparing the ingredients. Same goes for seafood because I hate a fish smelling apartment.

  • #173093


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    NPR ran a great cooking for one article a few years ago that has, in addition to some very nice tips and recipes for people just starting to cook for themselves (it was a graduation piece), a pretty good basic equipment list with explanations of what each item is useful for. As noted repeatedly above, tailor your list for what you yourself make — if you never cook anything at all that requires whisking, you really don’t need a whisk, but if you can’t imagine life without coffee, you likely want to keep your coffee pot. 8)

  • #173109


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    also keep in mind that rural areas can have power outages. I don’t know how the Alaskan cities are for that, but I remember a LOT of power outages in the Yukon. So perhaps favour the non-electric (i.e. keep the manual can opener, ditch the electric etc.)

  • #173119


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    I can’t belive so few people mentioned food storage. I use them constantly to take food to work and store leftovers. I prefer to cook more than I can eat in a meal so I don’t have to cook as often. The glass containers with plastic or rubber lids are awesome. I don’t microwave plastic anything, so that takes a step out of the re-heating process.

  • #173131


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    @lisetiffner – there is a Target in Wasilla as well (and I think on the Kenai). In Anchorage there is a kitchen/housewares store Habitat, and in Wasilla, All I Saw cookware. In the more populated areas, there are resources. But Ikea, sigh, not here. And Juliarose, mail order will become your friend. πŸ™‚

  • #173136


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    @pkilmain True, us Fairbanksans thinking of Wasilla as part of Anchorage. And I mentioned specialty kitchen stores which would include Habitat. We have Country Kitchen here in Fairbanks. My hints were specifically that replacing gourmand items might be pricey so hang onto them.

  • #173146


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Oh, I totally agree, there are definitely specialty items you just can’t get here. Shipping is just totally outrageous as well. No Target in Fbx yet, eh? Oh, and Anchorage now has Kohl’s as well….

  • #173218


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    @juliarose – what part of Alaska are you heading for?
    @juliarose, @lisetiffner, and @pkilmain – in Juneau we have Costco, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Walmart and that’s it. No department stores, no clothing stores, no malls (technically we have 2 malls, but they are not what most people would call a mall). Internet shopping is the way to go. Most of my in-person shopping waits for travel to Anchorage or Seattle.

  • #173301


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    I have to second the Pyrex measuring bowls with lids and spouts, so useful for microwaving veg, baking, storing leftovers etc. I didn’t have one till a few years ago and can’t believe I managed without for so long πŸ™‚ And those silicone spatulas, ditto. Another good source of inspiration is camping equipment, camping shops have stacking saucepan sets, folding colanders, stuff like that, very handy for the bare minimum and we can fit everything we need into our van in 2 smallish cupboards and a drawer, and that’s for 4 of us including a stovetop espresso maker, kettle, toaster for when we have electricity, stuff like that. Oh, and a stick blender, couldn’t manage without one of those plus the little attachment bowl for making breadcrumbs and stuff like that. Not for camping obviously, just everyday cooking!
    It sounds kind of nice living somewhere with limited shops, I’m sure it must drive you Alaskans crazy sometimes though πŸ™‚

  • #173496


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Here’s what I use to cook 90% of my meals:

    – skillet (non-stick)
    – small/medium pot with lid (could probably live without the medium one)
    – vegetable steaming inset (for small/medium pot, same inset fits both)
    – large/small chief’s knife (large for meats, small for vegetables/fruits)
    – large/small plastic cutting board (large for meats, small for vegetables/fruits)
    – stainless steel mixing bowl (for mixing omelets, dressings, etc.)
    – a pair of plastic tongs (for handling food in the skillet)
    – a large plastic spoon (for stirring in mixing bowl and pots)

    Used less often, but still useful:

    – a plastic whisk (often I just use a fork)
    – a flat (takes up less space) grater (“grating” can also be done with a knife)
    – a ladle (could be *very* useful if you make soups or sauces…)
    – a can opener (well, I guess you need this if you intend to prepare canned foods…)

    In addition to some plates, glasses, forks, knives, spoons and bowls for eating, I also have a few microwave-safe plastic containers with air-tight lid for storing prepared foods in the fridge.

    Hm… Now I just realized I can probably clear out half the stuff in my kitchen drawers…

  • #174969


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Nothing to add that hasn’t already been said better, but as another single and down-sizing person, nice thread. Will definitely check out the Stone Soup site; that one’s new to me

    I am tempted to get one of these thingies (http://www.redisetgo.com/), as I think it would help me to have hot meals with also better portion control, but have managed to hold off so far LOL

  • #176048


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    I’ll be moving into my first apartment in a few months and this thread has been very helpful for the opposite of decluttering an existing kitchen–starting a brand new one! Having lived in the dorms for all 4 years with access to communal kitchens I have accumulated a hodgepodge of cheap and minimal cooking implements:

    – stockpot (mostly used for cooking pasta, though it has known the occasional batch of chili)
    – large nonstick frying pan
    – medium saucepan
    – santoku (chef’s) knife that can be used for everything, though when cooking with a buddy I’ve thought it would be nice to have a second
    – plastic cutting board
    – wooden spoon, slotted spoon, spatula & ladle
    – liquid and solid measuring cups, as well as spoons (though I use the latter two relatively infrequently)
    – 2 mixing bowls, large and medium
    – can opener
    – corkscrew
    – plus basic knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls and cups which can be used in a huge variety of creative ways (fork=whisk, potato masher, tongs, etc.)

    Most are in horrifying condition, having been procured at the local Wal-Mart, and desperately need to be replaced. But I have been able to make everything from spaghetti to fully composed meals with side dishes, sauces, etc. with this equipment. Happy to hear all the advice about what’s worth hanging onto or investing in.

  • #176086


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    Don’t forget your spices. They can be reduced into ziploc bags if needed, to save weight or space, but can make all the differece in making your recipes work well.
    I also seem to use my 8.5 x 11″ Pyrex rectangular baking pan a lot. This is an item that has been a staple of every kitchen I have set up since the ’70’s, through moves that took less than a truckload to make. I also have one a size smaller that works in the microwave and might be more versitile for a single cook.

  • #176097


    What's in a minimal kitchen?

    You may want to have a paring knife and a vegetable peeler, in addition to your chef’s knife. Imo, I would not be willing to have just one knife….glad to hear that you like to cook a variety of things. Enjoy!

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