I was recently asked about the things that I use in my kitchen, more importantly the things I cannot live without. The questioning continued inquiring about the tools I would love to have. The timing was very good as Chip and I are about to embark on gutting this kitchen and giving her an overhaul.
We joke about our home not being our final resting place. Our goal is to retire on a lake somewhere with a long, lazy dock and cup of coffee, somewhat like On Golden Pond. That being said, we need to upgrade this 16 year old kitchen and build in some fun things that we can enjoy until we are ready to move on.
So I thought I would make a short list of the items I currently have and repeatedly use:
- a submersible blender. I use this to puree soups, sauces as well as chopping and simple food processing. Mine is a Cuisinart and is arguably the very best bang for the buck.
- a sharp knife. I just scored this purchase for Chip’s birthday since he is the sous chef. It is from Shun Cutlery, carried by Williams Sonoma.
- a sturdy cutting board. During one of our cooking classes, the instructor mentioned cutting boards by San Jamar. Wow, super thick with little grippers on the corners so the board doesn’t move. They range in size to 18 inches and are super easy to clean. You can find them on Amazon for a great price.
- a cut resistant glove. Shucking oysters? A must have.
- a pizza stone. This will do for now until we figure out how to acquire a pizza oven, no really, a pizza oven. That’s a story for another day.
- a French press. Oh what a beautiful thing for even when the power goes out, you can boil water on your grill and make coffee, Death Wish Coffee that is.
- a Dutch Oven. Spectacular thing for stove top or oven cooking. Le Creuset is the best but ouch yet worth the one time purchase to add to your repertoire.
- a KitchenAid mixer. This thing can make a cake, bread, sausage, pasta and ice cream. It performs cleanly and easily while your hands are free to work their magic somewhere else. A true must-have.
On the topic of items I would love to have:
- a Blue Star oven. Wow-wee. Blue Star is amazing and can be designed 8 ways come Sunday, Check out the Blue Star Site if you love cooking like I do and want to dream big.
- an espresso machine. One of those built in, water fed, slick as snot coffee machines that rivals the output of any barista anywhere. I would be wired. My resting heartrate averages about a 79, imagine if I had full time, real time access to espresso? The possibilities are endless.
- a pizza oven. Chip’s dream come true. a 700 degree place to perfect his very close to perfect pizzas.
But you know what? My grandmothers baked and cooked for decades with very simple tools and pans with ingredients that they could afford on the budgets they had to work with. Those meals are in my memory and sometimes in my kitchen.
Therefore, the most cherished item in my kitchen is my Grandmother’s rolling pin. I see her every time I pick it up, every time Chip rolls out a pizza and I remember her making pizza in her house coat with her hearing aid turned up so we could talk. I loved her and I miss her terribly. I think the moral of this story is that the tale my old apron tells and the feel of that rolling pin in my hand makes the kitchen, not the shiny tools or the expensive appliances.
I think tomorrow I will make a pot of sauce and some greens and beans!