Stuff in My Kitchen

Today, I give you lists.

Stuff that’s so important, I go into a panic if I can’t find it:
Wooden spoon. It’s the perfect length and it fits my hand beautifully. It disappeared after a party a few years ago. A friend of mine was convinced that one of my guests had stolen it. Why someone would do that, I don’t know, but beer makes people do strange things. I found it months later behind the stove. I acted like I’d finally found a missing wedding ring.

Chef’s knife. I have no idea if it passes the foodie acceptability test, and I don’t care. When I need to chop something, it does the job. And woe to the person who puts it in the dishwasher or uses it for a tool. There will be hell to pay.

Microplane. It’s possibly the best $12 I ever spent. Parmegiano cheese comes out like lace. I love my microplane

Salad spinner. I hate wet salad greens. I think that, after air conditioning, the salad spinner was the greatest invention of the 20th century.

Big plastic bowl. It bears a striking resemblance to Rachael Ray’s infamous garbage bowl. I use it for everything from mixing biscuit dough to, yes, holding garbage while I’m cooking.

9”x13” Pyrex baking dish. I should have two of these. Every time I want to make lasagna, I realize the baking dish has brownies in it.

One-cup solid measure. I have three or four of these, but this one gives me the most accurate measure.

Digital thermometer. It changed my life. I can usually tell if a flank steak is done just by looking at it, but this reassures me.

8” metal spatula. I bought it over 20 years ago at a yard sale. I think it cost a quarter. I use it for cooking, cutting brownies, deglazing pans, and getting rid of burned on crap.

Stuff I don’t need, but use often:
Extra pots and pans. I’ve at least two of every standard size pot and pan. I don’t need them, I barely have room for them, and if I get one more of either, my pot rack might fall to the floor. But they’re a godsend when I’m making a big dinner.

Extra spatulas, cooking utensils and measuring spoons. Does anyone really need a half dozen spatulas? Four sets of measuring spoons? Five ladles? No, but that hasn’t stopped me from occasionally cleaning out the entire kitchen utensil section at Tuesday Morning. I had to have that three cup measure that I can also use on the stove.

Stuff I’m glad I have, even though I don’t use it much:
Standing mixer. I use this to whip cream and mix cookie dough. It doesn’t speed up the cookie making process, but physical ailments make it difficult for me to mix the dough by hand. It takes up a lot of space and it’s too heavy for me to pick up, but it makes my life easier.

Crock pot. It’s so old, Moses probably made dinner with it while he was up on that mountain. But it makes Italian sausage in red sauce that’s so good it will bring tears to your eyes.

Roasting pan. It’s massive, and it doesn’t properly fit anywhere. But sometimes it’s the only thing that will do.

One thing I have, I hate and am putting into storage soon:
A microwave. I got this from a friend. It’s sitting on my counter taking up a massive amount of space. I know microwaves are lifesavers for some people, but I don’t need one. And no matter how often you clean them, they smell horrible.

One thing noticeably missing from these lists:
A standard size food processor. No kitchen device has caused me more confusion than this. Mine broke down almost two years ago, causing panic to immediately set in. Then I realized I didn’t need it. Unlike a bread machine or a microwave, I think they’re useful, and if someone bought me one, I would accept it happily. But considering the space it takes up, the expense, and my feeling that it made me lazy, it’s not important. I have an immersion blender and a small food processor, which allow me to make great pesto, dips and spreads. For biscuits and pie crust, my hands do a darn good job.

There’s a lot more stuff in my kitchen, but these are the high and low points.

What’s in your kitchen?