a minimalist kitchen

i have been dreading the day that our journey to minimalism lands in the kitchen. so many gadgets in so many drawers and so many pots/pans/bowls on so many shelves – i have no idea where to start.

until today. i just found an awesome article at the new york times: A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks.  mark bittman, a professional chef, decks out an entire kitchen for $300 with every cooking utensil that you would need to cook like a pro.  not only does he list every utensil that you need, but he lists exactly how much to spend on it.  and i love his philosophy that “it needs only to be functional, not prestigious, lavish or expensive.”

it’s a must-read for anyone tired of their kitchen clutter.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Michele says

    I agreed with almost everything in “A No Frills Kitchen…” One of the more frustrating things that happened when my husband and I got married was that people thought we’d want lots and LOTS of kitchen gadgets. Wrong. Though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I was already starting an inward journey towards minimalism. The more I do in my kitchen, the more I realize how little I need. My favorite things are the simpler things: wooden spoons, a set of metal mixing bowls, and three good knives.

    The one exception I took to Bittman’s article was the bread machine. After 3 years of trying various ways to get good, whole grain bread to our table, my husband and I decided a bread machine was a worthwhile addition to our kitchen. I tried making our own bread for a while and ended up in tears far too many times after an entire batch failed. Buying good whole grain bread was ridiculously expensive at an average of $3 for a relatively small loaf. With Christmas gift money, we got a good bread machine and we’re so glad we did! I can simplify our grocery list down to basics like flour, eggs, milk, and oil, but we’re enjoying things like whole grain pizza dough, pumpernickel bagels, whole wheat soft pretzels, and a hearty, whole grain, unbleached white bread. For us, simplifying meant getting 1 workhorse piece of equipment that does a lot of different things. It also meant less driving to the store at the last minute for bread.

  2. di says

    To begin, change recipes.

    I prefer one-pot recipes, because they save time and money. There’s less to clean and plenty of left-overs. It’s less expensive to reheat than it is to cook an entirely new meal.

  3. Arletta says

    I read that No Frills Kitchen article. There were good points in it, but, I can’t say I agreed with some of it, at all.

    Buying inexpensive things that work is, at times, a very good idea. I managed to get a Chef’s knife that was on sale at Fry’s, so that it cost around $7 – $8, after tax. That was lovely. It was amazingly sharp. Until I used it two or three times. Now, it needs a good sharpening. Until I get a whetstone and give it a good sharpening, and, see how long it will hold it the next time, I won’t know if it’s a good investment or not. Obviously, even though most recommended chef’s knives cost oodles more, if they hold their sharpness longer, life would be so much easier that the expense is well worth it.

    Can openers are a bane of my existence. I need a good one. I once managed to get a good one, fairly cheaply. I bought a duplicate at the same time. One of them, someone twisted the handle (grip) on, until it was worthless. The other one was never sharp enough and so was more bother than it was worth. They were mid-range cheap in price, maybe about $3- $4.

    So, the next time, knowing that can openers come and go so quickly around here, I just bought two .89 cent ones from the same store, plus, one of a different style that was a little more expensive. The first time I went to use one of the cheapest ones, the part with the blade just fell out, completely. The other one fell apart a short time later. Same with the other one purchased at the same time. I would have had to pay several dollars to go on the bus, to stand in a long customer service line, to return them.

    The only good can opener I have ever owned, since leaving my parents home (where we had managed to keep and use the same can opener from the time I was a presechooler until I was in my mid-teens, without it once needing to be sharpened) was when I purchased what was, at the time, an incredibly expensive one for around $15. It lasted for years, without losing its edge. It may still be going. Don’t know. Sometime, what with roommates, marriage, divorce, etc. the thing disappeared.

    Also, I find it interesting that in some articles about minimalism, they tell you to avoid appliances like stand mixers , bread machines and crockpots, and, in other articles, they tell you to get them. Specifically, I read an article that said getting a Kitchen Aid stand mixer was a great move for one person, because, it meant they could get attachments for it, that took up far less room than other appliances that cluttered up the place, allowing them to get rid of their bread machine, food processor, other mixer, and pasta maker.

    For me, to own such things as a bread machine, ice cream maker, yogurt maker, pizza stone, would be adding to the enjoyment and simplicity of life, because, I am allergic to whey and I cannot afford the sort of ice cream, yogurt or kefir, sold at stores, that is made with coconut milk; or, the milk free/soy free pizzas and breads. I have to avoid having those pleasures, in my life, because, to have them, I would have to have the equipment to make them for myself.

    So, while I appreciate some points in the article very much, and, I do find it inspirational, I take it, as a whole, with a grain of salt. When people give advice, they give it from the perspective of what they know by what goes on directly in their lives or what they have heard from others, who are, mostly, people a lot like them. Anyone who doesn’t fit into that group must needs extrapolate what will work for them and consider the concept further to be able to fully apply it, in spirit, to their own life.

  4. Cherryl says

    I think if you spend more than $25 on your kitchen, you can’t be classified as a “minimalist”. Jest sayin…lol.

    Anyway, I get by without a refrigerator. I use a propane stovetop, one Greenlife frying pan, one stainless steel 4 quart pot with lid, one plastic cutting board, one large knife, one paring knife, 2 glass bowls with lids, two spoons, two forks, two sets of chopsticks, 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 mugs, and a French Press for coffee. I spent $50 for my kitchen setup, and am not thrilled about it. Most everything was purchased used at the thrift store, but I bought the Greenlife pan new. My diet is gluten free and vegan. I have a root cellar and reuse glass jars for food storage. I got tired of collecting appliances, and cooking, and cleaning, and all the hoo-hah that goes with getting and preparing lavish meals. So I retired and made a conscious decision to downshift my kitchen and my life.

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