Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. I think it’s fitting that this year it coincides with the beginning of a very exciting opportunity for me. As you know, about a month and a half ago I moved from a pretty spacious one bedroom to a tiny studio with barely any kitchen. Before the move, I pared down my kitchenware considerably, putting some of the less essential things in storage.
|The kitchen I worked with all of August|
|My essential pantry items!|
Now, I’ve lived in dorms and apartments with fully functioning kitchens for the last 6 years, and as you might know by now, I very much enjoy cooking food. So you better believe that I’ll be using the communal kitchen regularly, though I also rigged up a small personal kitchen space in my room for daily use. All this means that my kitchen supplies have to be 1) extremely portable and 2) significantly reduced. So I came up with a list of my absolute kitchen essentials:
|My new digs!|
Knives: Good quality knives make life easier. However, since this is a temporary set up for me, I brought my B-list knives (and will slowly go crazy over the next year using them). Either way, there are only 3 knives that you really need; a paring knife (though if you’re desperate, you could skip this one), a serrated knife, and a chef’s knife (the bigger and the heavier the better, in my opinion, and definitely the most important of the three). Ditch the huge set and just take these.
Cutting Board: I only need one. I love my wood cutting board, which just happens to be small and portable. If I ate meat or fish, I would add a similarly sized plastic cutting board as well. But I don’t, so only the one is necessary.
Pots and Pans: Because I am in a dorm, with limited storage, cooking for one, this list is different than what I would consider essential in a permanent kitchen. I brought with me a small, non-stick pan, and a 4 quart saucepan with a lid. That’s it. I would LOVE to have brought my 10 inch cast iron skillet, which I use ALL THE TIME, but it’s heavy and not particularly portable, so into a box it went along with all my larger scale pots and pans.
Baking: I rarely bake. At most, I roast vegetables in the oven. Since I have a toaster oven anyway, I figured I would keep my baking supplies to things that fit in there. So, I have a square cake pan, the roasting tray that came with the toaster, and tons of tinfoil. That’s it!
Utensils: One wooden spoon, one silicon spatula, and one set of tongs are all I need to accomplish what I want. Oh, and my large strainer, which I can use to drain beans, pasta, or cold brewed coffee.
Appliances: I happen to have a Cuisinart immersion blender with several attachments that cover most of my bases. I’ll be bringing all of those with me, minus the whisk. I also have my aforementioned toaster oven, an electric tea kettle, and a mini fridge. When it gets colder out I’ll probably bring my crockpot back from my parents’ house (but it’s not necessary yet). I might change my mind and bring in my personal blender later, but for now this is all I’ve got.
Eating: I’m bringing plates, bowls, and silverware for 2. I use mason jars as food storage and decided that they can totally double as drinking glasses. Again, I’ll be living in a dorm room, so space for both storage and guests is limited. But this way I can handle having a friend over or a weekend guest. If for some reason I am feeding more people than that, I can always grab paper plates and plastic cups and silverware from any store.
Misc: Can opener, vegetable peeler, scissors, and measuring cups and spoons are all on my must-have list. Also on that list are mixing bowls (minus the largest two of my set) and food storage containers, which for me is the aforementioned jars and also my handy glass tupperware.
That’s it! And, with the exception of the appliances, it all fits rather nicely on this little rolling cart for maximum portability. I plan to take the whole thing, roll it down the hall, cook up a storm, clean up, and roll it back to my room at least once a week. Needless to say, it will be very interesting to see how this next year of tiny living (and blogging!) goes.