Becoming Minimalist (becomingminimalist.com), a site dedicated to paring down extraneous clutter (physical or emotional), recently shared a guest post written by John and Dana Shultz of the blog Minimalist Baker (minimalistbaker.com). They listed items that are often considered essential to a modern kitchen that they don’t think are necessary.
Here are my own thoughts regarding some of the gadgets on the list.
KitchenAid mixer: “Not owning this guy is pure heresy in the food blog world,” wrote the Shultzes, “but we survive just fine.” They have a “$13 handheld mixer.” I have two handheld mixers; together, they didn’t cost $13. I have vowed never to own a KitchenAid unless I’m someday working in a professional bakery and my preferred mixing method — with a wooden spoon — is then unrealistic.
Crockpot: “It’s big, it’s bulky,” say the Shultzes. “If you really need one, borrow it from a friend.” That friend would be me: I have four. I started with two of different sizes. Then the third was sent for marketing purposes and is used in football-related stories because of its Ohio State logo. Of course, this University of Michigan graduate then had to counter that with a maize ‘n’ blue one to balance the disruption in my universe.
Knife block: “These can be more bulky than necessary. Replacement: Keep our knives in the silverware drawer,” say the Shultzes. This is a sacrilege, unless you only have plastic knives from fast food joints. Kitchen knives are priceless tools that require proper care. A space-saving alternative would be a magnetic strip on the wall to hold the knives.
Excessive pots and pans: The basics will do nicely for most of us: skillets and saucepans of varying sizes and a good stock pot. I don’t think most people need a fish poacher, after all.
Plates, glasses, and bowls: The blog post claims no one needs more than eight of each of these. Now, I have to quibble with this one, as I’ve written in the past about my photo-op dish collection. Do I need the nearly 200 plates and bowls that I own? For photo shoots, yes. Could I use plain white plates and limit myself to only eight of them? Yes, again. Will I do that? Never.
Bread maker: “Bulky and likely eating up cabinet space,” say the Shultzes. Mixing and, especially, kneading bread dough is one of the great pleasures in life. It’s a stress reducer and bicep builder all in one. Good bread deserves more respect than to be made in a machine.
Grilled cheese maker, quesadilla maker, and panini press: This is why God gave us frying pans.
Rice maker: Use a saucepan.
Doughnut pan: If you want a doughnut, get your fix from Haas Bakery, Wixey Bakery, Cafe Donut, Brieschke’s Bakery, Mama C’s, Bakery Unlimited, Strachn Bakery, Holey Toledough, or any of the other amazing doughnut shops in town. Support a small local business instead of cluttering up your kitchen.
Egg scrambler: Otherwise known as a fork.
I would have added food processors, pressure cookers, cupcake bakers, zoodle makers, a garlic press, and electric can openers to the list of unnecessary items.
Of course, this evaluation of kitchen equipment is a study in need vs. want.
And each of us has different needs.
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