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March 6, 2014

What's in your kitchen? (A reader poll.)

DOWNSIZING. My friends are all doing it, and it's a frequently-used word in my house these days. After years and years of acquiring, I'm ready to live with less stuff. Last April I had a big porch sale of cookware and kitchen equipment, and I'm planning another sale this Spring (local readers, take note!). It was a lot of fun, and now I'm ready to downsize even more.

To get ready for the sale, I've been giving everything in my kitchen the once-over. Do I need it? Do I want it? Have I used it at all in the past year?

It's hard to let go, isn't it? So I'd love your help.

Please take this very short poll. Tell me what tools you have and use in your own kitchen.

After you "vote", you can see the results. All completely anonymous, of course.

Oh, and don't be embarrassed if you have all of the kitchen tools in this poll. I do, and I have multiples of most of them.

Comments

I don't have a waffle make or panini press and doubt I will ever get them Other than that I have multiples of so many of these tools. Interesting to see which are most popular.

After numerous blackouts & earthquakes in my early years in Greece, I built my kitchen around non-electricals. Gas hob & a small gas canister with a mini-hob for greek coffee hold pride of place. Plus a parafin lamp, and a camping lamp for emergencies are ever ready.

Important non-electricals are my mortar & pestle, cutting boards & knives, seives & huge tubs for garden produce. Also airing racks for drying herbs & fruit.

I am a keen cook and gardener, producing not only meals but around 600 jars of jams, fruit & veg preserves, pickles and tomato pastes & preserves per year, plus olive oil and olives from our trees. I feed a family of 8 daily.

My baterie de cuisine is the classic series of steel pots assembled hodge-podge, baking dishes ditto, and a few professional pans ditto. My small collection of well-sharpened knives are probably the key to the whole kitchen - of which 2 are carbon steel.

The only exception to the non-electric rule was a Philips mini-blender, though now a blender stick more or less does the same.

A 17€ Made in Turkey electric mixer was added several years later. I confess I probably wouldn't bother making anything whipped if I didn't have this.

And a japanese rice cooker 15 years ago.

A micro-wave was added when my 3rd son was born.

Since then a crock-pot, food-processor and panini-press arrived as presents. I found the Cuisinart Food processer to be a 100% pain in the a** - it took more time to assemble & clean and gave me nothing that I couldn't do before, and more quickly, so I gave it away. I'm considering the same for the crockpot. My son wants the panini press for university....

If I had to go back to one electric essential the mini-blender would be it, followed by the electric mixer. The mixer is more treasured but I use it only 4-5 times a year.

The micro-wave has added short cuts to the kitchen, ditto the rice-maker so as long as I have electricity they stay!

My rule, only occasionally broken, is "no unitaskers" or at least "as few unitaskers as possible". So I try not to buy anything that only has one possible use (bacon stand anyone?). Some exceptions of course but not many. And no doubles of ANYTHING except slow cooker.

MY CAST IRONS DO MOST BAKING--AND LIKE OTHERS, A TOOL HAS TO HAVE A DOZEN PURPOSES. MY NEIGHBORS SWEAR BY THEIR BREAD MAKERS --THE OLD FASHIONED WAY IS THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE BREAD! I HAVE TRIED AND RETURNED AT LEAST 4. MY GRANDMOTHER WOULD BE BE S PROUD!

Kalyn, it's fascinating to me, too. And so helpful as I think about what I really use most often.

Eleni, such a thoughtful way to build your kitchen. I should have added rice cooker to the list, because I'm pretty attached to mine (and I've never made great rice in a pot -- just something I'm not very good at).

Robin, same here. Everything needs to do more than one task, or else it had better be something I use every single day. So a waffle maker will definitely go.

Pat, I've never used a bread machine! I love the kneading of the loaf, and the aroma of bread baking in the oven.

Downsizing? I'm trying but suddenly new things are coming in (which I bought, I'm afraid). With our household approaching 50 years since we married, I have replaced a few things, added larger stock pots (while in house family has gone from 6 to 2, there are 10 grandchildren). I dread the day when we will have to face giving most of it up!
Not on your list, the knives and cutting boards; cast iron and enameled cast iron pans, heavy pots; all those useful and heavily used tools from wooden spoons to a (new) Joseph multitasking spatula/spoon/cutter/drainer...
And, I love the wok and the waffle iron, but don't need them or use them as much as some others. Thanks for making us give this some thought.
And Eleni, thanks for the insights.

Susan, I'm really thinking about the things that take up so much space in the kitchen or cupboard, yet seldom get used. I have a restaurant-supply frying pan I use in place of the woks now, and I can probably live with one favorite stock pot. The rice cooker isn't up for discussion! And of course the knives. So much stuff....

I love my panini press -- it's not electric but I use it for more than pressing sandwiches. It's great for grilling veggies & meat. Cool survey -- I added my trusty cast iron skillet which I honestly could not live without. I use it for so many different things. It's older than I am!

A combination roaster/slow-cooker and my immersion blender are the two things you'll have to pry out of my cold dead fingers. :)

Other than that, I love and use my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, my cast iron skillets, and my toaster oven almost daily.

At the end of the day the one thing I could never do without is a good set of knives.

Husband had us buy a waffle maker then used it twice. We do, on the other hand, use our crepe pan often. Never had either a stand mixer or a crock pot/slow cooker though pressure cookers are super popular here in France. My MIL had one and we are already on our second in 26 years and love it.

Kelly, I'm on the fence about the panini press, as we also use ours for waffles. Cast iron pan, definitiely!

Kara, I have the Ninja combination cooker, and that can replace so many of the other appliances. The immersion blender will have to stay; I can't live without it. Well, I don't think I can....

Neil, truth!

Jamie, I've never owned a crepe pan. And I'm so new to the pressure cooker that I wouldn't want to give it up before I've really learned how to use it. That's my problem, of course. I wouldn't want to give up anything, and yet, I could do without most of the kitchen things I own.

I could not live without my KitchenAid mixer and I've become very fond of my new VitaMix. The two waffle irons could (should!) be reduced to one and I really don't need the cactus shaped chip and salsa dip bowl. I rarely use the pressure cooker and should probably let that go but the crepe pan does double duty as a small frying pan for eggs and omlettes so I think that's a keeper. We had recently discussed the reduction of stuff in our kitchen. Maybe spring cleaning should involve a big kitchen declutter. Thanks for the reminder!

Debbie, I did go through the first purging last Spring, and I was so proud of myself. Until I looked around recently and realized that downsizing to 4 slow cookers isn't really making the hard decisions! Glad to know I'm not the only one going through this.

My toaster oven rules. :) Cooking for one, it's much easier to bake/broil chicken & fish (even steak tips) in the toaster oven than it is to fire up the proper oven...

John, I no longer own a toaster oven, but I know many people love them, so thanks for adding that to the list.

I can't believe I forgot to add our toaster oven! We would be lost without it - we're roasting chicken on root vegetables (in one of the cast-iron frying pans) right now.

Even though I checked off that we have and love our waffle maker, I feel compelled to add that it is a stovetop cast-iron waffle maker from around 1920. We LOVE our cast iron pans and griddle. We'll never buy a "no-stick" frying pan again. Cast iron is the ultimate no-stick surface.

I read this poll and was nodding my head - where is the coffee machine???...
I like to have gadgets in the kitchen. However, I don't have the space for them. I don't have the time or the patience to clean them and store them. My kitchen is smaller than Dr Who's telephone booth. We bought an old house with a big land and whoever was living there was quite happy to have a kitchen big enough to fit a microwave oven where the fast food can get re-heated.
When I got the bread-making passion, I was dreaming of KitchenAid mixer. Then soon after I discovered Zoe's book Artisan Bread (and after baking loads of bread) that I really didn't need any state-of-art mixers and other devices. I only needed patience for the bread to develop.
One think for sure - I have next to my sink a big sharpening stone and make sure my husband has all my knives sharpened.
I read your comments, my dear friends, and I wonder do I desire all the wonderful things you have. I guess I will enjoy them in the beginning, but eventually I will discover that I can do without them and they are in my way.
PS: I am a passionate and skilled cook and have learned to do cook with little available.
So, to summarise - joy in the kitchen is like sex! Toys bring excitement, but at the end it comes down passion and skills ;) hehehe

Elizabeth, toaster ovens seem to be popular! I don't have one, believe it or not.

Sophia, the coffee machine would never, ever be left behind! As for all of the gadgets, of course we don't need them. Good knives, and good skills -- the rest is just for fun.

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