We are all into getting rid of clutter these days. There is even a fancy name for it, minimalizing. The kitchen, unfortunately, is one place where we seem to have great difficulty paring down. It is great to keep an old Dutch oven from your grandma but not so good to hang onto those old non-stick scratched up frying pans. These can be bad for you, BTW.
What do we really need to keep? Any home chef needs these basics.
- Start with a good set of knives.
- Three pots of varying sizes from stockpot to a 2-quart saucepan.
- Two frying pans, 9-inch non-stick omelet, and 12-inch.
- Make sure you enough plates and silverware to serve eight people.
- Baking? 13X9 and 8X8 baking pans will get you through most anything.
Goodwill and Salvation Army can use any gently used appliances and other kitchen tools. Any young relative moving into their first apartment can use these items too. Give away your duplicates, after all, how many measuring spoons and cups do you need? Two sets will do, one dry and one liquid.
When is the last time you used that pasta machine and waffle maker? Goodbye! Currently, I know I have at least three or four travel mugs I never use. The same goes for too many souvenir cups. How about specialty baking pans, cake pops anyone? You get the idea. It is like your closet. If you have not used a kitchen item, no matter what it is, in a year, it must go.
Unfortunately, we also keep many things that are simply past their usefulness. Ratty oven mitts that burn your hands and threadbare and stained kitchen towels need to be tossed. Those all-metal tongs are a burn waiting to happen. Get rid of all those scarred plastic containers. I use disposable ones now. Toss them or wash and reuse; it does not matter! Stained and chipped coffee mugs? Gone! Look through your spice cabinet. Anything older than 6 months is past its prime and not at top flavor. You will be surprised at how good fresh spices taste.
Go through your pantries and cabinets, all the way back and to the highest shelf. Be merciless, donate what you can, and toss the rest. You will love the minimalist life!
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH AND DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO