Can a picky eater overcome a lifelong aversion to "branching out"?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Quick Word about Minimalism

There is a big movement now towards minimalism in the kitchen.  Kitchens equipped with just a few, well crafted and versatile utensils.  Cooking with just a few, fresh, flavorful ingredients.  Minimalism!

I am the antithesis of minimalism.  Seriously.  It is not a joke.  People theorize that "hoarders" tend to have a certain personality type and that some sort of trauma is what kicks that personality type over the cliff into hoarding.  I am that personality type.  If I am going to do something new, I want to go at that task armed with a variety of objects that have been specifically designed to help me complete that task.  Cleaning products?  I don't want a general purpose cleaning product.  I want one for sinks, one for glass, one for kitchen counters, one for bathroom counters, one for the bathtub, one for the sink, one for the toilet, one for rugs, one for linoleum, one for tile........You get the picture.

When we were first stocking our kitchen, I took this approach.  I have three drawers of cooking utensils. A huge cupboard filled with pots and pans.  I have four different types of flour.  I have five different types of salt.  I have 13 different cup measures. get the picture.

Recently, the Husband and I have been working to get things under control (this change may or may not have been spurred by my three day Hoarders marathon....).  We are two people in our late 20's (me) and early 30's (him).  We have 2 dogs.  No kids.  At one point in time, we have more than filled a 3 1/2 bedroom house with stuff.  Excessive.  We cut back a huge amount.  The kitchen and the closets are our last frontiers.
I have plans!  I want to pare down our pots and pans collection (5 frying pans?  A rarely used wok?  7 pots of various sizes including a pasta pot and 2 stock pots?).  I want to get rid of all of our ludicrously specific knives (A fillet knife?  I don't eat fish at all, let alone bring home large cuts of fish that need to be filleted with a fillet knife!) and stick with just a few good quality chef's knives, a bread knife and a paring knife.  Basically, I want to cut down on the excess and instead have a kitchen stocked with a few, good quality items that I can use a variety of different ways.

In terms of ingredient use, (And trust me, those numbers I threw out before were not exaggerations....) I keep running into a roadblock.  I am still working on building my confidence and knowing ingredients well enough to be able to know what I can substitute when and how.  If a recipe calls for a mix of all-purpose flour and cake flour, do I really need both?  Why does it call for both?  Is there a way to get the same effect without adding to my ever-expanding collection of flour?  I don't know yet!!!  So part of this experiment in expanding food boundaries is to further expand my knowledge and understanding of food and ingredients and the versatility of foods.  By expanding in one area, I am hoping it can help me cut back in another!

So....that's all!!  Just a quick thought on how I want to move forward on my cooking/food journey.  Expanding horizons and shrinking kitchen cupboards.

I would also like to point out that this "quick word" was now turned into a 6 paragraph entry.....You see my problem here...


  1. So by pasta pot do you mean one of those large pots with the colander insert because if you do, I'll take that off your hands. My suggestion for you is to go all cast iron. Pretty much all of my pots and pans are and theyll last forever. Expensive yes but theyre pretty, better quality, better heat...etc...

  2. I agree with the cast iron piece!! I've been trying to use my cast iron pan for pretty much everything so I can get used to it. And we just got a cast iron dutch oven too.

  3. Yeah the only real thing that sucks about it is that its sooooo heavy. Kinda weird to get used to and makes pulling things in and out of the oven kind of a pain.

  4. Oh man... dude, I am so the opposite. We need to merge together. I am scared of clutter!!