Talk to me about your very used, cook from scratch, minimalist kitchen - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As time goes on, I declutter more and more kitchen stuff that I used to think was absolutely necessary. Just yesterday, I let go of one of my 5 qt soup pots. Yes, I've used them both at the same time before, but for the most part, I've pulled one out because the other was dirty. But, it doesn't seem like it's enough to help me keep it all clean!

So, if you have a minimalist kitchen, but cook most everything from scratch regularly, what does it look like? How many appliances, dishes, etc do you have? How do you keep your fridge from being overrun by leftovers that become science experiments? How often do you do chores like cleaning the oven, fridge, washing the floor, etc?

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#2 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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Erm, well I have some wooden spoons, some metal ones, some spatula types and ladles. A roasting brush thing. Some sharp knives and cutlery. Electric mixer (one of those $5 ones, not a kitchen aid.) Two cutting boards (one for meat one for bread and veggies).

I have two big pots (although i could probably do with one), a large sauce pan and a small one, (although I used to have a medium sized one that was handy but my ex took that with him when he moved out). I have several bowls that I use all the time from mixing things to storing fruit to making tea in. A cookie sheet, a metal baking pan, and three ceramic baking dishes with glass lids. They're good for storage or cooking. I have a tea kettle too but could do without.

Appliances I must have and use all the time:

- Slow cooker
- Blender
- Bread machine

Appliances I like but don't use all the time:

- Ice cream maker
- Ricemaker (I can't make rice without it, oddly, but we don't eat too much rice)
- Popcorn popper
- Toaster oven (I'm thinking of rehoming this completely)
- Deep fryer (it sucks to clean out so I don't use it too often but every once in a while I will)

Ummm... towels, a sponge or 12, dishwashing stuff.

Cups, plates, etc. are a given. Enough to fit comfortably in my cupboard without crowding. The cups are jars, actually, and I have a few mismatched mugs for hot drinks and milk. I love all of them. Plates, I have eight dinner plates, eight small plates, eight soup bowls, eight little bowls. They're Corelle pieces so if one breaks you can just pick one more up (but they're really sturdy). I find that that's plenty without over-running the cupboard. We have about the same number of cutlery in each piece; we buy them mismatched at the thrift store so if we lose a spoon down the garbage disposal we can pick another one up when we go instead of having to buy a set.

How do you keep your fridge from being overrun by leftovers that become science experiments?

I'm still trying to figure out how not to let produce spoil in there but generally the key is to just buy enough stuff for the week. We don't make a lot for leftovers. Sometimes I'll make enough for two meals but then we'll eat it in consecutive meals instead of just letting it linger.

How often do you do chores like cleaning the oven, fridge, washing the floor, etc?

I can't remember the last time I cleaned the oven, the oven needs cleaning? lol It's not dirty in there, if it gets dirty for some reason I'll clean it, but generally it's not mucky at all. I don't use the oven that often, I usually use the slow cooker which is really easy to just wipe out. The fridge gets cleaned out about... well I clear the food out every week before garbage day, but I only give it a real clean-through if I notice it getting dirty. Once a month, or every two months maybe? Washing the floor - that's not something I'm good at. I sweep at least 3-4 times a day but washing, umm... not enough. We have a stone looking tile so you can't really tell it's dirty but if there's anything stuck to it I'll obviously wipe it up or any obvious spills, but floors are NOT my specialty anywhere in the house, least of all the kitchen. Oops.
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#3 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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I make 3 meals + snacks daily in our kitchen, big hot breakfast, small cold lunch, hot gourmet-ish dinner.

what does it look like?
Pot rack over the island holds a colander, ladle, heavy stainless small pot, large wide pot, and their lids. Under-oven drawer holds cast iron gridle, waffle iron, large and small pans. Knife holder block on the counter. Cabinets for glasses, mugs, plates and bowls, pantry cabinet, coffee cabinet shelf then above it is empty mason jars (canning or storage), one misc utensil drawer, one flatware drawer, dishtowel/potholder drawer, bags/wrap/foil drawer.

How many appliances, dishes, etc do you have?
Family of 2 kids 2 adults. Coffee maker, toaster, now a food processor. There is a crockpot and blender and dehydrator put away we take out on rare occasions. 4 of each dish (dinner plate, small plate, bowl), 6 big glasses, 4 little glasses, 4 plastic cups, 2 thermos mugs, 4 mugs. I have fancy china put away we use for the Christmas feast.

How do you keep your fridge from being overrun by leftovers that become science experiments?
Mostly cook enough for just the one dinner, if there is a serving of leftovers (DH is cutting down portions so sometimes happens now), eat it the next day for lunch. I don't eat leftovers more than 3 days out, so if I can't clearly remember what day it's from it goes. I meal plan carefully and only buy the perishable stuff I will use (keep a list of planned dinners posted). And if I catch something about to go bad, freeze it.

How often do you do chores like cleaning the oven, fridge, washing the floor, etc?
Ongoing, if I see a splatter on the floor I clean it with a rag, old food in the fridge I throw it out (more on trash day that otherwise). I clean the stovetop a couple times a week, I don't find I need to clean the inside of the oven much (but it has been summer and I haven't used it much).
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#4 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 01:06 PM
 
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I have been struggling with the refrigerator waste for awhile and I think I FINALLY came up with a solution. I just blogged about it here: http://stephbrownthinks.blogspot.com...waste-not.html

I took a cheap white board (something I was going to toss on a de-cluttering binge actually), put it by the fridge, and I write on it what produce and leftovers we have, then erase them as they're used. We've been doing it for awhile now and its really working. Our waste is waaaaaaay down.
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#5 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ltlmrs View Post
As time goes on, I declutter more and more kitchen stuff that I used to think was absolutely necessary. Just yesterday, I let go of one of my 5 qt soup pots. Yes, I've used them both at the same time before, but for the most part, I've pulled one out because the other was dirty. But, it doesn't seem like it's enough to help me keep it all clean!

So, if you have a minimalist kitchen, but cook most everything from scratch regularly, what does it look like? How many appliances, dishes, etc do you have? How do you keep your fridge from being overrun by leftovers that become science experiments? How often do you do chores like cleaning the oven, fridge, washing the floor, etc?

I spent some time this summer decluttering the entire home. I started with the kitchen. I am very happy with the results. Cooking is so much more pleasurable because I know the exact location of all of the equipment (and it can all be reached while standing at the stove). Clean up is so much easier because I can only get a limited number of things dirty during preparation. I look through leftovers daily and try to incorporate them into the weekly meal planning. We often have leftovers for lunch, as well. The stove and 'frig are quite new and only require a quick daily wipe down. The floors are swept daily and mopped weekly.

My minimalist kitchen has the following:

For cooking...
*Large enameled cast iron pot
*Medium stainless steel saucepan
*Large saute pan w/ lid
*Small saute pan

For baking...
*9" x 11" glass baking dish
*8" x 8" glass baking dish
*Glass pie plate
*Muffin tin

For preparation, etc. ...
*Large glass mixing bowl
*Small set of glass storage containers (used for mixing and baking, as well)
*Small set of Snapware for pantry storage
*2 cup glass measure
*Stainless steel colander, steamer basket & cheese grater
*Salad spinner
*2 bamboo cutting boards (small & large)
*Utensils
-knife set & peeler
-silicone spoonula & spatula
-stainless steel masher, whisk & tongs
-wooden spoon
-ladle
-can & bottle openers & corkscrew
-measuring cups & spoons
-ice cream scoop
-meat thermometer
-nut cracker
*Coffee maker & stovetop milk steamer
*Toaster
*Handheld mixer
*4 dishtowels
*2 oven mits

For serving...
Casual-
*Fiestaware, glassware & flatware for 6
*Recycled glass serving bowl & tray & butter dish
*Wooden tray
*6 cotton napkins
Formal-
*Spode china, Waterford crystal & silverware for 8

My sister has a slow cooker, blender and waffle iron that I can borrow, if desired.

I may get...
*cookie sheet
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produ...-cookie-sheets
*rolling pin

Libby blahblah.gif, momma to my precious little girl (6/29/07) 
                        and wonderful little man (12/1/10)

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#6 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 11:54 PM
 
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Cookie sheets: 3
Lots and lots of baking pans (like 9x9 square, round, 9x13, etc) bc when I bake I do it in huge batches
2 frying pans, 3 regular pans (small, medium, and soup)
1 regular sized drawer of whisks, spatulas, spoons (no more than 2 of any given utensil)
A cupboard of pyrex and canning jars to use for food storage

Appliances:
crock pot
blender
food processor
I have an immersion blender that I think I am going to sell bc we rarely use it
goerge foreman grill
we have a popcorn maker that we could easily get rid of but keep since we have the space

Thats about it I think. I have stuff like cookie cutters and cake decorating stuff but I keep it packed away since it is rarely used.

In terms of the fridge, if it has been a day or so and leftovers aren't getting eating I either pack them into a lunch for DH, or I freeze them in single portion sizes for lunches. I like an empty looking fridge. A packed fridge makes me feel anxious about how we will eat all the food before it goes bad.

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#7 of 17 Old 10-14-2010, 02:38 AM
 
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#8 of 17 Old 10-14-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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#9 of 17 Old 10-14-2010, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious, do you organized mamas do dishes by hand or in the dishwasher? Also, how often do you do the dishes?
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#10 of 17 Old 10-14-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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dishwasher!!!! we're remodeling our kitchen and had just a teeny sink for awhile and it was horrible. then we moved up to a big sink, but the dishwasher is one of those modern inventions that really rocks my world. much easier to keep the kitchen clean that way. I don't have too much of a problem with a dirty kitchen because of coking, but art projects and mail and other paper clutter makes its way in there too often.

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#11 of 17 Old 10-14-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltlmrs View Post
Just curious, do you organized mamas do dishes by hand or in the dishwasher? Also, how often do you do the dishes?
Dishware, glassware and flatware go into the dishwasher after each snack or meal. The dishwasher is run every 2-3 days. Cooking and baking implements are handwashed, as used.

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#12 of 17 Old 10-14-2010, 09:06 PM
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foremost, we are really anti-food waste here. food here in NZ is expensive, we are on a tight budget, and we are very mindful of how much we create. therefore, left overs are a bit of a sin. we do sometimes have them, but always eat them at the next meal.

we also have a very small fridge, as is customary here, and so this keeps us using fresh ingredients and also unable to store a lot of left overs.

we are currently a bit *too* minimal for my tastes--i miss my mandoline, as well as my food mill, my mortar and pestle, and my large stock pot. I could, in fact, use two, and often would (one to make soup, one to roast in the over so that one can avoid foil waste and also avoid splashy grease mess in the oven). there are a few other items i miss as well--some baking dishes and the like--but overall, we do ok with a glass pie plate and a metal pie plate, a muffin tin, two skillets and a sauce pot (not as large as a stock pot, and we can't roast in it so right now we do everything on the stovetop--and don't eat much meat anyway), one large mixing bowl, and the basics for utensils.

it might also be noted that we do not really have storage containers for left overs, beyond a few old yogurt containers that we are loathe to use.

we have 4 bowls, 4 salad plates, and 3 large plates. we have 4 drinking glasses and 3 mugs (for tea!). there are three of us. we have cutlery for 4. and 4 cloth napkins.

after each meal, i hand wash all of the dishes. in fact, i wash the cooking dishes as i go along, because sometimes i finish one thing (eg, finished the polenta and turned it out onto the cutting board to congeal, then it would be toasted/grilled in the oven) and then pot is cleaned to make sauce, or pudding or veg, or whatever else. if i'm finished with the pot, i clean it immediately, so that i have fewer to do at the end of dinner.

then, we eat, and i do the dishes right away. it takes less than 30 minutes to do dishes, wipe down the stove/grill/oven, and also the counter tops. i'll also sweep the floor and give it a quick "spot mop" in an area where there is a spill if needed.

once a week, i empty and scrub out the fridge, do a deep clean of the whole kitchen, and often clean and reorganize our pantry as well. that takes about an hour, all told, if that. it's pretty organized because i'm rather vigilant.
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#13 of 17 Old 10-15-2010, 10:21 AM
 
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**Family of 4:

Well, at one time after an international move, we had:
A fridge
A cooktop and oven
Toaster
A kettle
A drip coffee maker

4 large pasta bowls
4 mugs
6 drinking glasses
4 sets of chopsticks
1 set of knives
1 skillet
1 grill pan
1 pot
1 spatula
1 set of tongs
1 large spoon

That was a minimalist kitchen!! We coped fine for a couple of months, but I was happy to get our container of household goods. After a while, I added a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and immersion blender to our appliances. I really missed having a food processor - still do, we've never replaced it.

After another international move, we are now using a full set of dishes (8 place settings), 8 glasses, and full set of stainless steel cutlery for 8, along with about a dozen pairs of chopsticks. We've collected some mugs and bowls too along the way - they are like mushrooms in the cupboard, I think.

For pots and pans: 2 cast iron skillets (10 in. and 12 in.), 1 grill pan, 2 stainless skillets (8 in. and 12 in.) - I could probably get rid of these, I rarely use them, 12 in. stainless saute pan with straight sides (love it), 7 qt. Dutch oven, and 2 casserole dishes, along with assorted baking pans (2 cookie sheets, square and round cake pans, muffin pan etc.) I like baking so I have some specialty pans (madeleines etc.) - so I'm not too minimalist anymore, lol!

For food containers: 8 glass pyrex containers with plastic lids, in various sizes. A few plastic Tupperware pieces that I haven't disposed of yet.

For appliances: toaster, immersion blender, kettle, stovetop espresso maker, microwave (only because it came with the house) in addition to fridge and stove/oven.

I really miss having a slow cooker, a stand mixer and a food processor. Eventually, I'm sure I'll add those back in. We're short on space here though, so I may wait for the next house. I'm hoping it will have a bigger kitchen.

We don't have a dishwasher. I don't mind at all, but the kids do! I wash up after breakfast. I'll do another after I've prepped dinner and it's cooking. That's usually assorted dishes from afterschool snacking, knives and cutting boards and mixing bowls etc. from dinner prep. Then whoever hasn't cooked dinner does the evening wash up. That's usually the kids. They tackle the plates and cutlery etc. from dinner and any pots or pans that didn't get done in the pre-dinner wash up.

For fridge clean out, we have once a week curbside pick-up of compost matter, including kitchen waste. The night before, I look through the refrigerator and dump out anything that's been in there too long. So I rarely have "science projects" to worry about. Maybe once a month or so, I'll scrub out the drawers and shelves - sooner if it's needed, sometimes longer if it's a busy time.
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#14 of 17 Old 10-15-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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I try not to have things that only do one thing. I think Alton Brown is one of the food guru people that really espouses that idea. And it's stuck. With very few exceptions(I can think of one offhand).

We do have a lot of plates, cups, bowls, silverware, etc. But, often, we have nearly all of them dirty. We entertain often, and I don't like using disposable items. We also eat almost all meals at home(and if it's not eaten at home, it is more than likely prepared at home). I do have to run my dishwasher AT LEAST once a day. Yesterday I had to run it three times.

As far as cooking stuff....
Large soup pot and medium soup pot
Large, medium, and small saucepots
Large, medium, and small frying pans
One deep frying pan
Food processor
Cheap hand mixer
Cheap waffle iron
Cheap toaster
Two cookie sheets
Large, medium, and small cutting boards
Knife block and knives
Various and an sundry spoons and scrapers for mixing
Two spatulas
Colander
Metal skewers
Grilling utensils
Rice cooker(this was free, and we use it often)
Three mixing bowls(one which is really big for bread dough)
Rolling pin
Broiling pan
Large and small cake pans
Large and small casserole dishes
And various food storage containers

We have very little food waste because I freeze whatever leftovers won't be eaten right away to use later for DH to take to work for lunch. Produce is purchased weekly based on the week's meal plan, so we never over buy.
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#15 of 17 Old 10-15-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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This is just the post I was wanting to read when I fired up the generator to use the computer today. I need to know how to minimalize more so I'm not a slave to the dish sink. Sometime it feels like I'm standing there all day.
We have only an RV/bar sized propane fridge, I can only shop once a week because we live so far from town. NO freezer. The whole family is GF so I cook everything from scratch. I have a temporary kitchen that works surprisingly well in it's efficiency. Everything is is rubbermaid totes. One for baking, one for canned goods, one for pasta/cereals. One for containers.

Here is what I do:
I recycle immediately: yogurt conainers, glass bottles, cans etc. Sure I might need them for some craft in the far future, but I trust myself to come up with a solution at the time. No point in storing things you don't use.
I clean out the fridge once a week on shopping day. I have to. The fridge is too small.
Most condiments(ketchup, mustard) don't need to be refridgerated except for maple syrup. They just have to be kept dark. If you are storing them for long enough that they go bad, then throw it out and don't buy it again.
I use rags and cloth napkins, more laundry but less plastic crap/clutter/things to buy.
I have a hand/stick blender(which I use ALL the time) and a propane stove for appliances.
The produce stays in the garden until I need it. The eggs stay in the chickens until I need them.

Here's is what I'm thinking I need to change:
one drinking glass per family member, a different colour or pattern.
one plate, fork, knife, spoon etc. for each family member.
get rid of all but 5 condiments, ketchup hot sauce, mustard.

Here is what I am planning:
I already bought but not installed a commercial sink/counter with two 2ft by 2ft deep sinks and stainless counters on either side. LOVE it. I am planning on buying what are called hotel pan inserts. They are standardized so you can mix and match them. you can see them here http://www.world-cuisine.com/store/index.cfm/c248
You can cook in them, wash in them, they have ones that drain, they have standardized lids, they fit perfectly into the opening of my sink. They stack, they will be my cabinet shelving. I will have ones for compost, scraps for chickens etc.

That is my kitchen. Minimal but not minimal enough for me.
I don't do gadgets, besides a
whisk
can opener
vegetable peeler
I have only one kitchen knife, one bread knife.

I love this post and would like to hear about more of your kitchens, particularly how to cut down on doing dishes without a dishwasher.
-Pepperpot
Off the grid mom of two.
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#16 of 17 Old 10-15-2010, 07:54 PM
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i have two approaches: 1. having fewer dishes and 2. doing things "family style."

when we have breakfast (all three of us), we plate up the eggs on one plate. we plate up the salad or veggies in one bowl. we use our tea cups for tea, and we use one glass each if we have another beverage as well.

after breakfast, i have one plate, one bowl, and three forks to wash. i rinse the glasses because we use the mugs all day. i'll usually wash the glasses, unless i know it's going to be used all day.

when we have lunch, all three sandwiches go on one plate, and then we have veggies in a bowl. three forks for veggies.

the only thing that we don't eat in this way are things like soup. then we have our own bowls. but otherwise, we all eat off the same plate.

i think that for some people, this might be yucky, and when someone is sick, it's not a great idea, but otherwise, it keeps us using the least amount of dishes at a given meal.

it also incorporates my husband's bizarre practice of not mixing food. when we had lots of dishes, he would have one plate for meat, one bowl for veggies, one bowl for rice/whatever, one bowl for his fruit, and a plate for his bread or whatever else he had. once, i even caught him with a whole plate just for mustard to dip his meat into. weird-o!

so, this way, he can have his food separate--but we we all eat that way. that way, it's not 19 dishes for DH's dinner, plus my dish, plus DS's dish, plus cutlery, and so on.

now, it's just simple.

and yes, one glass to use all day is absoltuely great. personally, i've done this my whole life, so it being a revolutionary idea for someone seems funny. it hought everyone did it, and it was normal.
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#17 of 17 Old 10-18-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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I am very fussy about the kitchen because the entire family spends so much time in it. I love cooking and baking, so I have a well stocked working kitchen. I prepare all of our meals, bake bread, bake deserts and even make the dog's treats from scratch. We also have overnight guests and entertain on a regular basis. So we need a large set of dishware, glasses, etc. We don't use paper products so I have quite a few cloth napkins, towels, etc in the kitchen. I have quite a bit of cookware, bake ware, utensils, etc. but I use every piece of it. If it is not used it has be given away to someone who can use it. Everything has a proper home. I can't bring it into the house unless it is something that is useful and will have a proper home in the kitchen. My kitchen is functional and homey, and not filled with useless clutter and knick knacky stuff. I generally run my dishwasher every other day or so. Large items, pots, pans and bake ware get hand washed.

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