kitchen essentials

Moving into my latest apartment prompted me take stock of all of the crap I own. Well, all the friends I talked into helping me move (again!) forced me take stock. The groaning about carrying all of my books and weird furniture started weeks before the actual move date. The boxes marked "kitchen" and "books" far outnumbered the others so I paired down a bit. I ditched three full boxes of books, a bunch of old ugly pyrex and a few stock pots. Some take it really far, but I just wanted to unclutter. The trusty kitchen items I won't live without:

-5 1/2 quart Cobalt Le Creuset round dutch oven. I even take it with me when I cook at my friends' houses. My friend Andrea at Forkable has quite eloquently summed up the love affair cooks have with Le Creuset.

-My great great grandmother's colander. I clean veggies, drain pasta, and store fruit in it on the counter. Not simultaneously.

-My Mom's Mom's Settlement Cookbook: The Way to a Man's Heart. It is my culinary connection to a fiery petite woman I never got a chance to meet. Special thanks to my GM Adele for stowing it safely in her attic all those years.

-The teapot from my mom and dad's (early 70's) wedding. I still have the creamer and sugar bowl too. OK - I have most of the set and have been eating off of these blue and white flower dishes my whole life.

-Global 8" Chef's Knife. Kris signed us up for the Chopping Block's knife skills class last year. It was really helpful to try out a lot of high end knives in a kitchen setting before investing in one. Global knives are light (but not flimsy) and the handle fits well in my tiny hands.

-A super heavy cast iron grill pan/griddle. It is so heavy that it has taken up permanent residence on two of my burners. I can grill (well, create grill marks) year round.

-A tea kettle on the back burner. I drink way too much tea, effectively rendering a single burner available. It works only occasionally.

-Ikea stainless steel workstation. My last apartment had no counter space, so this filled in. It is especially nice for rolling out dough (notice all the flour?). I keep it in my dining room and use it as a bar when I'm not cooking.

-Salt Cellar, olive oil drizzler, cutting boards. The things I use most often are right on the counter. I picked up this glass dish in a Crate & Barrel clearance bin - saving myself $6 off the price of their real salt cellar. I've had this stupid pepper machine thing since my first apartment. At 18, I apparently decided that a hand exercise squeeze motion was a fun way to grind pepper. Someday I'll upgrade to the real thing.

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