Today’s post comes to us courtesy of our friend Sarah Barthelow, who writes a lovely blog about everyday, seasonal eating called Little House Pantry. We asked for a peek inside the kitchen of said little house, and she obliged!
A good fry pan
If you only have one pan, it should probably be this one: the All-Clad stainless steel 12″ fry pan. Nonstick can be useful. Cast iron is great. But this pan can pretty much do it all. I use it for stir-fry, to make small-batch jams, or to sauté eggplant to mix with soba noodles.
A set of mixing bowls
Every baker needs a good set of mixing bowls. Some like the stainless steel variety, but I prefer these vintage nesting Pyrex bowls. I think I found them on eBay years back, but they also pop up pretty regularly at Goodwill and garage sales. I use them for mixing a batch of muffins, serving a salad, or storing leftovers.
A stocked pantry
I call this kitchen item “food in jars.” Okay technically it’s more than just one item, but it’s an important element of my kitchen. Keeping a fully stocked pantry of bulk food stored in air-tight jars is the number one key to successful cooking for me. I can add some sunflower seeds to a salad on a whim or make a batch of popcorn to eat in front of the “Top Chef” premiere.
When my father showed up to my apartment in Telluride, Colorado for Christmas a few years back with a giant box, I thought, “Yes! My parents bought me those Frye boots I’ve been coveting!” Wrong. Inside were twelve carefully wrapped, individually nested, hard-pink-packing-foam-protected-so-they-wont-break-even-if-dropped-from-the-plane’s-cargo-hold drinking glasses. Handblown by glass artists on the island where I grew up, these beautiful vessels are almost too pretty to drink out of. Almost. The maker, Lark, will tell you that his vision is for people to enjoy using his glasses every day. Ok, fine. I’ll oblige. I use these as wine glasses and have them all out on display on an open shelf to add some local color to my kitchen.
Copper cookware from France
These copper pots are the pièce de résistance of my kitchen. While in France browsing a small-town vide grenier (literally “empty attic” but perhaps better translated as “yard sale”), I came across these beauties. “How much?” I asked the woman knitting in the back of her Westfalia-esque van. “Quinze euros,” she replied. “Pour les cinq?” I asked incredulously. “Yes, for all 5.” Nevermind that my suitcase was bursting at the seams with the six bottles of wine I had purchased while visiting one (well, several) Burgundy wineries the day before; I would make room. A hasty deal and a new duffle bag later, I was trudging through Charles de Gaulle airport with the best 15 euros I’d ever spent carefully nestled inside my suitcase. These pots look beautiful hanging on the wall, and also serve just about any kind of stovetop need: pasta, popcorn, poached pears, you name it!
My Dutch oven
And, because I’m only human, my Le Creuset 5-1/2-quart Dutch oven makes the list. It’s perfect for soups, curries, roasting a whole chicken (if you’re into meat — I’m not really, but I hear a whole bird fits nicely). Maybe my dear, non-egg-laying, not-long-for-this-world, Ameraucana “June” will get to try it out soon. There are lots of off-brand versions of this beautiful pot out there, and I have no doubt that many of them work quite well. But I’m a kitchen purist, and I love this pot more than is perhaps healthy. Add it to your Christmas/Hanukkah/birthday wishlist. It’s pricey. And it’s totally worth it.
Thanks for the tour, Sarah!
Now if you’re looking for your own mixing bowls, food-storage jars, pretty drinkware or copper cookware, we’re happy to help! Though sadly, we just can’t beat the deal Sarah found on those French copper pans. Lucky duck!
What are your most prized kitchen treasures? Let us know in the comments!