Whether it’s your food or kitchen utensils that touch your food, here’s the one rule of thumb to go by when it comes to your happiness in the kitchen: High quality.
When you walk into your kitchen, what is the first thing you see?
For me, it’s my favorite red, enameled tea kettle. It’s a permanent fixture on my stove. It’s sturdy, made of stainless steel (not cheap aluminum), and the color pops.
I have just acquired a turquoise Le Creuset cocotte (Dutch oven), a gift that makes me smile every time I see it. And I haven’t even used it yet! The point is that you also want JOY out of your kitchen equipment.
The Long Game
Look at your kitchen equipment as a long-term investment in your home, health, and happiness. Whether you are getting married or upgrading your kitchen, only put the highest quality kitchen items on your registry or list.
Clean Up Your Act
If you are cooking every day, you might as well be cooking healthy foods in high quality, “clean” equipment that brings you joy. By “clean” I mean cast iron and stainless steel, terra cotta, porcelain, (lead-free) stoneware, glass. Not plastic.
Do you want to be eating scraps of Teflon from a pan that you will throw away in a year or two, or would you rather invest in a sturdy cast iron Dutch oven (pot with a lid) that will last a few lifetimes?
Get a Dutch oven that’s large (11” to 12”) for stocks and soups, roasts, stews. If you have space and the budget, get another one that is medium-sized (9” to 10”) for other roasts and stews.
Buy one medium-sized 10-inch stainless steel frying pan, then if you need more pans, buy a larger one or a smaller one, depending on your needs. (I use Demeyere pots and pans because they are professional quality, thick and sturdy, and a pleasure to use.) You’ll pass these timeless pieces as well as your timeless family recipes to the next generation.
Pick colors that you love. And while you’re at it, get some colorful oven mitts that fit your hand and high quality kitchen towels (Jacquard towels from France can last over a decade!) Stack the rainbow-colored kitchen towels or roll each one up and display in a large bowl or basket. It will make the simple act of using a kitchen towel pleasurable.
Bring Provence Home
Use wall space to hang your favorite image of your favorite place in the kitchen. Or else dedicate a spot on a counter or shelf for a vase of dried lavender or a lovely piece of pottery or antique that is eye pleasing. I display my favorite French olive wood cutting boards in a random window shelf we have off to the kitchen, and display an antique coffee grinder and Italian press on a little shelf in the kitchen next to my basket of French cotton and linen towels.
Speaking of countertops, free up surfaces by periodically winnowing down your collection of jar lids, empty jars, and hide equipment that you don’t use on a daily basis. Recipes, papers and notes can pile up, dedicate part of a drawer to these so the clutter is out of sight. (I should take my own advice on this one!)
Decluttering work space in the kitchen frees up your brain and will help you make room for the joy of cooking!
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