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Stuff I Don’t Need

March 29, 2011

This weekend, we moved into lovely new apartment in Berkeley. Of course, the main criteria for me in apartment-hunting was the kitchen: its counter space, its storage capacity and its appliances.

Just for reference, here’s my last kitchen in Oxford:

That is not a fridge for grown-ups. On American college campuses, that is an appliance commonly known as a “beer fridge.” It is for beverages and individually-sized frozen pizzas. (Full-size pizzas don’t actually fit.)

On the opposite end of the apartment-kitchen-spectrum: behold!

See all of that paperwork on the counter? Somewhere in there is the lease, which I was ready to sign the moment I saw all of that cupboard space.

Like any kitchen, it has its quirks. (I’ve yet to meet a cook who has no complaints about his or her kitchen.) But it has been a delight unpacking all of my old tools and finding each one its proper place.

Having been away from my stuff for so many months, I’m also realizing how much of it I can do without. I did have to equip my kitchen in the UK, but given our short stay and tiny budget, I had to make the most of a few simple tools. Here are just a few of the items I didn’t have and didn’t need.

First, I don’t need so many mixing bowls. I had one mixing bowl in Oxford. When I needed another one, I used my wok or a baking pan.

This is actually a fun tool: it measures how much spaghetti you need for a certain number of people. However, given that pasta servings vary wildly from person to person, guessing works just as well.

Any knife does the same job as this rolling cutter, minus the perfect zig-zag edge.

You can juice a lemon or lime with your bare hands, or use this.

This might be a surprise, since ladles are a pretty basic kitchen implement, but a mug or a drinking glass will scoop soup just fine.

And finally, this spoon-rest illustrates why I’m keeping all of my superfluous implements.

Yes, a plate will do precisely the same job, but this is prettier. More importantly, it reminds me of picking it out the summer I got married, it reminds me of the spoon-rests my mom and grandmother had, and it reminds me that I spend enough time with a messy spoon in my hand to care about where I put it.

I guess this means I’m keeping it.

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