Just saw a great Mark Bittman video and read the accompanying article on NYTimes.com about equipping an entire kitchen for $200-300. Although I am as guilty of lusting over ridiculously expensive kitchen equipment as the next foodblogger, living here in Sicily has really made me step back and think about what is actually “essential” in a kitchen. In a country where electricity is expensive and limited, I quickly learned that packing away my stand mixer, food processor and blender not only freed up counter space, but didn’t really put many limitations on what was coming out of my kitchen. We lived in an Italian villa for two years and rather than use a transformer to get my U.S. 110v appliances to work in my Italian 220v kitchen, I really did pack them all away. I purchased a 220v Braun hand mixer that had some useful attachments and an inexpensive food mill. I learned to love my knives, I rediscovered the joy of kneading bread by hand, and I realized that the pleasures of cooking really have nothing to do with the price or quantity of your kitchen equipment.
Ok, now I have to admit something. We are currently living in military housing and our place is equipped with European and American electrical outlets. After our move, my appliances came out of storage and I do use them from time to time. But, my perspective on what is truly essential in a kitchen has definitely been altered and with our next move, I really plan on downsizing my kitchen quite a bit.
Check out the video and article by Mark Bittman while they are still available at the New York Times site and if you have never shopped in a restaurant supply store for your home kitchen, check out your local yellow pages and go find one!