Organization is Everything Everyone has their share of kitchen gadgets, and if you're anything like me, you have your absolute favorites. Because I live on a sailboat, the available space in my galley is probably as tiny as your smallest closet. If I'm not extremely organized, it'll be total chaos in a matter of days. Letting someone else in my galley other than my husband or son, can turn efficiency into disaster unless they know exactly how and where I like my favorite kitchen tools!
Kitchen Gadget Addiction Having a catering business and wholesale bakery for over 15 years didn't help my addiction to kitchen gadgets! I had everything anyone could ever imagine or desire! But, I had to learn to make do with less for the sake of sanity and to keep the boat from listing to one side. Some of those appliances were heavy! Before we moved into the boat, I had to make compromises and choose between my babies...I mean gadgets! YIKES! What were my favorites? They all were! How could I choose between 25 knives and 20 pots and pans? But my husband's answer was clear, "They won't all fit on the boat! You have to choose your favorites." Easier said than done I'm afraid.
No, Not the Kitchen Aid! It was harder to leave my Kitchen Aid mixer than it was to sell my 10 burner stove. I brought my cheesy Hamilton Beach 5-speed mixer with me. I burned the motor out in 4 months and threw it in the dumpster. The kids felt sorry for me and gave me a shiny new Cuisinart 9-speed heavy-duty hand mixer for Mother's Day. WOW, that mixer rocks! I haven't tried making dough with it yet, but it makes short work of Christmas cookie dough, whipped cream and mashed potatoes. I left my big food processor behind and traded it in for a mini chopper. Works just as good, just not as big. My blender was replaced with an immersion blender - fabulous for dockside cocktails!
Good Knives A good set of quality knives and sharpener is essential. I can't stress this enough. It's simply not acceptable for anyone to have to work with dull, flimsy knives. If you only have so much money in your kitchen budget, spend it on a few good knives! I cut back on the number of knives that I brought with us (I didn't need 25), but I do have two of each size, for each job. Chef, boning, utility, paring, bread, carving and a set of 8 steak knives round out my arsenal of sharp pointy things.
Stainless Steel Our first boat had a two burner stove (I have three burners now). The stove top wasn't big enough for huge soup pots. Now what? I picked through all my stock pans, sauté pans and baking pans and chose the best stainless and stoneware I could fit on the stove and in my limited cupboards. Two items I refused to do without was my stainless pressure cooker and a Microplane grater/zester. I love those things. I told my son when he gets married, I'm going to buy him a pressure cooker and show him how to use it. He laughed, I was serious!
Paring Down & Making Do The rest of my little gadgets fit into a neat Pampered Chef tool turn-about and a few drawers. We all want to simplify our lives and pare down. Start in your kitchen. You might be a newlywed with a small kitchen and budget to match, or a single person cooking for one. If a former caterer and baker can do with fewer gadgets, anyone can!
Here's a list of my favorite small kitchen...I mean galley gadgets and appliances:
* Heavy-duty hand mixer, Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid make the best! * Mini food processor or chopper * Good set of knives and sharpener * Immersion blender * Stainless pans with lids in 1, 2 & 3 quart sizes * Stainless stock or soup pot in 6-8 quart size * Stainless braising pan * Stainless pressure cooker 6-8 quart size * 1 small sauté or omelette pan * 1 large frying pan with cover * Cutting boards in various sizes * Microplane grater/zester in two sizes, coarse & fine * Stainless spatula for flipping eggs, burgers, and scraping out burned bits! * Stainless balloon whisks, large & small * Stainless pastry blender * Cookie scoops (aka ice cream or portion scoops), large & small * Rubber or silicone spatulas in various sizes * Dough divider or bench scraper * Meat thermometer * Kitchen shears * Offset spatulas, large & small * Pastry bags and decorating tips * Pastry brush * Soup ladle * Meat mallet
By now, you've probably guessed that I have a thing for stainless steel. I also have a thing for the color red. Just saying......