The whole shebang
Fact: it is not usually this clean.
The crown jewel of my (obviously stunning) home kitchen is this Wüsthof knife kit, which I acquired in culinary school. My somewhat precarious—read: not properly mounted—magnetic strip still holds my set of Victorinox knives; until I invest in a better storage solution, these guys still live in my knife roll.
Yeah, it's kinda dirty in there. That's how we do.
All the staples
By which I mean four open boxes of sugar, matzo ball mix (the only truly essential item in my pantry), couscous, some sweetened condensed milk, a super old tin of Crisco (should that be in the fridge?!), some tea, and a whole lot of pasta.
Below, we have the spices, hot sauces, oils, vinegars, and no fewer than six varieties of honey. Which is strange, because I almost never use honey.
Inside le fridge
First, a caveat: I live across the street from the supermarket, meaning that (a) I don't need to make big shopping trips and (b) what I'm about to describe is probably less depressing than it sounds. Which brings me to a confession: I cropped out the top and bottom of my fridge, which currently houses some eggs and a box of shriveled grape tomatoes (top), along with a bag of shriveled scallions, a head of fennel, and one beet (crisper drawers).
But let's move along; I'd far rather focus on the less creepy stuff! Like the two jars of pickles I made four months ago and then slowly pushed farther and farther toward the back of the shelf. Because I can. And also because I'm afraid of opening them and smelling the smells of expired homemade pickles.
In plain view, you'll spot the dozen different whole grains I've been experimenting with for an upcoming post. Also, a container of overcooked lentils and a couple of jars of rose petal-infused simple syrup that I used in some floral cocktails last week. (Does anyone else always make way too much simple syrup for all their floral cocktails?!?)
Finally, below, a carton of milk and a carton of nut milk: indicators that my roommate is in the throes of a milk affiliation crisis. And, because we organize our fridge very logically, some raspberries, some nuts, some beer, some gin, and some vegetable stock. Yup. Me is food writer.
Inside the freezer
My freezer is very empty, thanks to a showing-my-kitchen-to-the-public-induced-clean-up. But no matter how packed, you'll nearly always find a pint of Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, my roommate's seemingly inexhaustible supply of frozen French fries, and my lingering incredulity over said fries.
A few of my favorite things
Let's play deserted island! Only in this version, the island has a stove and lots of food to cook with. Here's what I'd bring:
- Two cast iron pans, one 10" and one 4" (the latter, because it's adorable and therefore the most likely candidate for a personified inanimate companion. Panny, is that you?)
- An olive wood mortar and pestle. Because it makes big things small, and I like small things. Also, it's pretty.
- Sturdy tongs, excellent for handling meat and/or scratching hard-to-reach areas. Hey—it's a deserted island, okay?
- A petite enamel baking dish, perfect for one.
- My trusty vintage Copco Dutch oven, passed down to me from my grandmother and appropriately stained with decades-worth of meaty braises.
- An OXO mandoline, for slicing things super-thin. I like super-thin almost as much as I like small.
- The best and only jar opener you'll ever need. Since, you know, deserted islands are usually well-stocked with firmly sealed jars.
- A totally badass Vollrath 52010 10" high-heat spatula—this guy can handle up to 500°F heat. 'Nuf said.
The everything drawer
Erm, remember that thing I said about hoarding earlier? Yeah...there's more. A whole drawer of more. Some of which I love and treasure (hand blender, microplane, mandoline, garlic press), and some of which are, shall we say, less useful (crappy knife sharpener, various peelers, a mezzaluna and a special pair of scissors engineered specifically for chopping salads, and so on).
Three things I like to put on other things. From left to right, we have: spicy-sweet, spicy-smoky, and tangy-sweet.
Accumulating a lot of cookbooks kind of goes with the job, but no matter how vast my collection grows, these are the ones I tend to crack most often (excepting my copy of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, which lives on my desk at the office), whether for reference or nostalgia. Namely, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The New Making of a Cook, Modernist Cuisine at Home, Larousse Gastronomique, and The Professional Chef.
I pulled out all the bottles that were hiding on that shelf. We've got a single-malt Scotch, two more bottles of gin, some Grand Marnier, St. Germain, a touch of mezcal, an ancient bottle of Amaretto, and rum. Long Island iced tea, anyone?