Slideshow: Behind the Scenes in Max's Home Kitchen

Come On In
Come On In

Step inside and try to squint past the awful linoleum tiles and mismatched "marble" backsplashes. Also, meet my kitchen island. I cannot live without this kitchen island.

The Other View
The Other View

Most of the cabinets are this way, along with our pantry (a former closet, I think) off to the left.

Spices and Tea
Spices and Tea

I have something of a spice and tea problem; the left half of this cabinet is all mine. The bottom shelf is a heap of spices, the middle is all loose leaf tea, and the top is a mix of bulk products (Chinese dried tangerine peels!) and tea ware. I used to have an organization system for my spices, but there comes a point where you just give in to the chaos and let them all sprawl.

My Pantry Shelf
My Pantry Shelf

Pantry space is divided with my roommates, so here's my shelf: nuts, legumes, and grains, canned coconut milk and curry paste, chili and olive oils, molasses and honey, soy sauce, and most important of all: matzo meal, front and center.

Pantry Guardian
Pantry Guardian

I collect masks, and this guy is one of my favorites. He watches over the sugar.

More Storage
More Storage

Like any good New Yorker, I take advantage of vertical storage.

The Pans
The Pans

I'm a big believer in cast iron, and these skillets are my babies. The bottom two are Wagners, about 30 years old, and they're thinner and lighter than today's cast iron. The handles are extra-long and pretty comfortable to hold. (The second-smallest skillet is anodized aluminum and, thanks to its size, is dedicated to tortilla-cooking duty.)

The Heavy Lifters
The Heavy Lifters

And here are the beloved workhorses of my kitchen: a Griswold Dutch oven pushing on 90 years, a larger Dansk Kobenstyle pot, and a copper-clad stainless steel saucier that makes perfect custards, caramels, and sauces.

More Maskery
More Maskery

This mask had a buddy that perished in an untimely kitchen fire. He hasn't gotten over it.

The Hardware
The Hardware

I get a lot of questions about what kind of ice cream maker I use, so here it is: the DeLonghi GM6000. Except...it's slowly dying and takes over an hour to make a quart of ice cream, so now it's mostly collecting dust. The old school Waring blender and Cuisinart food processor, on the other hand, both inherited from my grandmother, are still going strong.

Down Below
Down Below

Grandma's Hobart mixer, which is heavy enough to anchor a ship, mostly lives down here next to some gallon-sized Cambro storage buckets, Costo aluminum foil and plastic wrap, my wok, and bulk dry goods.

Down Below
Down Below

And here's the messier side: container lids, sheet, hotel, and bread pans, silver platters my other ice cream maker, the toaster oven, rice cooker, and electric kettle. Oh, and my Benriner mandolin, which I love despite the scars it's given me.

The Bar
The Bar

My bar space is tight, but here's what's there: lots of gin (including Gin Mare, currently not available in the US but one of Spain's great craft gins), some sipping liqueurs like Unicum, home-infused ginger vodka, rye, cacao-infused rum, and some bitching calvados.