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
Most of the cabinets are this way, along with our pantry (a former closet, I think) off to the left.
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.
Spices, Part 2
Lesser-used spices like Ethiopian berbere, Chinese dried soy beans, and seven spice powder live here, along with mixing bowls, measuring cups, and tupperware for storage. Yes, I know that dipping shelf isn't good, but it holds strong, promise.
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.
I collect masks, and this guy is one of my favorites. He watches over the sugar.
Like any good New Yorker, I take advantage of vertical storage.
Kenji calls this "the most dangerous knife rack ever," which might be true in theory, but in practice, the plastic hooks that keep my knife strip in place are surprisingly sturdy. The wall it's mounted on is concrete, so I can't drill in more than a quarter inch—thus the hooks.
As for the actual blades, there's a sharp, heavy German knife that belonged to my grandmother, but my go-to knife is second from the left: a $10 Kiwi made in Thailand. I like the shape, it's feather-light, and the thin blade can get very, very sharp. After about two years, they wear out, so it's a good thing they're cheap.
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
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.
This mask had a buddy that perished in an untimely kitchen fire. He hasn't gotten over it.
Junk Cool Stuff
Here's an assortment of more odds and ends I've accrued over the years: a goat's hoof converted into a flash; a copper ibrik for Turkish coffee; Georgian drinking horns, for those Beowulf parties; a ceramic salt cellar from India; a Hakka Chinese mortar for making pestle tea; and an antique Russian tea tin.
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.
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.
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.
More Serving Pieces
I have a big collection of serving platters, and I have a thing for silver, so this giant wooden board with silver fish head and tail is one of my new favorite things.
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.