So, I love Becoming Minimalist - the blog. There is soooo much good information there. And usually, I want to forward almost everything to everyone. But today, today is different. Today I'm going to argue with a hugely misguided post.
So first of all, this is a guest post from the folks at Minimalist Baker and while they have some delicious recipes and I love the intent behind the post, I think they missed something really, really important.
Let me follow their post and explain.
***Quick disclaimer - this is just my opinion people. If you think a Kitchen Aid is the devil incarnate then you'd probably not want one.
1) Kitchen Aid - a great place to start since, ahem, I have not one but two. But wait! There's a story (isn't there always?). I started buying whole grains about five or six years ago and no matter how much you might want it to not be the case, it turns out you can't mill grain with many things other than a grain mill.
We started off with a manual mill from Lehman's (but got it cheap on EBay).
And it's a great mill, I have no complaints. At the same time, let me do the math for you - a primary grader, two working parents (one full time) and trying to make everything from scratch. Spending a half day to mill grain for the next couple is um... not an efficient use of time. Not.Even.A.Bit.
So, I started searching for other options. I found a white KA that could handle a grain mill. Well, it sort of did. It went back a couple of times under warranty but largely, it made the difference between healthy, fresh milled heritage grains and not.
Oh, the second KA. So the one I used for milling kept having problems - the plate that held the beaters in place would fall out. The Reluctant Goatherd got brilliant at fixing it but then a friend of mine was selling all of her stuff to literally move to the other side of the world. In amongst the items she needed to sell - a slightly less beefy KA. So now I have a cookie baking etc KA and a grain mill for around the price of a great grain mill. And, unlike when I was using my hand mixer, I can be creaming butter for cookies while I throw things in the oven and all of those other things I end up having to do that require hands.
Probably few people need two KAs but there you go.
2) A crock pot. Working mum who likes homemade food. Used regularly. And who is paranoid to leave the oven on (but somehow a crock pot is ok, I do see the illogic there). Also - heating up the whole house with the oven could be a good thing or a bad thing. Contrary to my original position, I'm reconsidering this one. Oh - except in winter. Never mind. I love having a cauldron of hot apple cider and one of mulled wine when we have guests and often don't have enough burners as it is.
3) Knife block. Handy where and when I need it. Small chance of cutting my hands grabbing it out of the drawer.
4) 3 Pots and 3 pans. I'm not too far off. Bwahahahahaha who am I kidding? I have two stock pots for canning season alone. I do only have three pans; a large stainless one, a medium cast iron, and a small cast iron.
Pots, well, as I said, two stock pots - both get used in canning season. A soup pot. A medium pot and a small one. Oh and two dutch ovens. Yep, they all get used. Sometimes I have many going at once. I find cooking anything acidic in cast iron - like tomato sauce - gets a tinny sort of thing going on. I can't high temp bread in my soup pot nor do I like to make soups in the dutch ovens. Could I have fewer? Maybe. I tried getting rid of a bunch and in frustration have re-bought them. So probably not.
Consider this - in one evening I had bread going in the oven, a chicken in the big dutch oven thawing (in the fridge), pasta in the soup pot, sauce in the big pan, veg in the medium pan with steamer (though now that I have some drop in steamers for the big pot, it might simplify things). Anyway, the point is, I bake and cook a tonne and if you do too, pare down carefully lest you end up like me, re-buying.
5) More than eight plates etc. I've got them beat there. We're a family of three and we have three in circulation. I do have spares in the cold room however. I also have a disability that, at times, results in broken dishes so... we kind of need some spares on hand. I broke three mugs in one day not too long ago. Lame but there it is.
I won't even bother on the idea of using disposables. I take my own dishes to potlucks and you should too...
6) As above.
7) Toaster oven. Well, I don't own one but my parents in law do and they swear by it. There's just two of them most of the time and to reheat things like pizza or bake a small cake or batch of cookies, it's far more economical than the big oven.
8) Wok - sure. Unless you're hardcore about Asian cooking like my cousin. He would tell you a wok is the only way to go. I did get rid of mine and just use my lg frying pan.
9) Juicer - so much work to clean them! Though I have a friend who wants to give me one and I'm not sure I'd say no. Could be handy for canning season, I suspect.
10) I couldn't agree and disagree more about the home brewed espresso. First of all - do not spend your money on coffee out. The Reluctant Farmer and LG often give me gift cards for the coffee shop near my office. Happily for my mood, sadly for my waist, they're awfully generous. But, if not for that, I would be kicking my coffee out habit.
I agree though because my sister (who is a professional cupper - only sounds dirty if you have a dirty mind) would tell you the best way to get the best coffee is made with a moka pot. And it's cheap too.
11) Grilled cheese maker - agreed! Unless it's way more economical than turning on the stove, which it just may be.
12) Rice maker. I don't have one but I confess I do miss it. It kept a burner free and guaranteed un-scorched rice. I'm mixed on this one. I don't buy a new one because I worry about the coatings in them but I do miss it.
13) Doughnut pan. I probably don't need it but I do love it. And the doughnuts taste different when baked in pan (though if pressed, I could probably give this one up).
14) Panini press - do people really have these and a grilled cheese maker? Aren't they the same? If not - I agree, get rid of it!
15) Frother - maybe. It can make a glass of warm milk especially fun for kids (and adults) but a scrambler? I didn't even know such a thing existed.
I think what bothered me is that for me, it confused simplifying with decluttering. My life isn't simpler if I have more counter space because my KA is gone but now I'm buying processed flour and not baking from scratch. Not simpler, not healthier, and not cheaper.
It's like the coffee one - I asked a friend about this article and she laughed as she quickly calculated what her coffee costs would be without her moka pot. She estimated a minimum of $10 per day. That's a lot of extra hours to work to save a teeny amount of space.
My intent isn't just to rip on the article - I do like that it made me look at my kitchen and whether I could give up things like my crock pot and what else I could down size. It also reaffirmed for me that getting rid of things doesn't always lead to the end result I'm seeking.
Drop me a line and let me know what you think about all of this.