When one is embarking on a journey of cooking entirely new foods, one must rethink their entire system of cooking. Not only do you need to learn new ingredients and how they interact with one another, you must use completely new kitchen tools.
I am not one to shy away from the kitchen. I have been hosting dinner parties since I was 17 years old and come from a family that always, ALWAYS joined together around food. It was usually unhealthy food, but we learned to love cooking and eating at a very young age.
One of the biggest joys of living on my own was cooking my own meals. Instead of eating ramen noodles, the food of the newly independent, I prided myself in kneading breads and baking cakes to save money. Part of this was due to the influence of my then mother-in-law. If there was one thing she was good at, it was cooking from scratch. I loved watching her cook. I would sit at her kitchen table, drink coffee, and relish the sight of her taking joy in her creation.
So here I am over a decade later, deepening my understanding of food and its relationship with my body. By extension, I am coming to terms with my kitchen and the equipment held within. I have definitely upgraded from my first cooking sets, but there is always room for improvement. Just to be clear, dear husband of mine, the following would make phenomenal gifts. Throwing that hint out there and making sure it is received loud and clear. Someone has a birthday in a couple of months, and that someone is me. I am even going to provide Amazon links for ease of purchase.
Thankfully, Sally Fallon has been kind in giving us a run down on the equipment that she has deemed necessary for cooking traditional foods. Not only that, her list in Nourishing Traditions characterizes the necessities in order of priorities. I can’t say that I agree fully with her, but she wrote the book. I may agree once I start the recipes. Some seem frivolous for an at home kitchen. Time and experience will tell.
First things first, throw out the microwave. That thing is useless. Not only does it emit radiation, it removes beneficial enzymes from foods. After you do that, throw out the pressure cooker. I have two that I never used except when I did at home canning. This also destroys the viability of your food. Don’t eat canned foods and don’t preserve your foods by canning.
Stainless Steel Cookware: Be sure to avoid aluminum cookware at all costs.
Stockpot: This should also be stainless steel or high quality enamel.
Cast-Iron Skillets: Do NOT wash with soap. Just rinse with water and wipe. We lucked out when we bought our first house. The previous owners left behind a beautiful old skillet that I use every day and has its own designated burner on the stove. I also recently purchased a cast iron grill pan. It needs some days of heavy use before falling in love with it. It’s one of those things that gets better the more you use it, so yard sales are a great place to look.
Flameproof Casseroles: This should be good quality enamel or uncoated cast iron.
Good Knives: She recommends Cutco, which are amazing. I bought several a few years back, but they were stolen at a potluck shortly after purchasing them. Tempered steel knives are also a good option, which is what my current set is. It, unfortunately, has rust stains. Anyone have any recommendations on removing them? One type of knife she recommends and that I have not found at an affordable price in any kitchen store is a fish filleting knife. Granted, I have only looked at Williams and Sonoma. The cheapest one there was $95. I’ve looked at them at Bass Pro Shop at the recommendation of my fisherman husband, but I am still very overwhelmed with knowing what to choose. It is an absolute necessity for organ meats or game so you can remove the membrane.
Kitchen Scissors: I have a good pair with the afore-mentioned knife set.
Wooden Cutting Board: These are less likely to harbor harmful bacteria than plastic ones. There should be two in each home, one for meats and one for veggies/fruits.
Handheld Blender: I used this thing every single day when we did GAPS. Glass and Stainless Steel Food Containers: We have the less than ideal plastic version at present, but I’d venture to guess that canning jars would work beautifully. Wide-Mouth, Quart-Size Mason Jars: I can always use these. Kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, stock, everything gets stored in these. I like the wide-mouth so you can get your hand in there and wash it well. I also intend to purchase a handmade fermenting crock from a local potter. We are doing a group discounted order through Wholistic Home, if you are interested in supporting a local artisan in Nashville. She does beautiful work and lives next to Sandor Katz, the author of Wild Fermentation!
Glass Beverage Containers: These should be two-quart and have airtight seals. For beer, the corks/stoppers need to be wire held. I always wanted these for my kombucha and water kefir so I could get a good fizz.
Food Processor: I would love to have this item. Look for one with different blades and the ability to add oil drop by drop.
Handheld Mixer: I have a KitchenAid stand mixer that I love and use often.
Grain Mill: Apparently whole grain flour goes rancid quickly and this is a great way to alleviate that issue. The grinding surface should be stone.
Grain Roller: This is for rolled oats and rye flakes.
Corn Mill: This is for corn bread. Which I eat maybe three times a year.
Mini Mill: This is for spices and flax seeds. Whatever happened to a good old fashioned mortar and pestle?
Ice Cream Maker: I’m sorry, but this would go MUCH higher on my list. Probably between the mixer and the grain mill. I would eat ice cream long before I milled my flour by hand.
Food Mill: Now we are just getting finicky about textures.
Stoneware: This is another one that I would put higher on the list. I love my Corningware, and I truly don’t think anyone could go wrong by having a set. Juicer: This is definitely above grain mill for me. We use ours quite frequently.
Popcorn Maker: We just make our popcorn on the stove. I do see her point in making it easy for kids. I think the 10 year old would really enjoy this. Popcorn is a big treat in our house.
Dehydrator: I got this for Christmas. It is July. I haven’t opened the box yet.
Jet Stream Oven: This is an alternative to the microwave, which I rarely used anyway.
I think we may need a bigger kitchen as well.