A Kitchen is like a Man’s Wardrobe

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

I am driven mad nowadays with the need for every possible kitchen scenario to be instantly and effectively treated with a gadget that can only do one specific thing. I got a targeted ad the other day for a handy-dandy countertop egg steamer. “Perfect every time!” it exclaimed at me in bold font. Well, I thought, those poor dears who bought theirs. Surely they don’t have running water and literally any sized pan.

Then there is a garlic press, another tool that had to have been invented on a dare. A broad edge of a blade or even the bottom of a measuring cup and some aggression does the trick. These one-hit-wonders end up being used twice a year if that. And for what? No one can seem to tell me.

And that’s the point: if you can’t find a use for something, just get rid of it. How often are you so desperate to keep your bananas ripe you need an entire device devoted to just that? I’ve seen hard boiled egg slicers and apple slicers and cherry pit removers. All a waste. A knife can do most things. Eat the banana for breakfast if you’re so worried about it going bad, for God sake.

Instead, we need to begin thinking of our kitchen as we do our wardrobe: buy the classics and fill in with what you fancy. A chef’s knife is an Oxford shirt, a daily wear sort of item. A paring knife is a Timex watch, good for most occasions but nothing heart-stopping about it. A set of good measuring cups are your brown brogues. You need one good mixing bowl (501 Levi’s, if we keep with the analogies here) and maybe four mugs. And the piece de resistance is the Dutch oven. It is, surely, the navy blazer for any ensemble.

It’s paradoxical to think that the more items you have, the easier time you’ll have cooking. We overcomplicate too much already. Clean your kitchen drawers this weekend. I promise you that the avocado slicer you got last Christmas can go straight in the trash.

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