I have A LOT of coffee cups. Tons. I inadvertently started collecting coffee cups years ago as souvenirs of places I’ve been. Also, I like coffee – no, I LOVE coffee. Love. It. It is one of the food items that gives me joy, not just in the a.m., when it also gives me a reason to actually move about and be human and go to work and stuff but also in the p.m. when it’s just plain good. But I have an enormous collection of coffee cups, which dominate my kitchen supplies.
Aside from my coffee cups, I had only basic kitchen equipment when I moved into my new house in March and when I joined the CSA in early June. Cutlery, basic utensils that my late mother outfitted me with when I got my first apartment – assuring me that yes, someday you’ll need to use a spatula AND a slotted spoon AND a whisk!! She was right (of course and duh!!) I did use them occasionally. I also have plates and bowls and proper beer and rocks glasses as well as ginormous plastic get-your-80-ounces-of-water-all-at-once glasses. A couple of frying pans of different sizes and a ginormous and extremely heavy Dutch oven that I bought when I thought it would be neat to try to learn to make feijoada after seeing a “No Reservations” episode in Brazil round out my kitchen collection.
Since I’ve joined the CSA, additions to my kitchen collection and my need to learn how these things operate has increased exponentially. Not all this food can or should be eaten raw and I realized at once that I was going to need to cook some of it and not only cook some of it but cook it in pans or by processes involving kitchen items that I did not own.
For instance, I recently purchased a full-sheet (whatever that means, my bed is a queen-size) aluminum cookie sheet and a half-sheet aluminum cookie sheet AND a wire rack for roasting and drying. Actually, that’s going to be for the fish and meats to accompany my new veg dishes, I’m all about the high-protein and low-carb eating style.
I also have added a giant plastic cutting board and a spiff new set of ultra-sharp knives in four different sizes to my cooking wardrobe. (Don’t ask how many pairs of shoes joined my household in the same time period, I guarantee – it was more than four!).
My additions also include a food processor that has yet to make it out of the box (hey, it was an idea about chilled summer soups that sounded good at the time. It may make a comeback).
I don’t want to ramble on too much further but this new food exploration is not only interesting but it has cost a little bit to get things going. I can see how it can become overwhelming for someone, say a single mom with kids and a small kitchen (read – apartment?) and a very limited income, maybe with no access either financially or transportationally (is that even a word – you know what I mean, no public trans. Hey, out here, it’s Shank’s mare to get anywhere if you don’t own a car). Now it’s true, you don’t need ALL the bells and whistles but you’re at least going to need some basic equipment AND a place to cook AND the money to pay for the gas or electricity to do the cooking.
And the space. In my apartment of seven years, I had a true galley kitchen. Now I own a spacious, beautiful, airy and light eat-in kitchen that’s huge and has tons of storage and space and counter space. Compared to my kitchen now, my galley kitchen was about the size of one single cupboard in the new place.
But lots of people live in space-limited circumstances and especially when it comes to kitchen and cooking and prep space. Even if they want to join a CSA or obtain fresh foods at farmers markets using the FMNP coupons, they might not have the space to properly store and refrigerate fresh veggies and fruits and/or the space to prepare them.
If people are going to promote the growth of fresh food and local food in areas and to populations who might not have easy access to stuff like spiffy plastic cutting boards, four sizes of sharp knives and neato-bandito new food processors – or even counter space or ovens, that is something worth considering.