A while ago, we published a piece about kitchens and how space is used there – 8 Things You Don’t Need In Your Kitchen. It’s a topic that seems to pretty relevant in this era of ours, as we realize that more efficient use of space is better than having all the gadgets in the world, which is more of a 20th century thing.
Joyously and passionately, our readers wrote back to chip in your feedback on how right/wrong I was about what earns a place in the 21st century kitchen! So, I’d like to highlight some of that feedback with the hopes that the discussion can continue! But, in the meantime, here’s an infographic version of that original post, soon to be followed below by that aforementioned selection of feedback from commenters who chimed in (and thanks again to everyone who did!).
First, the graphic!
One of the main points that came out of the original piece, and the discussion that followed, is that there really is no definitive answer to what ISN’T required in a kitchen. This answer is going to vary depending on whose kitchen it is, and the kinds of routines, lifestyles, even cultures that define that particular household. What could be agreed on of course is the asking of the question, and challenging the norms to suit individual needs, rather than just accepting conventions. Our readers are pretty sharp that way!
But other than that, here were a few big threads that came out of the discussion.
Rice cookers and saucepans
The room was divided here, with many clinging to the convenience of the single-function rice cooker. Others plumped for the saucepan, allowing that with this method the risks are higher of burning the bottom. Yet, vigilance as a thing to exercise was a point well made by many.
Turn off heat completely.” No Burnt rice. I use this method with rice, corn on the cob and even boiling eggs. They don’t need the ‘boil’ to cook. just the heat
Another vote for keeping the rice cooker here. I use our rice cooker to make perfect steel-cut oatmeal. We also use it for cooking other grains such as bulgar or quinoa, as well as rice. Efficient and versatile, the rice cooker earns its place on the countertop.
You can get 90-second rice to cook in the microwave, or cook it the old-fashioned way on the stove-top. It’s not that difficult!.
In the case of the rice cooker, I echo the comments of others who tout the benefits of knowing that your rice is going to come out perfect every single time, without the stress or hassle of having to keep track of it.
Cooking rice on the stove is a piece of cake and that 20 minutes to cook it means time to prep and cook the rest of the meal, set the table, etc.
Toasters and microwaves – given kitchen space immunity!
People love their toasters. Actually, I was wondering how provocative the idea of removing the toaster from a modern kitchen might be. Turns out, it really is pretty provocative! The toaster stays, understand?
My sanity was questioned with the suggestion that a microwave should not have a central place in the kitchen, and fair enough! It only proved to me that our readers are very deliberate when it comes to what has a vital role in their kitchen spaces.
If we are considering things that don’t get used, then I should get rid of the oven before the microwave or toaster-oven. That’s all I use.
I can’t fathom getting rid of the toaster. My four slice toaster is quick, efficient and uses a fraction of the energy it would take to heat my range’s broiler… And keeping a microwave in the family room so my kids can heat snacks and make popcorn is LUDICROUS! They can’t keep the kitchen counter clean. For the savings in exterminator fees alone, I will sacrifice the space above the range and keep the micro/range vent I have.
Toaster and microwave stay: My husband uses both for lunch 5 of 7 days a week. I don’t have the other appliances.
I strongly disagree about getting rid of the toaster. It takes less energy to make toast in a toaster than to heat up the broiler in the oven. And in hot summer days, who needs more heat in the house?
Microwave in the living-room? I don’t think so. And mine gets used pretty regularly as a single person. As does my toaster. I hate cooking, so it’s in and out of the kitchen for me.
I can’t live without the microwave, we cook so many veggies in it as well as breakfast sandwiches, and the kidlet can do his own popcorn and stuff so it’s going to stay.
Junk the junk drawer!
Everyone hates clutter. And everyone is looking for ways to get rid of it, especially in the kitchen. Here’s what people said about the infamous junk drawer that everyone also seems to have and some alternatives to having one!
I mostly agree that the three essentials are enough for most people, and don’t need to take up valuable kitchen real estate. How about a magnetic strip on the wall to hold the knives safely within reach while out of the way?
I agree with Sandra about the magnetic strip on the wall, which I have installed in every residence for 30 years. What’s on it? Heavy-duty scissors, peeler/corer, and 4 knives.
DITCH DUPLICATES! I always seem to have a “back up” in case something breaks. How many vegetable peelers can one person possibly use?
I cleaned out my “junk” drawer and (got) rid of exta utensils… if I haven’t used them in six months, they go.
Big surprises and cool kitchen ideas!
There were a number of points raised that I didn’t include in the piece, of course. And a lot of them came as a surprise, an “of course!”, or just provoked a “hey, that’s a cool idea!” response.
I got rid of my stove. I almost always cook with the microwave …
… a fire extinguisher! We have one in plain sight, and within easy reach, on a counter across from the stove.
I use a pottery plant pot for wooden spoons (plus 2 metal spoons, one slotted for draining) and spatulas.
… If you aren’t sure if you can get along without an appliance, gizmo, gadget, etc.; try putting it/them in a box and socking it/them away for six months. If you don’t get it out for six months, you’re probably safe in getting rid of it/them – unless it’s a very-important-holiday-item type thingy.
… (I) have seen a lot of “coffee stations” either in the kitchen, dining, or a nook. Anything from a large built in to a small counter space, but a dedicated area for coffee maker, cups, etc. away from the main kitchen work area.
I have one of those ‘Cube’ bookshelves inbetween my dining room and kitchen. I have my Keurig on top on one side. And I have three bins in three of the six cubes. One holds cook books(some are lined up in another cube), one holds my Keurig pods, and other coffees and teas, and the third has mugs!
Your kitchen, your rules
In the end, this is what was understood. Your kitchen in your house means that you get to decide what is essential, and what is not. Maybe your choices will follow convention in some ways. Sometimes, they will completely diverge. Either way, the idea that spaces are made for real people, not set up to be featured in a room scene in a magazine, could not be more clear.
What about you, reading this post about a post? How does your kitchen diverge from the norm to suit you? How does it stick to the norm for the same reasons?
Tell us about it in the comments section! Maybe we’ll do a post about a post about a post that will feature your comments!
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