Of all the things we packed up when we jumped into this nomad adventure, our kitchen was the hardest. By the time we left Brooklyn earlier this year, we’d built up such a store of pans, knives, equipment, cookbooks, and spices that Joe was storing his bread making equipment in our laundry closet down the hall.
I don’t think we realized until it was all in boxes that we’d be saying goodbye to a kitchen that had everything we needed. I’m still not over saying goodbye to all my cookbooks.
We couldn’t help it. We packed a few essentials to take with us.
- Wüsthof chef’s knife
- Wüsthof paring knife
- Knife sharpener
- Swiss Diamond non-stick pan
- Handheld citrus juicer
- French press
- Coffee grinder
- Banneton for bread baking
- Scraper for bread baking
- Joe’s sourdough starter
… we may have packed more than the bare essentials actually.
While having some reminders of our home kitchen with us has been great, navigating to new kitchens has been a learning experience. Where is the silverware? How old are these spices? Can I drink this leftover beer in the fridge?
Once, on a particularly ambitious day in Montreal, I decided to cook this New York Times recipe for pork satay with thai spices and peanut sauce. I must have spent over $30 on coriander and cumin seeds, lemongrass, turmeric, and cayenne — just to leave them all behind after one use a few weeks later as we moved on to Portland, Maine.
(The satay was fantastic. If you have a fully stocked kitchen, make it.)
But we’re learning. We recently discovered Whole Foods’ bulk aisle, where we can buy minuscule amounts of whatever spices we need. Most recently, we spent less than $2 on poppy seeds (for bread) and red pepper flakes (for everything).
We also discovered that Trader Joe’s has some solid spice blends. We’re using their ‘everyday mix’ for our day-to-day cooking, alongside salt and pepper. With mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander, garlic, paprika, and chili pepper, it does the trick. Plus, it doesn’t require investing in a full cabinet of spices we’ll just leave behind in a few weeks.
Now, time to figure out how to keep a stocked bar cart on this adventure of ours.