I cannot tell a lie, I'm quite happy to (finally) be the proud owner of a small cheap hand-held mixer and rapidly thereafter, of a less cheap (yet still inexpensive) standing bowl mixer (with a paddle and dough-hook). Up until a few months ago, I was still roughing it, doing everything by hand, the mixing, beating, whipping, kneading, (which of course is still do-able, yet hindering).
The only electrical thing I possessed was a mini food-processor (a very old and handy left-over from a long-gone roommate) and an ice cream maker (not he automatic kind but the kind which has a bowl that you have to freeze for a day or two before using to churn) that I had to get last summer for some personal research and experimenting… this is one of those moments when more space in my little freezer compartment of my small refrigerator would be welcome). I also own a mandoline (that scary thing used for slicing, I'm dreaming of a compact version of an electric slicer (like at the butcher’s)… One friend/neighbor/guest offered me a dusty vintage waffle-maker last week, we'll see how that goes but thank-you very very much dear friend !
My hesitation in owning these newer kitchen accessories (perhaps necessities) was neither a moral (staying real and sticking-to-the basics) issue nor an economic one but rather a space & storage dilemma I battle with everyday… I live in a fairly good-sized Parisian apartment, with a long street-side balcony (which doubles as food storage during the colder months) and a court-side terrace area I use as an experimental small fruit, herb and vegetable garden, yes I'm quite fortunate, life is good.
Oh those fine moments when my North American (or non-European) friends (and/or foes, it's a very open home here so everyone is welcome) with the equivalent of villas and estates for homes (by our Parisian standards) visit and exclaim "… so cute, so well-planned, you've used the space quite cleverly"… my translation (because that's my job in a state diplomacy professional context) : "it's a nice place to visit but…", and oh yeah, I almost forgot "charming" which usually gets thrown in there at some point too… Ok, ok, I get it, no hard feelings, just working with what I have… I'm smirking !
Anyways, after a little bit of (or rather much more than I care to remember) heart-wrenching (yet liberating) massive reorganization of my cellar (of which I had two of up until 2 months ago and now have only 1) and kitchen and closets in other adjoining (I daresay) "rooms" and not just "spaces" and a clever (yes I can be, I have university degrees you know) use of stackable options, I was finally able to create a small kitchen appliances section in my entrance closet and a larger storage area for the (I'm guessing here because I'm too scared to count) close to 40 silicone moulds in all shapes and sizes. In addition to this, there's my fine collection of stainless steel round and square pastry-cutters and baking rings (I have a thing for stainless steel and rubbery things as well as geometry, a by-product of my engineering and industrial design studies, I guess).
I'm kind of dreaming (and hopeful in a sci-fi way) of the day when storage spaces will be space-time anomalies where you'll be able to store your "stuff" away in parallel universes and not be forced to reorganize your stuff and eventually decide (ouch!) to keep/not keep/donate/throw away stuff when the futuristic solution could be to invade space and that universal final frontier in a whole new way… maybe ?! It has often been said that I invade spaces that are not my own… hmmmmm.
Getting back to my "stuff", these adored items are just friendly suggestions and part of my personal time-saving and better planning, preparing, eating, entertaining strategy, with a significant amount of less last-minute cooking/cutting,/slicing,/serving and getting up all the time when my guests are over… got it ? Good.
Ok, so smarten-up and (if you feel like it) go get yourself some inexpensive silicone moulds, some stainless steel cookie-cutters and baking rings, a digital scale and a timer (or two) and let's cook up some stuff, large or small…
Life is good… and if you're good, I might just show you my stainless steel picnic set this summer.
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