Kitchen Cure Week #4: Restocking Ingredients and Tools

The Fall 2009 Kitchen Cure

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This Week's Assignment: Restocking Ingredients and Tools
Cure Clock: This is it! Finish these assignments and meet back here next Friday for the party.
Cure Takers: Over 2,400

This week is the final week of work. Phew! We will assume you have sorted through your refrigerator, freezer, cupboards and drawers. You have gotten rid of rancid oils, spoiled condiments, and tasteless spices. All the surfaces are clean. Now you're ready to stock your kitchen so that you can actually use it. This week we will focus on the ingredients you need to cook the kinds of food you like to eat. You will also think about any new tools you need and can afford. You'll also have fresh flowers in the kitchen.

First our usual note on participation: Do your best, and pace yourself. This is the last assignment. Use this time to finish up previous assignments and catch up to Week 4. If it takes you a few more weeks to finish every part of the Cure, that's fine. The point is to make your kitchen beautiful, organized and inviting. Whatever it takes.


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Week Four Assignments

1. Catch up: Finish up any unfinished business from Week One, Week Two, and Week Three.

2. Re-stock Ingredients: It all begins with having a well-stocked pantry. If you're starting from scratch, this means spending some money. But in the long run, it will allow you to cook more with the small amount of fresh extras (like meat and produce) that you buy daily or weekly. Otherwise you'll constantly be buying each ingredient you need for a meal and finding you either have duplicates (so what if fish sauce costs $2/bottle? You don't need three bottles of it!), or you are caught off-guard without having what you need. By having a well-stocked pantry, you also are arming yourself with the tools you'll need to cook by feel, instead of always following a recipe.

Here are lists we started a few Cures ago with recommended pantry staples geared toward baking/desserts, savory cooking and vegetarians.

Don't forget the refrigerator when thinking about staples. Here is a post covering all the refrigerated staples that make cooking possible.

3. Consider Your Equipment: During Week 2 you worked very hard to lighten the load your kitchen carries by selling or giving away kitchen tools and equipment. This week I invite you to consider what you might need in order to cook. Maybe it's as simple as a $5 slotted spoon, or maybe you've been saving up for a KitchenAid and feel like it's time to go for it. If you do add something, think hard and long before you make the purchase. Will this help me cook more? Do I have room for it?

We've talked often about what a kitchen needs in terms of equipment. This post will be interesting to read through when you think about what your kitchen needs, if it needs anything at all.

4. Buy or Cut Fresh Flowers: I encourage you to keep fresh flowers in your kitchen always. If you live in a climate where you can have a thriving windowbox this time of year, it should be tended each week: watering and using your kitchen herbs. Here in New York very little is still growing, but there are some fall flowers taking their last gasps. I just came home from the farmers' market with a big bundle of Cosmos.

5. Finish up that Special Project! Two weeks ago you were supposed to decide on your special project: something outside the organization and cleaning part of the Cure. It should be something that makes your kitchen more livable, solve a problem, or spruces it up. Maybe you're painting a chalkboard wall, or making a custom glass back splash, creating your own custom knife storage solution, replacing the faucet, or stripping the wall-paper. If you're not done yet, keep going. If you haven't started, now is the time.

What's your special project? Tell us on the Discussion Board.

6. Take After Photos: When you're done with the Cure, take after photos of every part of the kitchen that you improved and send them in.

7. Stay in touch!: We have an exciting community of about 2,400 people currently signed up for the Kitchen Cure. Smart people. Fun people! And you can meet them all if you get active on our Cure Discussion Board. Also, don't forget to check in every day with the Kitchen Cure Page where all the Cure-related posts live in one neat little package. While assignments are posted once a week on Friday, related posts are going up every day and there is a lot of conversation to be had in those posts comment threads as well.

8. Meet back here next Friday: November 13 = Graduation!

Reminder about photographs: Submitting your photos to us really helps us see how you're doing and answer specific questions you have. If you'd like your progress to be showcased in a post, please take them on the highest quality setting you have on your camera and with as much natural light as possible. Submit your photos directly to The Kitchn. Using the "go for it!" form, make sure to explain what's going on in each image so we can properly caption each photo.

(Jar image by Sabra Krock of Cookbook Catchall)

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