How Moving to Vietnam Taught Me to Simplify My Kitchen
Who cooks and eats here: Allen Coin and me, Lisa Pepin!
See the kitchen: What It’s Like to Search for an Apartment (and a Good Kitchen) in Hanoi, Vietnam
Where: Hanoi, Vietnam
Rent or Own? Rent
Living near a restaurant supply store is a dangerous thing. If you’re like me, you’ve gotten good at justifying buying too many loaf pans (they’re only $5!), too many little one-use tools (I can make that dessert I saw on Pinterest!), and too many cookie sheets (think of all the Christmas cookies!). My last kitchen in Raleigh, North Carolina, had all the tools I could ever want, mostly inherited from family members and former roommates or bought from that restaurant supply store. I rarely got rid of anything because I had plenty of room to store it. Moving out, I think I found six different sets of measuring spoons.
So moving continents to Hanoi, Vietnam was an opportunity to start over.
What I Actually Cook With Now
It’s a lot harder to justify buying five or six different pots and pans when I’m going to leave in a year or two.
Allen and I now cook mainly with just a few tools:
- One frying pan
- One big pot
- One knife
- One cutting board
- One colander
- One wooden spoon
- One spatula
- One big mixing bowl.
All of our dishes fit on one open shelf above the sink.
The Joys of Simplifying Kitchen Tools
And you know what? I don’t miss my food processor. I don’t miss my blender, toaster, slow cooker, springform pan, pastry brush, cast iron skillet, collection of mugs, spice rack, ice cream maker, or hand mixer, either. I especially don’t miss all of those measuring spoons.
Sure, some days it means we wash every single dish we have, but, for the most part, it just saves time. We don’t dig around in the utensil drawer looking for a favorite spatula. There’s no disagreement over who unloaded the dishwasher last, because we don’t have one. Everything is out in the open, ready to go. Simplifying means we get to focus on the food we’re cooking, and that’s a great thing.