Minimalist Kitchen: Processes

The mini-fridge, midweek

The mini-fridge, two days before a shop

When I first started cooking, I always used a recipe. Which is probably a good idea for a new cook. But after I gained some experience cooking, I noticed that there are some processes than lead more often to success: when making cookies, be sure to cream the butter and sugar well before you add anything else; when baking, measure everything exactly.

For the minimalist, there are some processes I have discovered lead to success more often.

~small refrigerator. One hundred years ago, rich people had an ice box. Everybody else did without. Since the invention of the refrigerator, they have gotten bigger and bigger and people put all sorts of stuff in them that won’t really go bad. I know someone who puts her corn chips in the fridge. Refrigerators have gotten so big, that we can’t manage all we put into them. We forget the leftovers and they turn into science experiments.

~shopping once a week. Weekly, I survey the ingredients in my fridge and cupboard and make a menu and a grocery list. I don’t always stick to it exactly….but I do not buy more fresh items until I have used up what is in the house. This keeps food from spoiling.

~pantry items. I keep these limited to what I can use in the next 2-3 months. It saves space, I’m not stuck with unwanted items if our tastes change, and my pantry stock is relatively fresh.

I have a car, live is a small city and am the main cook for a household. If those things do not describe you, your processes might look much different. A friend who lives in Paris, shops every night on his way home from work. A friend who lives alone here in the states, shops once every three weeks.

Processes, by their nature evolve.

What is working well for you now?


15 responses to “Minimalist Kitchen: Processes

  1. So glad you are back! You blog gives me pause for thought; a very good thing.

  2. Small refrigerator! What a genius idea, haha. I am new to minimalism and am a renter who lives alone. I cannot choose to have a mini fridge instead of a huge one, but it really would make life easier! To answer your question–I have not figured out what process works best for me in terms of grocery shopping. I tend to eat out a lot and am learning how to change those habits that have been ingrained in me since I was a child. I love the blog, btw 🙂

    • Well, you could unplug the big fridge and use a dorm sized one….I saw in a house-porn magazine, where the apartment dweller kept his pressed shirts in the refrigerator as he never ate at home. You could unplug the big fridge and put out of season clothes in it.

  3. The key thing for me is simply menu planning- I tend to follow recipes, though I will leave out things like fresh herbs if I don’t have them growing in the garden. There are two of us, and as most recipes make enough for four, I only cook on about half of the days of the week, which makes it much easier when working late. I too shop once a week (assuming I have not forgotten something crucial, which I can usually get on my way home from work) for only what we need that week. We tend not to generate that much food waste because of this, and because we have chickens who eat pretty much anything that can’t be composted!

    I could probably do with eating more of the pasta etc in the cupboards, and the stuff in the freezer…

  4. Is yours a Danby two door compact fridge/freezer?

  5. Well I got started this weekend. I LOVE books which means I have a lot of books but many of which I don’t love so I’ve packed them up to donate to my church and a nursing home. My son went through his books and picked out quite a few books to donate to his old daycare. It’s a start and you’ve got to start somewhere right? 🙂

  6. I like the larger fridge because 99% of what I eat is stored there (I don’t buy anything in a can or box). I also used to get tons of cookbooks from the library and photocopy the ones I liked but never got around to trying them. I find it is easier for me to just pick which protein I want for my meal, which whole grains and which vegetable (I’m vegan so it makes life simpler and healthier). As well, I know which spices I prefer so add them depending on the ingredients of the meal.Fruits and nuts are desserts and/or snacks. Love your blog and learning so much from you as well as !

  7. My fridge is what I would call “normal”, but European normal! It has one shelf more than yours and the freezer compartment has a small shelf, too. We are a family of 3, now, but our daughter is rarely home for meals and if she is, it’s usually with BF so then we whip up something for 4. I would happily take a smaller fridge.
    I shop once a week but then my husband likes to cook and gets an idea so will go a second time for the pleasure of the hunt for special ingredients 🙂
    One small cupboard is dry goods – oats, flour, sugar, lentils, polenta, pasta etc., another holds the few tins I keep in reserve (mostly beans and tomatoes), as well as oils and vinegars. I keep the teas with the cups near the kettle. In the fridge I have mainly milk, eggs, butter and yoghurt plus whatever meat or cheese I have bought (I remove the cheese a couple of hours before eating so it can reach room temperature – nothing worse than cold flavourless cheeses! By cheese I mean brie, camembert, roquefort, gruyère, emmental, appenzell etc., so hard and soft cheeses!). In summer I usually keep a small tub of ice-cream in the freezer, otherwise I have some frozen vegetables and “emergency” meat/sausage, occasionally some butter if I’ve bought more than usual on sale. I keep some fresh vegetables in the fridge drawer, but most don’t need to be kept there and are in a bowl for me to use as I cook, together with herbs. We don’t buy pre-packaged or processed foods as far as possible. Fruit also only needs to be in the fridge if the summer is very hot (berries), otherwise in the fruit bowl! Nuts also in a bowl.
    My grandmother in the UK didn’t have a fridge until the mid-70s and has only had a tiny freezer for the last 3 years or so. It can be done!!

  8. I totally agree. But you should do some reading in what needs to be refrigdeuated yourself 😉 fruits are better off outside the fridge and the eggs don’t need to be there.

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