Author Topic: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment  (Read 6533 times)

Lifeblood

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The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« on: April 16, 2014, 01:45:22 PM »
I am striving to have the optimized kitchen which ensures the healthiest, most inexpensive inventory of basic ingredients and equipment necessary for the widest assortment of recipes. It would be interesting to hear your perspective on what makes your list and what doesn't. Two examples to demonstrate the concept:

Salad dressing: I never buy prepared salad dressings because it is so easy to whip up my own batch, whether is a simple oil, vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper concoction, or something slightly more elaborate containing mustard, yogurt, tahini, etc.

Quesadilla maker: I would never buy a designated quesadilla maker because a basic frying pan does just fine.

If anyone has gone through the trouble of preparing a listing of basic ingredients you always have around, please share! If this topic has been covered elsewhere, I would be grateful for any links.


ReverendRN

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 04:25:05 PM »
My roommate grew up in Brazil and has introduced me to $18 25lb bags of rice from Costo. Considering that each pound of dried rice makes three pounds of cooked rice, it's a pretty awesome deal. And there are so many things you can make with rice, just by adding beans or tofu and a few spices! Indian! Thai! Mexican! Spanish! Italian! (You can totally make risotto with regular rice. That's actually what they use in Italy! ) Cajun! Treat meat as a flavoring and add cheap/seasonal veggies, and you'll be full, healthy and never bored!

Also, I highly recommend the Mennonite cookbook More with Less. I can't imagine my kitchen without it.

Peace!

DunkCityFan

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 04:48:04 PM »
Start with an herb garden. That is killer to have. Make sure to continually clip and dry while the plants are going strong.

Then take a trip to the local Asian and Mexican stores. Buy spices there. I would recommend cumin, coriander, dried chilies, chili powder, cumin seeds, turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and curry powder.

Stop by the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern store for paprika (and sumac if you are that type). I think saffron is worth it, but only in Ethnic markets. Up to you.

Rice is dirt cheap in all of the above stores, too.

That there is, yes, a ton of spices. But they will come in huge bags and you will not run out of any for a long time. Even then, it is one at a time. You will be able to cook almost any non-East Asian (and even some of those) with the above and salt and pepper. The only other ingredients you will tend to use are garlic, ginger, meat (if you eat it), tomatoes, yogurt/cheese (again, if you eat it), veggies, oil, fresh peppers, vinegar, brown sugar, and bread. Everything that you cook will last several meals. Go vegan and this gets VERY cheap!

In my town, that is $50-80 in spices and a year's worth of the best food ever. Note: in the chain stores that is $150-300 in spices for half the quantity.

Other things: Don't go cheap on pans! Get a good brand. Basically need about four. Get a good set of knives (again, pay for quality), a cutting board, coffee grinder (for spices), blender/processor, ramekins, and a solid set of cooking utensils. If you don't have some big bowls, a strainer, measuring cups, and measuring spoons. Those are a must.

Now that looks like a HUGE list. But I see it as the investment of a lifetime. You will have fun cooking, try new things, and enjoy it if you bought the right pans and knives (if you don't, you will learn to hate cooking and all of the above is a WASTE of money.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 04:54:59 PM by DunkCityFan »

kite

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 05:19:29 PM »
Tamar Adler's book Everlasting Meal.
It's got everything from equipment lists, ingredients to have on hand, and instructions for how to use whatever is in the market, shows up in your CSA, gets caught or shot by the fishermen or hunter in your life.  After a lifetime of cooking, baking and loving cookbooks, this one stands out among all the others, eclipsing Julia Child,  Martha Stewart, Alton Brown and everyone else.  It's not a recipe book exactly, but Ms. Adler's book can help you become the kind of cook who knows what to make out of whatever foods are in front of you, without needing recipes, exotic ingredients or fancy tools. 

the fixer

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 05:57:59 PM »
We have a VERY small kitchen. I don't think it was designed with the intention of us actually using it to cook. A few techniques we figured out:

We usually put leftovers in the fridge using the pot the meal was cooked in. This cuts down on special storage containers needed.

A large Pyrex baking dish can bake almost anything, from casseroles to chicken. We have a couple baking sheets as well, but they're only good for baking things that won't drip because they don't have any sides.

For stovetop cooking, we have five pots of different sizes. One is a giant soup pot with a heavy bottom, which we use for a lot of meals. We have a pot that fits a special steamer, and although you'd think it could be multipurpose we only use it as a steamer pot because it's shaped strangely and won't work well on an electric range for anything other than heating water. The steamer portion doubles as a colander (not a very good one, but okay). The other three pots are smaller. We could probably get rid of one of the two smallest ones. Pans: one large and one small. Admittedly we have a second large pan that comes in handy occasionally but it's not essential.

Knives are something that's overdone in a lot of kitchens. Aside from butter knives, we only have three: a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a utility knife. If I wanted to spend some money I'd replace the utility knife with something a bit more useful.

We have one large Pyrex mixing bowl. It's the only large bowl we have and takes up a lot of space, but it gets used for almost all baking. It also serves as a fermentation crock sometimes; I got it because the top was ideally sized for using a dinner plate to weigh stuff down.

Two cutting boards, one for meat and one for veggies. If you weren't making foods in batches as large as ours, you could get by with only one. These are awkward to store.

A handheld electric mixer takes up less space than a stand mixer would, despite stand mixers being more popular nowadays. We rarely use ours, but when we do it works just fine with our one large bowl.

We have a food processor that gets used for lots of things you'd think you'd need another special appliance for: smoothies, pesto, nut butters, and shredding cabbage for sauerkraut.

Fishingmn

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 07:53:39 PM »
I agree about the "set of knives". I do 95% of my cooking with one high end 7" Wusthof Santoku (kind of like it better than a larger Chef's knife). The only other knive's I sometimes use are a bread knife and a paring knife.

Magic Bullet comes in handy for lots of stuff besides my wife's smoothies.


galliver

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 08:20:31 PM »
Two cutting boards, one for meat and one for veggies. If you weren't making foods in batches as large as ours, you could get by with only one. These are awkward to store.

How is the *flattest* thing in the kitchen awkward to store? There are so many options!

zataks

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 10:19:39 PM »
Two cutting boards, one for meat and one for veggies. If you weren't making foods in batches as large as ours, you could get by with only one. These are awkward to store.

How is the *flattest* thing in the kitchen awkward to store? There are so many options!

I have 3 cutting boards; (estimated sizes) 6"x14", 12"x18", and handmade large block that was a birthday present years ago from a woodworking buddy @ probably 24"x24"x2"thick.  The big guy goes on the floor between the refrigerator and cabinets and the two smaller ones sit on top of it.  Big one is used rarely; it's mostly for large cuts of meat or very large preparation scenarios.

I'll second the quality knives investment advice and recommend a good steel and stone; even the best knives get dull with use and need to be properly maintained.

Got almost 2 complete sets of Pyrex mixing bowls as gifts over the years picked up from antique stores and garage sales and they are my absolute favorite thing in the kitchen.  I use them for everything: mixing, storing, baking, freezing. 

EDIT: syntax/clarity
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 11:05:56 PM by zataks »

Heart of Tin

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 10:52:03 PM »
We have one large Pyrex mixing bowl. It's the only large bowl we have and takes up a lot of space, but it gets used for almost all baking. It also serves as a fermentation crock sometimes; I got it because the top was ideally sized for using a dinner plate to weigh stuff down.

How do you get along with only one large mixing bowl? I have a stacked set of mixing bowls. They take up the same amount of room in the cupboard as one large mixing bowl, and I get to have about three large bowls and three more medium sized bowls.

One single use item that I will never give up is my pasta roller and cutter. It's all one piece with a separate hand crank that can be moved between the roller and cutters. There are 8 thickness settings on the roller, a linguini cutter, and a spaghetti cutter. I make noodles usually once per week, so I get plenty of use out of my single use machine, and instead of storing different types of dry pasta, egg noodles, and alkali Chinese noodles, I only need the pasta roller and pantry staples that I would have anyway. It actually saves space. Plus, homemade noodles are incredibly delicious even if slightly more expensive than store bought.

the fixer

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2014, 11:22:59 PM »
I was serious about how small our kitchen is. There are three overhead cabinets, and only one of those is full-size. There is ONE lower cabinet, and it has a shelf built in that prevents storing cutting boards in there. Cutting boards don't fit in any of our spaces, so they have to stay out. One lives balanced precariously behind the sink, the other permanently sits on some makeshift counterspace we added because builtin countertops only provide ~8sqft of working space.

We'll be moving out soon, but it's been quite an experience in minimalist kitchen living while still cooking like crazy.

Chranstronaut

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 10:39:48 AM »
It seems like people haven't really answered your question about basic ingredients, despite offering some nice thoughts.  I don't keep a highly mustachian kitchen, but I started to teach myself how to cook about a year ago and found some things that work for me.

Ingredients: 
Spices - it really depends on what you like.  Always buy in bulk, never buy the $8 jars.  Use old jars or second hand containers for the bulk spice.  I refill my old jars because I didn't know about bulk spices before.  I use salt, pepper, red pepper, red chile flakes, cumin, curry, basil, cilantro and garlic powder all the time.  I also use sage, thyme, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Spices are a huge part of my cooking, but might not be for everyone.  You can make most Italian, Indian and Thai food from similar ingredients.

Pantry - vegetable/olive oil, all purpose flour, garlic, butter, peanut butter, canned tomatoes, canned veggies of your choice, beans, rice and pasta.  Learn to make a basic roux using a fat (oil or butter), flour and milk.  Add tomatoes and onions for pasta sauce or meat fat for gravy.  Add crushed nuts to a basic white sauce for a vegetarian gravy :)

Fridge- Milk, eggs, onion, 2 veggies of the week (carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, whatever), lemon and lime juice.  Add meat or cheese if you want to get crazy.  Buy meat in bulk and freeze extras.  Some cheese also freezes okay, but I find it sometimes gets a little too crumbly.

Cooking techniques I use most:
-roux/white sauce and how to expand on it to make soups and sauces
-mirepoix/sauteing garlic and onion at the beginning of many recipes to mix into sauces or with sauteed veggies and meats
-every way to make a potato (baked, boiled, mashed, broiled, etc)
-experimenting with leftovers and trying to leave no waste (using day old rice to make fried rice, boiling and straining vegetable ends to make a vegetable broth).  This is a personal study in efficiency.
-making the same thing again with different spices (cooking potatoes cubes with tomato, garlic and onion feels American/Italian, but using tomato, cumin, curry and ginger makes it feel Indian).

Equipment:
Knives: After learning about proper knife techniques, I find I usually use a large chef's knife for almost everything.  I often bake my own bread and found it's worth having a bread knife specifically for that.  I use a pairing knife one or twice a week.  I wouldn't recommend buying an expensive knife block, just get a few really nice knives you will use all the time and a proper sharpener.

Mugs: I never use these, but they came with my plate set.  I hate them and they take up a lot of space in my cabinets.  I rarely drink hot drinks at home and have no use for 8 plain white mugs.

Frying Pans:  I usually cook for two people and find that the 10-12in pans are good.  I have a 6in pan I never use because nothing except scramble eggs fits on it.  I have a 14in pan that I use occasionally, but it heavy and difficult to heat evenly.  I could get away with 1 frying pan, but like having two.

Saute Pan: I recently got a proper flat bottomed saute pan with a lid and I love it.  It is my favorite pan for meals mixed with veggies and sauces.  You could easily use this along with one frying pan and be pretty well set.  I thought it would be superfluous, but I literally use it every day.  If you like steak, get one that can go in the oven.

Hand powered food processor: I bought this before I learned how to chop things properly.  Waste of money and space and time-- chopping is faster and more precise with a chef's knife.

Toaster Oven: I use mine all the time instead of heating up our full sized oven.  I only use the full sized oven for true baked goods, not cooking meat or veggies.  It takes up a lot of counter space, but it's worth it to me. Probably not necessary for an optimized kitchen, but might be useful to save energy.

George Foreman style counter-top grill: Jury is out on that.  My boyfriend used to use it every day and liked the dishwasher safe removable heating plates.  But now he uses the saute pan when I'm done cooking veggies in it.  Probably not necessary for an optimized kitchen, but might be useful.

the fixer

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2014, 11:25:41 AM »
I have a toaster oven too, we mostly use it to make toast. So it's basically a more multi-purpose version of a toaster to us.

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2014, 12:05:25 PM »
My roommate grew up in Brazil and has introduced me to $18 25lb bags of rice from Costo. Considering that each pound of dried rice makes three pounds of cooked rice, it's a pretty awesome deal. And there are so many things you can make with rice, just by adding beans or tofu and a few spices! Indian! Thai! Mexican! Spanish! Italian! (You can totally make risotto with regular rice. That's actually what they use in Italy! ) Cajun! Treat meat as a flavoring and add cheap/seasonal veggies, and you'll be full, healthy and never bored!


Peace!

Rice is pretty useless nutritionally. I put my health far above saving $2 on what I eat here and there.

nereo

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2014, 12:17:09 PM »
I was serious about how small our kitchen is. There are three overhead cabinets, and only one of those is full-size. There is ONE lower cabinet, and it has a shelf built in that prevents storing cutting boards in there. Cutting boards don't fit in any of our spaces, so they have to stay out. One lives balanced precariously behind the sink, the other permanently sits on some makeshift counterspace we added because builtin countertops only provide ~8sqft of working space.

We'll be moving out soon, but it's been quite an experience in minimalist kitchen living while still cooking like crazy.
You want small? For three seasons I worked as the only cook on a ship's galley for a crew of 8, serving 4 meals a day.  I had one small cabinet for pots/pans/etc and one drawer for storing stuff.  A 3 burner, 22" gimbaled stove and about 3 linear feet of countertop/prep space. Here was my basic setup:
Hardware:
Three quality knifes - 8" chef's (or sontoku if you prefer), serrated bread knife and paring knife.
Nesting SS mixing bowls (CostCo has a great set for ~$30) - or glass/ceramic/melamine if you prefer.
12" cast-iron skillet (or 10" for smaller cooking - e.g. Lodge @ $25)
10" quality fry pan
Heavy-bottomed stock pot (height > diameter.  no idea what brand, find at restaurant supply store)
strainer-insert for stock pot (doubles as collander)
sauce pan (I'd recommend a 2qt for you.  Mine was a 4 qt)
9x13" pyrex baking dish
Sheet pan (sometimes called a "cookie sheet")
Tools: you don't need dozens cluttering up several draws.  mine fit in a 6" wide pull out drawer.
spring-loaded tongs (perhaps my favorite tool)
rubber spatula, regular spatula, wire whisk and wooden spoon
meat thermometer
bench knife (aka board scraper, dough cutter, etc)
Can opener, masher
Pryex 2 cup liquid measuring cup
set of dry measuring cups (1/4, 1/3, 1/2, and 1 cup)
set of dry measuring spoons

finally - stackable Prep bowls (3-4 small, 3-4 medium). Can find these at the $ store.
Working in a tiny kitchen, these will make the difference between chaos and control. Your "mise en place" I did all my prep (e.g. chopping, measuring, etc) first, then started cooking with all my prepped & measured ingredients laid out next to me.

As for cutting boards, I agree that there is always a place to store them if you just think.  Hanging on the wall with one of those 3M removable hooks.  The slot between the fridge and the cabinets, or the stove and cabinets often will hold a board too.  Or if your cabinet has those holes for adjusting the shelves, put four pins on the top-most slot.  Then get a cutting board barely smaller than the your cabinet (you can saw cutting boards to size, wood or plastic).  Then your boards can 'rest' on the pegs above all your dishes, ready at a moment's notice.

As for ingredients, this depends entirely on your style of cooking.  My pantry (actually the compartments under the floorboards) were stocked to the gills with grains (rice, lentels, beans) & pasta, canned goods (esp. tomatoes, corn, coconut milk and broth) as well as your basic containers of flour, sugar (refined and brown), baking powder etc.  I buy all my  spices online (check out World Spice Merchants), typically whole seed except things like paprika or turmeric. 

greenmimama

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2014, 12:20:13 PM »
This question is completely different for anyone you ask, it depends on what you eat, what is important to you, and if you are looking for the most simple basic, what you can get away with, or you are a foodie and love to try different and even exotic foods.

We fall somewhere in the middle but we have 3 boys, so I cook for a family of 5, I am not on the simplicity side of a kitchen, I enjoy my gadgets that I have accumulated over the years, a lot of them for $2 at a garage sale.

But me telling you what works for us, could be a lot of wasted breath, how do you live, cook, and work? What about food moves you?

nereo

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2014, 12:23:10 PM »
Rice is pretty useless nutritionally. I put my health far above saving $2 on what I eat here and there.
Rice is the backbone of several billion people's diet.  ignore it if you wish but you'll be ignoring about half the world's cuisine. By itself its just a classic starch.  like any ingredient it's what you serve it with that counts.  It's kind of like saying "flour/pasta/lentils/beans are useless nutritionally" - so don't eat them. 

MayDay

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2014, 01:00:04 PM »
For staple foods:  oatmeal, dry beans, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat flour at the very basic level.
"Wet" foods we keep on hand:  salsa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, applesauce, other canned fruit, pickles, shelf stable milk (most of that I can mylsef but we buy if we run out early).
Other random stuff:  raisins, various nuts, spices, flax meal, baking basics like baking soda, salt, sugar, baking powder, honey, oils.
 In the fridge I typically have yogurt, tofu, maple syrup, minced garlic, vinegars, cheese, butter, eggs.  Some of that lasts a year (gallon of maple syrup) some if replaced near-weekly. 



Kitchen equipment:  a couple knives, cutting board (one is enough for us as we are vegetarians), mixer, mixing bowls, spatula, frying pan, and 2 or so pots (depends how much you cook if you need more).  Baking dishes and cookie sheets depend on what kind of food you make- for me I need at least one cookie sheet and at least two baking dishes.  Small toaster (I hate toaster ovens and can't stand them cluttering up the counter.  I would only ever have one if we didn't have a regular oven.  I guess maybe if I had a giant non-mustacian pantry or butlers pantry so it was in a separate room out of the kitchen?).

Semi-optional things that I couldn't live without given that I cook from scratch a ton:  stand mixer, food processor, immersion blender, regular blender (if I had to have only one blender I would get rid of the immersion).

« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 01:03:31 PM by MayDay »

lady brett ashley

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2014, 01:01:32 PM »
Rice is pretty useless nutritionally. I put my health far above saving $2 on what I eat here and there.

We cut out all rice and pasta from our cooking for health reasons (which has worked brilliantly for us), so i agree there, but it hasn't had any effect on our grocery budget.  Rice is pretty dirt cheap, but it's not the only cheap and filling food.  We eat a lot of lentils and beans, which cost the same as rice where we shop (we don't have a Costco - it's not as cheap as the bag referenced above, but it's around the same price we were getting rice for, usually at the middle eastern grocery.)  Plus, i think any small price increase is made up for by the fact that i very seldom eat two dinners anymore, like i used to when i ate carb-based meals ;)

MayDay

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2014, 01:05:02 PM »
Whether anyone does or doesn't eat rice really has nothing to do with the question "what is a staple food?". 

Rice is a staple food, whether anyone here chooses to remove it from their diet or not.  Until the OP tells us he/she doesn't eat rice, it is a bit silly for the discussion to be in this thread. 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2014, 07:14:36 AM »
Ingredients really depends on what you cook. Avoid stocking up on stuff blindly until you've been cooking for a few months and know what you'll use, and how fast you'll use it. I keep a pretty bare bones pantry because I still don't trust myself not to waste items. That said, I do buy flour in 50lb sacks and rice in 25lb bags.

Tools again vary, but a high quality chefs knife and tri-ply stainless skillets go a long, long way. Avoid single-purpose gadgets. That said, the one gadget I really like is my garlic press. I feel like I get better flavor than mincing it with a knife.

Edit: figured I'd add that I hate parsing Amazon reviews when buying stuff. I really like the long, well-researched articles at The Sweethome. They put even Chef's Illustrated to shame.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 07:18:40 AM by Thegoblinchief »

lady brett ashley

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2014, 10:26:42 AM »
Whether anyone does or doesn't eat rice really has nothing to do with the question "what is a staple food?". 

Rice is a staple food, whether anyone here chooses to remove it from their diet or not.  Until the OP tells us he/she doesn't eat rice, it is a bit silly for the discussion to be in this thread.

But the original question was about the "healthiest, most inexpensive inventory of basic ingredients" which pretty solidly invites opinions on what is or isn't healthy.  Anyhow, i'm not concerned with y'all's eating habits, i just wanted to point out that rice isn't the only cheap staple food.  There are other staple foods that cost the same, and i think the common assumption that you have to eat rice to eat cheap is harmful (personally, to my health, but that aside, it still cuts down your options and isn't true - at least where i live).

socaso

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2014, 07:03:51 PM »
I used to work for a well know company that produces some of the top stand mixers in the business. I'm not going to name names because MMM has enough on his legal plate as a result of the forum. I took advantage of my company discount and purchased the stand mixer and a number of attachments and even though the initial investment was steep even with the discount it has turned out to be a wonderful frugal tool. I make pizza dough, cookies, shortbread, ice cream and more. I can grind my own meat and make sausages (no innuendo). I can make homemade pasta, sauce, and grind the grain for our homebrew hobby. I use it anywhere from once a week to a couple of times a month depending on my needs and it has been worth the investment. If you are a frugal foodie consider asking for it as a wedding gift, Christmas gift, special birthday gift and then ask for attachments as subsequent gifts. We hosted an Octoberfest party where we served our homebrew, made the sausages ourselves and made a couple of other dishes that incorporated the stand mixer. The total cost of the party was under $100 and we had leftover beer and sausages that went into meals for quite a while.

RealCanadianSavings

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Re: The Mustachian Kitchen - key ingredients and equipment
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2014, 11:04:07 PM »
Adding to what others have said, for kitchen items: can opener, wine/beer opener, wooden spoon, slotted spoon, a good sized ladel, silicon flipper, tinfoil (which many times can be reused), hand grater, two mugs and two travel mugs, plates that stack flat (we use corel).

Non essentials that I keep anyways: a water filter, mason jars for food storage, potato masher, cooling rack for baked goods, a good rolling pin, a muffin pan, a turkey roasting pan w lid. I also have a large crock pot and a bread machine.

+1 for the high quality knives, Pyrex mixing bowls and toaster oven.

On the side of things we don't use: plug in grill, toaster, hand mixer, colander.

For food items, try not buying anything canned for awhile and make your own beans and eat fresh veggies. We also have a second freezer which is great for when you make a huge batch or find perishables at really good prices.