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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and What to Eat When You’re Broke
We all know that cooking from scratch can save us a fortune, but all the latest kitchen gadgets can be pricy. Many people have cabinets and cabinets full of gadgets that do everything from chopping to air frying to creating plant milk. You could spend hundreds – or even THOUSANDS – of dollars equipping your kitchen like this.
But do you really need to? Can you cook delicious meals from scratch without all those bells and whistles?
I believe you absolutely can, and I’m speaking from experience.
Here’s how I know.
I’m living the nomad life right now over in Europe, and often, my kitchen leaves something to be desired when I compare it with my well-equipped cooking area back home.
So, I’ve had to be creative using the things that I have on hand to make the food I want to make. There are all sorts of ways you can skate by without gadgets and cook delicious food, even with a very limited kitchen. I rarely have things like blenders, food processors, and a different cooking vessel for everything I wish to make. And yet I still manage to make tasty, healthy, and filling meals.
Substitutes for common kitchen gadgets
You may not be bopping from stay to stay, but you might be in a position in which buying things for your kitchen is financially out of reach. Here are a few of the things I’ve done to be able to cook without the ideal tools.
Skillet: I arrived at one place, delighted to see that there were eggs, butter, and bread left by the host. Alas, there was no skillet. The only cookware was a baking pan. I used aluminum foil to make a little cup to break my eggs into, and then I laid bread right on the rack for toast. It turned out delicious!
Whisk: You can whip up a mean crepe or baked good using just a fork.
Food processor: Go old school and just use a knife and a cutting board to mince your veggies or fruits.
Blender: Want to make a puree? Chop whatever you want to puree finely, then put it into a cooking pot with a little bit of water and simmer it until you can mash it. For mashing, use either a potato masher or a fork.
Crockpot: One thing I miss desperately is my slow cooker. I haven’t seen one the entire time I’ve been in Europe but I talked to a lady who cooks at a traditional restaurant to ask her what she uses for making a delicious stew. She told me she puts it all in the oven on lowish heat – about 325F – sealed up with foil. It generally takes 4-6 hours for her stew to be perfect. (And boy, can I vouch for the perfection!)
Rolling pin: Need to roll out some dough? No rolling pin? Don’t despair. Use a clean can of soda or beer or even a bottle of wine, and roll away to your heart’s content.
Miscellaneous slicers: I’m always kind of stunned when I see kitchens with such gadgets as egg slicers, avocado slicers, and the like. It should go without saying but for the love of penny pinchers, just use a knife.
Toaster: I love toast with the passion of a thousand love stories. Sorry, not sorry, no gluten-free for me. Toast with butter, toast with peanut butter…YUM. But I haven’t been to too many places here in Europe that are equipped with a toaster. I’ve got three different substitutes. One apartment had a sandwich press or meat grill – one or the other, the kind that folds shut on your food and cooks both sides at the same time – it works GREAT for toast. You can also throw your bread in the oven right no the rack at a low heat to make toast. And finally, make it like a grilled cheese sandwich without the cheese. (Or with cheese, I won’t judge you.) Slather both sides with butter and fry it up in a skillet.
Vegetable peeler: Go old school and just use a paring knife. Better yet, scrub your potatoes and leave the peel on – just tell everyone it’s healthier!
Bread machines: Admittedly, they’re really nice to have, but you can easily make bread without them. Just whip up your favorite dough and pop it in the oven!
Use your ingenuity and you’ll probably be able to make anything you want without splurgy gadgets!
What kitchen gadgets do you think are unnecessary?
What are your thoughts on this? Do you swear by some of the gadgets that I suggested you could do without? Are there other commonly used gadgets you wouldn’t allow to take up your valuable kitchen real estate? Have you made do with some oddball things in the kitchen? when you were without the “perfect” item? What are your must-haves in the kitchen?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.