Most newlyweds have matching china and complete silverware settings, not to mention stand mixers and food processors. David and I are so lacking in this department -- our stand mixer currently living in storage -- that we are worshiping the old electric tea kettle that came with the flat. Our place is furnished, as are most apartments in Edinburgh, but furnished to an American foodie is different. I can deal without the appliances (we have a toaster and some mismatched forks), having gotten a reminder from the Oyster Evangelist that I can still make homemade pasta without a pasta roller (although, I need to buy a rolling pin, now that I think about it). What's driving me mad, though, is having to start completely over in the kitchen -- with a student budget.
Something I have always admired about European lifestyle is the lack of supermarket. Folks here tend to buy groceries for a day or two, rather than a week or two. You eat better ingredients that way, and you don't get stuck eating Ramen and/or peanut butter. Still, the same thing is equally frustrating: I basically go to the grocer's every day. Dinner serves us, and then doubles for lunch the next day. But then we're back to tea with jam and bread (do-re-mi!). Or toast, if I'm feeling fancy.
Part of the reason is that we are starting from scratch in the pantry. We had to buy salt, pepper, and olive oil, and then with every new recipe comes some new need: coriander or turmeric or ginger, etc. With a well-stocked kitchen, cooking at home is certainly cheaper than dining out. But when you have to spend £4-5 on spices every day, that Bangladeshi take-out place that's on the walk to the grocery is more and more appealing.
The key, I think, is soup, preferably soup with no more than four ingredients (including salt & pepper). Yesterday I made a carrot & coriander soup (coriander = cilantro, my American friends). Today I'll probably make French Onion soup because all that's left in the pantry is onions and butter. And toast, of course.
I'd love to hear from you with vegetarian recipes that involve very few ingredients and no specialty appliances.
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