Moving a kitchen is a major undertaking

October 13, 2023

As some of you may know, I have spent the past few weeks packing for a move from my house into an apartment. We all know how challenging that process can be, and including a major downsizing just adds to the joy. I could not have gotten as far as I have without the generosity of friends and family who were ruthless when I asserted that I really needed to keep something we all knew I didn’t.

The tough love started when our son Dave and his wife Becky arrived from Texas. During their time in Lewes, we rented a storage unit, boxed heirlooms and trashed trash, including a visit to the well-run DSWA transfer station (aka the dump). Becky helped me part with duplicate utensils (no one needs six whisks) and a mountain of decorative coffee cups.

One of the hardest steps was selecting which of the four sets of “everyday” china to bring with me. Fortunately, Mary Wesselman lent her packing expertise along with her good judgment to convince me two sets of basic service for four would be plenty. Debbie and Bob LaMorte helped cull out the key pieces of baking gear, wisely suggesting I wouldn’t need the oversized turkey roasting pan or crab-boil pot, since I only had a kitchen dining counter, not a table with chairs for guests.

I selected my favorite half-dozen cookbooks, a combination of family favorites and practical resources, like “Joy of Cooking.” Since so many recipes appear online (and the very same ones appear on a wide range of food blogs and cooking sites) I was willing to relinquish paper for electronic versions of topics and techniques I might want to research or attempt to learn and re-create.

Debra Regan took on the task of packing my spice collection. She shook her head more than once, and I got a few eye rolls when I claimed I needed to bring all 75 jars. Fortunately, she didn’t ask where I planned to store them, as I hadn’t yet figured out the answer. Tri and Brian arrived with their pickup and a hand truck to help cart the less-than-urgent boxes of items into my storage unit.

Next up was the cupboard, filled with lots of half-empty items, many that were well past their best-if-used-by dates. I discarded most of these, keeping the ones that I deemed hardy enough to still be useful, such as the cooking chocolate. (Never throw away chocolate!) I brought cereal, peanut butter, oatmeal, rice and pasta to the new place, along with the barely used can of baking powder and the cupcake liners.

Finally, I faced the refrigerator, where I had been significantly reducing my rate of replacement. Here’s where I found the ingredients that I had likely purchased to make a specific dish for a column, or bottles that were almost (but not quite) empty and I couldn’t bear to throw them away. Of course, I kept the capers, olives, tahini, hoisin sauce and Duke’s mayonnaise (apologies to Hellman’s and Miracle Whip fans.)

Once the boxes arrived at the apartment, where the kitchen has a good supply of cabinets and the refrigerator is larger than the one I left behind, I had to figure out what to put on which shelf or in which drawer. After emptying most of the boxes, I realized I may have to rethink my early decisions – and I may have to make a trip to the grocery to fill in the gaps.

For one of my first meals in the new place, I turned to a comfort-food staple, egg drop soup. Simple ingredients come together in just a few minutes to create a warm, filling dish. Be sure to get the liquid moving in the pot in a circular fashion so the eggs don’t clump up when you add them to the broth. Fortunately, Debra packed my jar of chives, so I could garnish my bowl of soup.

Egg Drop Soup

1 C chicken broth
1/2 t soy sauce
1/4 t toasted sesame oil
1 t water
1/2 t cornstarch
1 egg, beaten 
salt & pepper, to taste
pinch red pepper (optional)
2 t snipped chives

In a small saucepan, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a boil. While broth is heating, stir together water and cornstarch into a slurry, making sure to remove any lumps. Add to the soup and stir to combine into a smooth texture. Stir the soup to create a whirlpool effect and gently pour in the beaten egg. Cook for about 1 minute. Egg will blossom into cooked strands. Season to taste with salt and pepper; add red pepper, if using. Garnish with chives to serve. Yield: 1 serving.

Tomato Soup

1 T olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
2 C chopped tomato 
2 C vegetable broth
1 T shredded basil
salt & pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil over medium in a saucepan. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add tomato and cook for a few minutes. Stir in broth and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables have disintegrated. Purée with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese to serve. Yield: 4 servings.

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