Small Kitchen, Massive Pan

Singapore Noodles in a Huge Pan

Over the weekend, we toured a submarine. In the bunks, the engine room, and the galley kitchen, every gadget fit neatly into the storage space available. Compactness was the going criterion, and minimalism the approach. Was there a small kitchen tip here?

I thought about it. You would imagine we’d want to mimic this efficiency in a city kitchen of limited size, that we’d want to own only those pots that stack like a puzzle in our tiny cabinet. But that mindset doesn’t take into account a cooking truth, that even in small kitchen, bigger is sometimes better. Get me off this submarine!

I’m talking about bigger in terms of surface area. So much of a food’s flavor comes from the browning that happens when squash or garlic or beef is exposed to heat. Crowd a skillet or throw too many mushrooms onto a baking sheet, and you’ll have steamed mush, not crispy golden delicacies. On top of that, you’ll make less of a mess: fewer pots of rice will boil over, fewer squares of tofu will fly out of the pan, and grease splatters will decorate less of your kitchen wall. Go big, I’m serious.

In other words, this quick post is written just to encourage you to buy the 12-inch skillet instead of the 8-inch one when you’re stocking your kitchen. Reach for it when you caramelize onions, stir-fry squash, and simmer perfect pasta and sauce. Even if you’re cooking for one or two, let your ingredients have the run of the kitchen, let them enjoy the full expanse of your XL pots and pans.

(Pictured: Singapore Curry Noodles in a bigger-than-usual pan.)

 

  • http://www.goodstuffathome.com/ Anthony

    I agree 100%. No one likes “steamed mush”. And I learned to cook on a massive flat top grill while working at a diner. Once you have that much room it’s tough to cook in a tiny little pan.

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