Kitchen essentials

by Rebecca Bricker on November 16, 2014

What if you moved to another country – what would your kitchen absolutely have to have?

I must confess I’m NOT a cook. When I returned to California last winter, I lived for six months with one skillet, one pot, a casserole dish, a baking dish, a pizza pan and two pumpkin bread pans (I love pumpkin bread). Add to that a juicer and a blender (of course) and a mixer. When my son came to visit at Christmas, he asked, “Mom, where’s your toaster?”

I thought about that for a moment. “Do I own a toaster?”

Losing track of your stuff is one of the perils of moving things in and out of storage. I did own a toaster in the not too distant past, but either I gave it away or it’s buried in a box somewhere.

My fully-furnished apartment in Florence is equipped with everything – down to knives, spoons and forks.

But there are times I find myself reaching for things that are missing: a spatula, a whisk, a pancake flipper, a strainer, a colander, a cookie sheet, a pizza cutter (it’s Italy for cryin’ out loud). So I began making a list of essentials…

It was a bit of a scavenger hunt. But eventually I found everything. The most elusive item: ice cube trays.

In addition to those essential utensils, I acquired the best blender I’ve ever owned, along with a juicer – and yes, a toaster that has two wire baskets to heat frozen items and panini. I found smoothie straws at IKEA (essential for margaritas). I’ve added some Italian items that are now essential to my cucina:  a collection of gelato spoons (from my neighborhood gelateria), a hand-blown shot glass and a ceramic pour-spout for olive oil.





I love that my cucina italiana has espresso cups. I bought a tea cup and few mugs, which aren’t standard issue here. I also succumbed to some lovely additions to my Italian ceramics collection.
















I can hear my friend Peg, who helped me purge my storage units in Pasadena: “NOOOO! No more dishes!”

Not to worry, Peg…they’re little dishes.   And essential. 😉




Hand-painted ceramics by Artesia in Certaldo Alto:


Jackie lamothe November 16, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Yes….tell Peg those precious small dishes ARE essential !
Have a safe trip over and the granrest of Holidays at home!

Rebecca Bricker November 16, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Thank you, Jackie. I need backup here! 😉

Thom November 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm

My knives, my whisk, my measuring spoons, and a cast iron skillet are all required. I would also keep my spaetzle maker and mandoline. But I cook a lot!


Rebecca Bricker November 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Spaetzle maker? Madoline? Must google.

Maggie November 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Hi Rebecca,
Thanks for the ceramic link! When my friend and I come to visit next year, this shop will be one of our stops for sure! Please post any other nice places to shop for nice Italian items.

Canada :-)

Rebecca Bricker November 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Hi Maggie – Certaldo Alta (the ancient village on the hill above the new town of Certaldo) is a lovely day trip from Florence (just under an hour by train). Let me know your itinerary – I’m happy to offer suggestions. Email me: :)

Gaya November 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm

We are enjoying the gift of your little dish or ‘merenda plate’ very much. Love em little dishes!!

Rebecca Bricker November 17, 2014 at 10:55 pm

the one with the owls – such a sweet design :)

jackie mayo November 17, 2014 at 9:51 pm

I took my mother to the Deruta factory and she bought out the store! I still have fourteen dinner plates plus so many gorgeous pieces from mugs to expresso cups etc etc. all in the rooster pattern. I have never tired of any of the pieces…the deviled egg dish is a favorite. The soup tureen got broken with my heart.

Rebecca Bricker November 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Deruta! Oh my. Would love to see your collection sometime!

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