What I can’t live without

It is often said that the cultural isolation of international travel teaches a person a lot about herself. It’s taught me something, namely, that I cannot live without a good sharp knife.

In theory, we live in a fully stocked hotel suite.

In fact, something is always lacking, usually a quality butcher’s knife.

Our current suite came equipped with brand new IKEA knives. I love IKEA, I do, but these knives fail to meet  minimum standards. Their blades are not sturdy enough.

I blame my father for this.

When I made my first house purchase, he surveyed my kitchen and said that all a good cook needs is an butcher’s knife and frying pan.  My countertop was choked with small kitchen appliances and there was some evidence I had fallen prey to a convincing Tupperware saleswoman, as revealed by the waterfall of plastics that spilled out when some unaware guest opened a random cabinet door.

Over 20 spatulas reside at my cottage kitchen, which is only a two-month home, but I can defend that on the grounds that it is shared by many guest chefs over the summer. Well, maybe there are 30 spatulas.

In my city home, until I did a little purging before moving to Switzerland, over 60 people could have showed up unannounced for lunch and not one would have eaten off a plastic or paper plate.  That’s how many ceramic dishes I had.

So yes, I overstock. Just a little.

Dad’s subtle point was that I did not need so much, but what do I need? I revisit that question every time we move, which is a lot of times. In some way, he programmed my brain with that comment, because as I look back over the years, in every new allegedly fully stocked kitchen, the first thing I do is add a good-quality butcher’s knife.  I only just realized it today.

But his message to live sparely did not stick: The knife-purchase is only the first sign that the floodgates are about to open. After the knife comes frying pans, bowls, organizers, snap-top plastic bins. I’m trying to not buy such things, and yet, I do.

I admire my friends who live with whatever they can fit into a knapsack as they trudge around Asia for months – or years – at a time. But I do not want to be one of them, so help me Martha Stewart.

6 thoughts on “What I can’t live without

  1. Haha. And lest we forget – there were times we could not fit all the plastic containers in the cupboards at home. Perhaps they breed.

  2. Isn’t Henkel swiss? Isn’t there a Swiss army knife factory nearby? There must be good knives available. Let’s hear about the hunt. With details.

  3. As soon as you purge and get rid of something you haven’t used in a couple of years you will need it with in the next month 😀

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