This post originally appeared on February 6, 2020, in Add to Cart — the weekly newsletter for people who love shopping (almost) as much as they love eating. Subscribe now.
As far as cooking tools go, I’ve been in acquisition mode for some time now, between entering my 30s (and realizing it was time for my old dorm-kitchen tools to go), getting married (and getting a ton of registry gifts), and, um, working in this job. I love new products; I hate figuring out how to store them. Traditional cabinets — wide, deep, with maybe one shelf — just don’t work for the jumble of pots and Dutch ovens and sheet pans and Pyrex containers and other heavy, oddly shaped, and unbendable items I try to stuff in there. It doesn’t help that I live in a small rental in an old New York City building, without the kind of newly renovated kitchen that contains more thoughtfully designed drawers and cabinets.
It’s not that there aren’t any storage solutions or hacks out there. Products promising to ease my cabinet issues fill the aisles of Bed Bath & Beyond, not to mention dedicated spots like the Container Store, and DIY hack videos abound online. And yet nothing has seemed groundbreaking or solved all my problems — which is why I’m cautiously optimistic about the next breed of cookware startups.
Caraway is a recently founded direct-to-consumer pots-and-pans company whose main selling point, beyond the usual startup cookware pitch (nonstick yet nontoxic, stylish colors, costs less than Le Creuset), is its accompanying storage system. At first blush, the system — consisting of a magnetic rack that looks sort of like a magazine holder, into which you slip your pots on their sides, and a lid holder that’s basically a hanging shoe rack — seems too simple to be all that disruptive. Also, the storage comes with the pots, which lord knows I don’t need more of. But the fundamental idea of considering kitchen storage hand-in-hand with kitchen tools is, to me, a very good one. If this is where cookware startups are headed, I’m all ears.
Things to buy
- The one kitchen organization hack I have found to be helpful thus far is shelf risers. The ones I have now are made of sterile gray metal, so I’m intrigued by these white-washed wood shelf risers by Open Spaces, a new home organization brand from Pattern, which also founded cookware startup Equal Parts.
- Unrelated to my pots-and-pans problems, I strive to be the kind of person who organizes their spices and other dry goods in neat, beautifully lined-up oversized Mason jars, as seen in the kitchen of Annie Kamin of San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate, who’s also a 2019 Eater Young Gun. (If only I had the shelf space...)
- For all the Maryland natives out there, this “Spicier Than Old Bay” sweatshirt is for you.
- These porcelain “crinkle cups,” used to serve panna cotta at ABC Pony in Washington, D.C., pack a ton of charm (and perhaps nostalgia for your college beer pong days).
Things to know
- Bottled cocktail company Wandering Barman (mentioned in this newsletter a few months ago) is now opening its own “cocktail brewpub,” where the innovation is producing batch cocktails on-site and making them available on tap.
- As someone only vaguely familiar with tiffins, the cylindrical metal lunchboxes used widely in India, I never knew they were part of a massive, complex daily lunch delivery system in cities like Mumbai.
- Smoothie bowls are a beautiful lie.
- “Making a perfect Bolognese lasagna might seem like an odd form of clout-chasing, but most people can’t party like they’re 25 forever… At a certain point, people want to start signaling that they’ve evolved as humans, and cooking is the perfect cultural signifier for the job.”
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