All my plates came from the Salvation Army, when my former roommate went down and bought eight plates with cobalt blue somewhere in the pattern. I’m in no hurry to replace them with something matching. At least half of my drinking glasses used to contain POM tea or jelly or pickles or roasted red peppers. Bowls come from cheap import stores in Chinatown. I do have a complete set of nice silverware that was a Christmas gift – if I waited until marriage and “registering” to acquire it, I’d be eating with cheap Ikeaware well into my 40s.
However, I’ve been steadily acquiring some nice cookware, like a Le Creuset soup pot, a ceramic knife that has its own sheath so you don’t cut your fingers off pulling it out of the drawer, and a good cast iron skillet. I stay within my grad student budget by shopping the back wall of TJ Maxx on State Street, where you can find peppermills as tall as kindergarteners, Torani syrup, Christmas-themed placemats, and the occasional thing that you actually want for $12-$25 instead of $200. Maybe someday my kitchen will look like one of these.
Shown above is a quick summer tomato sauce made from 4-5 tomatoes, a bit of chopped fresh garlic, olive oil, and dried marjoram simmered in what my roommate calls “The Magic Pot.” I eat it over brightly-colored pasta in the bowl I got from the dollar store.
What nice thing can you not live without? Where do you find secret kitchen bargains?