What's in your kitchen? What is your kitchen?


The subject of 'kitchens' has been front and foremost my mind, again. The renovations on the house that I talked about a few months ago haven't really progressed much beyond what you see there. We temporarily ran out of funds, then I got sick and lost interest for a while, and on and on. But now...I want a kitchen! I have been pinning kitchen ideas almost daily on Pinterest while I wait for the necessary funds to come in. Imagine being a professional food writer, ostensibly, and not even having a kitchen. It's not easy, folks. I would normally flee to Japan to take advantage of my mom's kitchen there, but my current physical condition doesn't allow me to do that. Bummer. In the meantime we are still making do with two portable burners, a tiny refrigerator...and we have to do the dishes in the bathroom sink. My patience is wearing a bit thin to say the least.

Anyway, this post is actually inspired by something else - a review left for the Just Bento Cookbook on Amazon.com. It's not a bad review really - 4 stars is not bad after all - but the reviewer complained that the book is "not really good for American kitchens'. This got me thinking about about, what exactly is an American kitchen these days? Doesn't a kitchen, and the ingredients it stocks, evolve over time? For instance, something like sriracha sauce was unheard of in most American kitchens just a few years ago, and now I suspect quite a few have it in their pantries along with the ketchup and the A-1 Steak Sauce. Maybe instead of those traditional, "All-American" sauces.

And so, here is an it's-Friday-let's-have-fun type of little questionnaire for you!

Question 1: The Amazon reviewer seems to see her kitchen as an "American kitchen". If you had to describe yours in one short phrase, what would it be?

Question 2: What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? (Up to 3)

Question 3: What new ingredient (s) have you discovered recently (say within the last couple of years) that is now part of your regular rotation?

Here are my answers!

Q1: - Japanese-French-American-offbeat (evidence of the offbeat part: Marmite...need I say more?)

Q2: - Soy sauce, Tabasco, and katsuobushi (bonito flakes)

Q3: - Almond butter. I use this now over peanut butter, because I can get unsweetened, additive-free almond butter at our local 'bio' (health food) store but it's almost impossible to get decent peanut butter in France. Also, thick buttery crème fraîche from Brittany - so unlike the much thinner stuff I was used to before.

How about you? ^_^

(ETA: By no means am I saying that the Amazon reviewer was somehow wrong. It is her opinion, how can she (or he) be wrong? But I think from now on I will refrain from commenting publicly on any Amazon reviews of my work, negatively or positively. It seems there is an unwritten rule there that authors are not allowed to do that. ^_^;)

Filed under:  essays kitchens

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1) American, with multi ethnic interests
2) Olive oil, pasta (of any ethnicity), rice vinegar
3) Miso, rice vinegar, curry paste

I have to disagree with that reviewer you mentioned. I love your cookbook, use it quite often, and found the ingredients and techniques very suitable to an American kitchen. You do have to be willing to try a few new ingredients- but then, why would you buy a cookbook unless it's to give you new things to try?

1. British / English

2. Tinned Tomatoes, Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Dijon Mustard

3. Agave Syrup. A bit like Maple Syrup, but much lower GI, and just as tasty IMHO.

Q1 multi-culti, low-carb
Q2 Surinaamse Ananassambal, Black Bean Garlic Sauce, Pimento
Q3 Almondflower

Q1: A globally influenced kitchen I suppose
Q2: Salt, soy sauce, black pepper
Q3: Rice vinegar, I've been finding increasingly more and more recipes that require it & several of those recipes have become frequent fridge-staples.

Hello Maki!!
I hope you and your husband had a great year and pass a great festivities.

Q1: If you had to describe yours in one short phrase, what would it be?
R: Latin-American-Asian with a little bit of European(British):)

Q2: What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? (Up to 3)
R: Soy Sauce, Ginger and Spices ;)

Question 3: What new ingredient (s) have you discovered recently (say within the last couple of years) that is now part of your regular rotation?
R: Thai Sweet Chili Sauce because for use all chili have to be rely hot and it give the food a touch of hot whit out be like the jalapeño or the havanero we normally have; and Lemon Grass paste in Panama we use herb just for tea :)...

Question 1: Limited, cramped and multi-ethnic ;)
Question 2: Rice(varied), Pasta(varied), flour(varied)
Question 3: Curry powder, sushi vinegar, turmeric

Q1: Asian (Chinese and--because of this site--increasingly Japanese)-American, with a tendency towards spice collecting.

Q2: Crushed red pepper and minced/chopped onions (dried, though I prefer fresh onions when I have them)

Q3: Hmm... perhaps mirin or shaoxing wine. As my cooking moved beyond pasta and ramen noodles, I've found them essential for my more Asian endeavors.

But really, what are staples in an American kitchen? I can easily identify Chinese/Japanese staples (soysauce, mirin, shaoxing, sesame oil, miso, etcetcetc). But.. mayo, ketchup, and mustard aren't exactly... cooking ingredients. <.<;; maybe i'm actually not a very "american" cook at all... perhaps herbs? like thyme, rosemary, basil, sage?

1. Underused vegetarian hovel
2. Brown rice, good olive oil, curry roux
3. Quinoa! So tasty, so filling, so good for you. Makes a good substitute for rice or even spaghetti, tastes good on salads, and if I could figure it out I'd try to replicate this fantastic mushroom-quinoa veggie burger a pub downtown makes =d

[quote=ali]1. Underused vegetarian hovel[/quote]

that made me laugh! ^___^ (At the moment I guess my 'kitchen' would be 'indoor shack with 'mixed' flooring')

Q1: - American-Japanese-Italian

Q2: - Pastas (all kinds), soy sauce, garlic (in all forms: cloves, minced in a jar, powdered)

Q3: - Edamame, pomegranates (do those count? lol), dijon mustard

I have your book and would disagree that it is not suitable for American kitchens. While I am Japanese American, I am still American and have an American kitchen! I thought your book did a great job of bridging both cuisines, but used Japanese ingredients that tend to be available in most US cities or could be found online.

My responses:

Q1: A perpetual mess, but both Japanese (rice cooker and hot water dispenser both by Zojirushi) and American (toaster oven, large dishwasher)

Q2: Japanese white rice, Japanese brown rice, Chinese jasmine rice (ha ha, that is only one type of food! So maybe I should also add: chicken broth, black beans)

Q3: agave syrup to use as a sweetener instead of sugar.

1: American, with a strong helping of Chinese and Italian
2: Soy sauce, pasta, olive oil
3: Chipotle powder, adds chili flavor and depth without too much heat

I think of an "American kitchen" as having a multi-burner stove, fridge, and oven since these may not be available in other parts of the world.

Q1: american but prefers asian/mediterranean flavors-but also primarily vegetarian
Q2:olive oil, soy sauce, garlic/pepper
Q3: jicama, smoked paprika (the two taste really good together) flax seed mixed w/rice ~gives it a heartier flavor

not really sure what american means either or why the second half of the book at least wouldn't have worked for a lot of people such as the bento with a sandwich? Part of the problem may be what people's basic pantries consist of-like at my one friend's house the only soy sauce she had was the packets you get from take-out. so if it's household like that it might be harder to use more of the recipes for such a household.

1) Cheap standard American apartment.
2) Fish Sauce (I use Three Crabs Brand), Cucumber Pickles (either Sweet or Spicy, rarely dill), Roasted Black Sesame Seeds.
3) Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chili), Peanut Butter (I know, pretty standard...but I was never a fan and hadnt had it in many years, but suddenly really love it, so it is more of a rediscovery I suppose).

Q1: Quite global (I regularly cook Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, Persian and Peruvian recipes for instance)

Q2: Sesame seeds (I love them on just about anything), gochujang, soy sauce

Q3: Shichimi togarashi (just like sesame seeds, I sprinkle it on top of tons of things) and nam prik pao (spicy Thai chili sauce, very easy to make, keeps long in the fridge and super versatile).

1. Asian(Chinese/Japanese/Korean) American, Exploring healthier foods
2. Magi, Olive oil, oyster sauce
3. Quinoa, Israeli couscous, cauliflower

q1: well its hard to say. french canadian/american? Do we even count as different? With some asian stuff mixed with it, as i love asian cooking.

q2: Maple syrup (no, seriously, i buy a gallon of the stuff each 2 years.), tomato sauce and fines herbes. I have alot more that i use regulary, but those 3 are the most versatile and if i don't have one of those three, i'm usually very sad.

q3: Thai sauce/teriyaki sauce. I love those. For some they are everyday basic, but for me, raised on a total french canadian regime, with little "exotic" recipe, it was very refreshing to introduce those to my recipes. Of course my husband isn't fond of them, but i'm alone for my lunch, and i sure put some in my recipe for my bento!

I would classify i think in those that would say " not for an american kitchen". The main reason: there is no asian store anywhere near me! I love cooking differents types of cuisine, but sadly, i'm stuck with almost only the big groceries, and while they do begin here to put more "exotic" stuff (heck, one of them even begin to carry pocky!) it is kind hard for me to find some basics, like dashi. But we got alot of fresh vegetables,meats and fruits, being in "the agroalimentaire technopole" with lots and lots of farmers coming at the market almost all year round. Same goes for the kitchen tools, most boutiques doesn't know what i am talking about, or they are really overpriced. (thanks for the internet!) I could go to montreal, but my hubby isnt fond of passing a whole afternoon just to go groceries shopping in the chinese district.

I sure hope that soon, i will be able to buy your book (i'm moving soon, so commands on the internet are a big no-no!) and don't worry, if right, the book got some ingredients "hard to find" for "american kitchen", with the mondialisation and people getting more and more varied tastes, i'm sure it won,t be a problem for long. Don't even consider it. When you write some recipes that are "exotic", it is normal for some ingredients, somewhere in the world, to be hard to find.

*French-Canadian highfive*
I also buy two boxes of 8 cans of maple syrup (on average) each year. I think that stuff is part of our bloodstream :)

1) British / Japanese / Desi.
2) Tinned tuna, garlic, potatoes, onions.
3) Tamarind, smoked paprika, podina masala.

1) Multi-Cultural
2) pasta (any kind), soy sauce, honey
3) honey

Q1: I have a very eclectic kitchen.
Q2: Penne Pasta, spare jar of sundried tomatos (in olive oil), crushed red pepper
Q3: Steel Cut Oats

One of my favorite go-to dishes is simple penne pasta tossed with sundried tomatoes (in olive oil) + crush red pepper + broccoli or asparagus. While the pasta cooks, I heat the veggies, SD tomatoes, crushed red pepper, +salt/pepper until the veggies are hot but still crunchy... then toss it all together and that's it. One variation also includes chicken chunks cooked in the SD tomato-infused olive oil.

The steel cut oats are super easy to throw in my rice cooker the night before and set the timer for the morning. Makes for a quick, easy & healthy breakfast.

1) Nearly perfect. I designed it to be what I want and it contains everything I need, from an espresso machine to an old laboratory waterbath for sous-vide cooking and cheese making. Without costing a fortune too.

2) Flour(s), sugar(s), salt(s), fats/oils. Can't get by without them, and you can make so much with them. I haven't bought pasta in years.

3) Freeze-dried fruit powder and chunks. Especially the mandarin segments - they're crispy and light as a feather, and absolutely bursting with flavour. So far I haven't found a proper use for them, but they're delicious to eat and I'm sure I'll think of some way to use them. The powders (strawberry, passionfruit, plum, raspberry, etc) are excellent for flavouring and coloring yoghurt, smoothies and even icing. And of course, if you are so inclined, you can use them as fancy schmancy dessert garnishes.

I live in England, I have several American cookbooks and I did now and again have some problem with some ingredients/ substitutions that did not work; but it was all baking recipes and I can't see how they may apply to your book in reverse (which I adore, and I'd fight for it against any nasty reviewer!!).
I totally sympathize with the lack of kitchen, I've moved a lot and I hate not having a normal kitchen..

To your questions:
1) Italian, heavily foodie influenced (ie, if I don't know what it is, I buy it)
2) Olive oil, good salt, chilli flakes
3) Kimchi; almond butter as well (soooo good, also for many cooking recipes! Have you ever tried 'fake' fried chicken? Take some good chicken breast, cut into small cubes, roll in almond butter, salt and pepper and then in panko or breadcrumbs. Cook in a very hot oven until golden - should not take more than five minutes: it is delicious and relatively healthy)

Q1)Healthy-ish vegetarian with strong japanese influence
Q2)Sesame oil, rice vinegar, seaweed (it's a tie between wakame and nori)
Q3) Sesame seeds, i use them everywhere, on vegetables, as a salad topping... And brown tahini, which I use to make things smoother (hummus, cakes...). Greens, also - radish greens, mustard greens... I used to toss those away, now I cook them on a regular basis.

1) Multicultural hybrid with a Greek basis, mostly healthy.
2) Good olive oil, lots of spices, fresh herbs.
3) Date syrup, pyaaz ka lep (Indian onion paste), cashew cream, lemon curd.

Question 1: North American/compact/open/small but mighty!

Question 2: doubangjian, soy sauce and udon!

Question 3: paprika, quality curry paste, and dashi powder

PS: I was going through YouTube videos the other day and discovered this delightful series. It's REALLY well done and I love the footages shot in Japan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orRs3Rhy9Xs Do you know the name of the series?

I agree with anon. that *Just Bento* is Just Fine for an American kitchen. Even my mother's local supermarket in small-town Appalachia has enough of the ingredients to do the recipes credit.

1. American large appliances and layout with assorted international small appliances & gear.

2. Ponzu, smoked paprika, and lemons.

3. Yuzukoshô. I always used it in the usual ways, but I've started being creative with it since a friend's grandmother gave me a large jar of her homemade (so I don't have to ration it out and so that I use it up within the decade).

1. While I am in America I would have to say American-Japanese-Italian kitchen with a bit of Middle Eastern-Egyptian thrown in.
2. Olive oil, mirin and soy sauce
3. Miso miso and more miso.

Interesting about that review. While I think there are a lot of people in America who have all kinds of things in their kitchens because we really do have a lot of people from all over the world who cook all kinds of food, there are people who still stick with the kinds of foods that came out of the 1950's and 60's in America and haven't ventured beyond that. Either from lack of information or not willing to try new things.

I think it's great that reviewer got your book because it shows they want to try new things. But I do think it's kind of wrong to state "American" kitchen since there are so many different kinds of cooking here now. Maybe "retro American" or "retro Betty Crocker cookbook kitchen" might have been closer to what her kitchen is like?

Question 1: Mostly Lebanese but with a wide global influence
Question 2: Berbere (I grew up in Ethiopia), Pasta(varied), Za'atar
Question 3: Ras al Hanout (brought it with me from a trip to Maghreb), Choriascuro (smoked paprika like pepper from Southern Spain), Black Gold rub from Savory Spice Shop which is to die for...

1: Gerpaneseican, I guess ;-) Basically German, Japanese and American. German, because well, I am German and always have lots of food and ingredients shipped that I can't get here. Japanese because it is my favorite cuisine aside from German food. American because the rest of the family is not always into all the German or Japanese foods ;-)

2: Rauchfleisch (A German cured, smoked and air-dried ham, very hard, dry and salty. Wonderful flavor), Rice (so versatile) and Nutella, because it's so amazing =P

3: X.O. Sauce. Ever since discovering it last year I keep finding new ways of using it and I think I became addicted to it!

Question 1: American-Japanese

Question 2: panko, thai chili sauce, sesame seeds

Question 3: black sesame seed/salt furikake, mirin, green chiles

This is fun - thanks for sharing, maki & I <3 <3 <3 your cookbook! My roommate gave it to me as a present & it's wonderful!!

Question 1: Chinese-American, with some Italian. Most of our produce is of the Chinese variety since I'm Chinese & the one that does that kind of shopping, but the RM is very American & bakes more. But we both like Italian food!

Question 2: Rice, sesame oil, soy sauce

Question 3: Mirin - I use it in place of sugar to marinate meat. :)

I do wonder what the reviewer meant by an "American kitchen" though. The only thing I could think of was some of the ingredients & utensils, but I've found most supermarkets carry the basics like soy sauces & such...

1 - My kitchen is Asian (I'm Filipino-American and my caucasian husband worked as a cook in a traditional Chinese restaurant; I also make Japanese food from time to time), Mexican (because I'm Mexican-American, too), Italian (hubby is Sicilian-American) and, well, American.
2 - My pantry is stuffed with rice (all kinds from short-grain Calrose and arborio to long-grain brown and pilaf mixes), spicy condiments (several mustards, Tapatio Mexican hot sauce, Sriracha, chili garlic sauce, salsa, etc.) and soy sauce (we buy it by the gallon).
3 - The newest ingredient we've started using are baby portabella mushrooms. I've always liked standard portabella mushrooms, button mushrooms and shiitake, but the baby 'bellas are a nice change-up and are interchangeable compared to the three regular 'shrooms we eat. So, baby 'bellas get thrown in marinara, pancit and in salads, while simplifying our grocery list.

1) Eclectic.
2) Olive oil, soy sauce, beer. (Yes, beer. I make a lot of hearty winter soups/stews that are improved by a bottle of something.)
3) Tofu scramble mix.

If the reviewer thought your book wasn't compatible with an American kitchen, it only means that she isn't serious about cooking and doesn't want to be. I'm American. And my kitchen is set up so that I could prepare any dish in your book with no special effort whatsoever. Granted I had to buy a rice cooker and find a different grocery store, but that's been only a benefit.

My parents, on the other hand, also have an American kitchen--and you'd starve before you found any food that wasn't intended to be heated up in two minutes and eaten in front of the TV.

Both examples are true. An American kitchen is unique to the individual; thus the term has no meaning. The reader's comment should be parsed as, "I don't have any of that funny foreign stuff in my house and I don't know anybody that would."

In other words, it's BS; ignore it.

(apologies if this posts twice; having difficulties)

1: Small American/European with tastes of Indian, Chinese/Japanese, and some middle eastern cuisine

2: chicken, basic baking/bread making ingredients, dried pasta

3: Garam masala is the one thing I can think of that I've found in the last couple years, and it's used in a lot of Indian food.

I'm on a tight budget and have a hard time finding some ingredients in my current area (apparently people around me don't cook much--even finding decent sized bags of flour can be tricky if you don't know where to look!), but I love to try new foods! The only thing is, I don't like fishy flavored things (which includes nori and other seaweed type things as well as fish itself). I've tried and tried, but even things that people say "don't taste fishy" tend to taste too strong of fish for me. :(

1)French / Canadian / British with Japanese influences

2) garlic, soy sauce and olive oil

3) Worchester sauce, it makes everything taste better! Also, mentaiko sauce which I loved when we lived in Japan but can't seem to find in the UK sadly.

Q1: We have a world kitchen, food and ingredients from anywhere. We cook Italian, Dutch, Indonesian, Japanese (incl sushi), Vietnamese, Thai, Irish, etc etc.
Q2: Rice,Ketjap Manis, sesame oil
Q3: Cashew Vinegar, anchovies, katsuobushi, Thai basil

We are fortunate in many ways: 1) we travel and happily eat local wherever we are in the world. 2)We live in Toronto where getting almost any food imaginable is possible, 3) we love to cook and experiment, 4) we take cooking lessons with chefs on our cruises.

I read the specific review, it is hardly the fault of your book that the individual can't find the ingredients locally :-). But in the US mail order is available, not so much in Canada.

1. American, Asian, Mediterranean, mixed
2. Onions, garlic (fresh, powdered), tomatoes (& products)
3. Ko choo jang (that's what the jar label says)

My pantry and refrigerator contents do not resemble those of my friends. I use many Asian products (nam pla, chili pastes, shoyu, noodles) because I like stirfrys. Also loads of different pastas, oils, various kinds of rice, a ton of different spices. I buy things to use in interesting recipes I come across -- then wonder later what I'm supposed to use coconut creme powder or shrimp paste for!

Love your book and my several bento containers -- thanks to you.

1 Scottish/Japanese with definite interest in offbeat ingredients and mainly non-meat based. Small.
2 eggs, bread, oats, frozen peas
3 maple syrup, scottish oatmeal,butternut squash

1: American kitchen, Japanese-American-mishmash pantry.
2: rice, soy sauce, green tea.
3: Tobanjan and kochujang - I'm finally warming up to spicier fare. Also I rediscovered the Mediterranean bar with its olives, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic. Also found some good recipes for kale and Brussels sprouts.

I wonder if the "American kitchen" also has to do with the fact that many Japanese bento boxes and dishes can't be put in the dishwasher (since Japanese households don't have one). I was horrified when my mother-in-law put the pretty bowls I got her into the dishwasher, even after I tried explaining it to her.

never thought about it that way, but it seems to be true that many asian (not just japanese) households don't have dishwashers, or even ovens.

people always laugh whenever i mention that my mother uses both our dishwasher & oven for storage. :P

Q1: I'd call mine a "Vancouver Kitchen"
Q2: Pasta, rice, canned salmon
Q3: Sesame oil (I don't know why I never used it before ...)

The reason why I say "Vancouver Kitchen" is because I have typical "western" foods mixed in with some Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, etc) and some South Asian (Indian) foods. Coming from Vancouver, BC, Canada - when you look around at the people here, the restaurants, and the grocery stores ... these are the cultures you see all over the place.
I think I'm very lucky that I don't have to go to expensive specialty stores to find so called "exotic" ingredients.

1. Ecclectic. There's so many different cooking utensils and foods in my kitchen I don't know what to classify it as.
2.Peanut butter (kids love it), miso soup mix, and rice.
3. Tinned eel. I recently discovered it at a local supermarket. The sauce is a bit strong so I rinse it, peel out the spine, and eat it over steamed rice. Yum!

Q1- Small american apartment, venturing into a few ethnic foods (mexican and japanese), but mostly only room for staples of the recipies we make often.

Q2- Diced tomatoes (particularly flavored kind, like sweet onion or lime cilantro), bread, cheese. When we've run out of ingredients for whatever recipie I'm in the mood for at the time, the tasty and easy fallback is grilled cheese sandwiches, and it's a good thing I love them. :) If I can add a 4th staple, it's fresh onions.

Q3- Sesame oil! I love the extra bit of flavor it adds to all my stirfries and sauteed vegetables! Much better than the typical vegetable oil we keep around.

Yeah, I think the reviewer must have meant "typical american kitchen" as in the ingredients kept stocked. I found that until the last couple years, our local grocery stores didn't carry hardly any asian ingredients except soy sauce, and the "local" asian market was difficult to navigate unless you were familiar with what you needed to describe it to the foreign proprietor. (Who was Korean anyway and so didn't always know what we meant. Maybe it was just the language barrier). Seeing example pictures of foreign ingredients can help at least get an idea of what on earth a bottle of "mirin" might look like, or what the japanese character might look like on the bottle, which can help, otherwise you just have to be at the mercy of whichever company can import with english labels or of someone who does know what they're doing!

Some of the typical staples I would think of for an american kitchen would be ketchup, mustard, mayo or miracle whip, flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, bread, cheese, potatoes, cream of ____ soup (chicken, celery, mushroom), chicken broth or bullion, beans (maybe), some sort of canned or frozen corn/peas/green beans. Maybe oatmeal.

1) ... Uhm. American historic-building-sublet. I cook everything on an induction plate, toaster, microwave, and crock pot because of a lack of built-ins. (All the surfaces besides the kitchen sink are also modular.)

2) Olive oil, sesame oil, butter. There's a cuisine out there that doesn't start with fat but I haven't found it yet.

3) Hmm. I've just discovered that miso + tomato paste packs a glutamate punch for giving that depth of flavor to vegetarian soups.

Question 1: Eclectic/organic/experimental. I have bits and bobs from all over the world... though I have only ever lived in the Americas.

Question 2: Rice, Beans, and an overstocked spice rack. Add a bunch of veggies and I'm happy!

Question 3: So hard to say! I move about every 6 months to a year, so every place I live I can get different things. My kitchen is an entirely new one every place I live... Lately I have been exploring miso as more than just a soup base... Red curry paste... Chickpea Flour.

In the sense that America is a melting pot of so many wonderful cultures and therefore cuisines, I would have called mine American before I heard that reviewer say that about your book.

Q1 -- My east coast American kitchen is full of fresh, local produce and meats that are prepared Italian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Moroccan, Indian, Greek, Lebanese, or Latin.
A mutt kitchen?

Q2 -- All-time fave pantry staples: Olive oil, low sodium soy sauce, and refrigerated chopped garlic (I know, I know!)

Q3 -- Brown rice pasta is a miracle! It's now the only kind I eat. Rao's tomato sauce -- I'm Italian, the marinara tastes like my grandmother's (my husband gets sticker shock when I ask him to pick it up)!

And, third is ramp mustard from a local farm in Virginia called Bigg Riggs. The taste is unique and fresh and I put it on everything.

BTW, For peanut butter where you can't buy it -- some of the best peanut butter I had was from "recipe" from a 1970s diet. It has you mix raw, unsalted peanuts in a blender with a touch of warm water and sweetener. Actually delicious!

Glad you are doing better and good luck with the kitchen reno!

1. Eclectic.

2. Tofu, Bean & Cheese taco ingredients.

3. Shichimi togarashi. We've also replaced the American mayo entirely with Japanese in the last year.

1. I have a two-step kitchen - everything is only 2 steps away, with multi-cultural ingredients.
2. Olive oil, garlic, soy
3. miso and/or quinoa

1. Messy. Very, very messy american kitchen with a broken oven and some weird foreign stuff like Marmite and buckwheat noodles added.
2. Canned beans (especially black beans and ful medames), hot sauce, pasta or rice. We pretty much always have a wide selection of (somewhat) fresh veggies; I just consider them a given.
3. Ajvar. Serbian salsa. Where has this stuff been all my life? Great on bagels, among other things.

1. Bachelor-who-loves-to-cook
2. Pasta, Sugo, various oils and vinegars
3. Dashinomoto, Miso (Miso soup is my soul food now)

I'd rather prepare dashi myself, but the industrial stuff gets me a soup in a few minutes.

1. Overambitious, cramped, luxurious apartment kitchen. Overambitious because everything tends to get made from scratch, cramped because everything is squeezed into a small area (the pantry food stored in a different room) but luxurious because it does have a full stove/oven, refrigerator and a double sink, which is more than I can say for some places I've lived in.

2. Canned tomatoes, chick peas, garlic or ginger.

3. There are so many things that have become a regular part of my kitchen in the last few years! Wheatberries, miso, tempeh, urfa biber (Isot pepper) and black cardamom. Most recently, perhaps, sake for cooking and sansho pepper. I love its unique citrusy, peppery flavor!

1- French
2- Olive oil, cheese, garlic
3- Soba, Azuki, persimmon

Question 1. American melting pot. I live at home so I have moms straight American fare, and my shelf in the pantry has everything from Japan to Mexico and back.
Question 2. My staples are rice (frozen for the win!), broccoli, and chicken breast. They are always at hand, always. Depending on what sauces, spices and cooking methods I can create dozens of variations and never be bored.
Question 3. This is a tough one, because I only started cooking in the last few years so everything non mom is new, but I love ginger I've found. I buy it at my local Asian market from the reduced bin, it's always there, and grate/mince/chop it up ASAP and throw it in the freezer so when I need it I just grab pre-preped pieces and use!

Question 1: My "American expat in Kanazawa" kitchen: International fusion; Discount veggie rack meets imported peanut butter

(I learned to cook texmex, middle-eastern, and Japanese while living in Japan.)

Question 2:
1. Peanut butter. Dear god, I cannot get enough of it.
2. Tea. Loads and loads of tea, local and imported, black and green
3. Craft beer. Not easy in Kanazawa.

Question 3:
Sesame oil - a friend told me it was the essence of flavor in Japanese cooking. I use it for roasting veggies and making okonomiyaki, too.

My American kitchen was oven-based and involved a lot of salad. My Japanese kitchen is largely gas-range-based and involves a lot of stir-fry.

Q1: Marine sized (I live on a boat) eclectic San Francisco pan cultural-lucky me to live where virtually every "unusual" ingredient can be found

Q2: olive oil, eggs, onions, used virtually every day in every way

Q3: Smoked paprika, Siracha and Garam Masala- how did I ever live without these in my pantry!

Question 1: International. Growing up I lived or traveled all over the world and my kitchen (and house!) reflect that.

Question 2: What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? (Up to 3)Ketcup Manis, Olive Oil, Dried hot peppers.

Question 3: Fish Sauce. I'm not exactly sure how I lived without it before now!

Q1 - Solid english with the most powerfull wok burner i could find

Q2 - All time favourite pantry staples
black peper ( can't live without it) unsalted butter ( use it incessantly in all my cake making) fresh coriander - gota have one fresh herb and this covers lots of bases

Q3 Newest ingredients
Kombu - adds something special to the all season salad on just hungry
Sechuan chili / broad bean sauce - chili with extra complexity

Q4 barry calebaut 811 belgian 55% chocolate - nuff said

1. Vegetarian friendly gluten free eclectic

2. Feta (goat and/or sheep milk)
Rice (white, brown, purple)
Olives - especially garlic stuffed

3. Prepared hot horseradish
Buckwheat noodles

I have a vegetarian kitchen. I didn't learn to cook until after I became vegetarian, 36 years ago. I try all types of cuisine that have many vegetarian dishes: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Middle Eastern and some Mexican.

Pantry staples: onion, garlic and lemons.

I recently found an expanded repertoire of sea salt - Himalayan, Celtic, Hawaiian, smoked. I found an Indian recipe recently that calls for black salt. I will have to track that down.

Black salt is pretty easy to find in any Indian / Asian supermarket, but beware, it absolutely reeks because it has a high sulphur content and it's pretty potent, so a little goes a long way. Because it's so strong you can only really pair it with other strong flavours, it goes well with tamarind for example.

1. Appearance is American, inside is mostly Japanese/Japanized Chinese and Korean.

2. Rice (Koshihikari), panko, soy sauce (Kikkoman)

3. Persian cucumbers from Trader Joe's.

I think Bento is totally doable in American kitchen. The reviewer should see the typical Japanese kitchens where mothers whip up great lunches so magically. I have total respect for those ladies.

Somebody already mentioned this in a comment, the idea of it not being American kitchen friendly because an Asian grocery store may not be near by, and this can be very, very true for a lot of Americans. I live in Seattle so I don't have a problem buying affordable Asian cooking staples. But for my mother who lives three hours away, items like rice vinegar, more "specialty" sauces, and lumpia wrappers either are very expensive or aren't available, so I often buy her what she needs and bring them to her when I visit.

I've been reading your blogs for a while now, and off the top of my head I can think of some cooking utensils that I don't own that you use regularly, but I've found ways around that, but maybe the reviewer can't or didn't think of a suitable alternative?

Question 1: American

Question 2: Canned diced tomatoes with green chilies, chili powder, and ground beef.

Question 3: ... canned diced tomatoes with green chilies, lol! I make a lot of chili and spanish rice.

Q1: Part Finnish part international - Student edition. Just some pans and cans in small apartment.

Q2: Cooking oil, salt and pepper.

Q3: Chili. I used to be afraid of hot stuff, but now, at least sometimes, I feel that food isn't good if eating doesn't hurt. Other new things are moose and reindeer meat. They just taste so much different and somehow more lively. Much better than meat you can buy from stores. Too bad I don't yet have direct connections to hunters or reindeer owners so I can't eat it that regularly.

I have tried lots of different foods from around the world and never had any problems with my lack of equipment. There might be recipes that need a bit creativity, but other than that you can do a lot of stuff just with a cheap pan or two.

Only problem for me is ingredients. It can be a impossible task to find something and others might cost a fortune to even look at. Things are getting better though. Few years ago I couldn't find a tofu anywhere, but now even regular supermarkets sells tofu for actually not bad price.

I can always replace some (or all) ingredients to which suits me or my wallet better, but replacing can be tricky if I don't know what the real stuff tastes or feels like. Ok replaced foods are not authentic, but so what? By chance you can make something much better than original :)

Q1: Rented but always ends up as a fusion between British-Japanese-Asian-American

Q2: white miso, nishiki rice, chicken stock

Q3: currently in love with green tabasco, great on top of scrambled eggs on rice with a sprinkling of chives

Q1 European-meets-Asian-lots-of-veggies
Q2 Olive Oil, Ginger and Garlic
Q3 Cabbage, Himalayan Salt

I don't understand the thing about not being for American kitchens. Most of the ingredients seemed pretty basic to me! A couple special things, but nothing that seemed hard to find.

Question 1: Southern American with Japanese influences; I end up with all kinds of stuff in my cabinets. Grits next to the panko, sorghum syrup next to the ponzu sauce.

Question 2: This is a hard one! Probably potatoes, eggs, and bacon.

Question 3: Miso! I had never had good miso until a couple years ago when we got a new Japanese fusion place aptly called Miso. I'd tried some instant miso soup and thought it was icky, but they have the most amazing miso and tofu soup that I went out and bought some of the good stuff. Such a difference!

1. I would say mine is more typical of american kitchens that most, its a tiny, hole in the wall size apartment kitchen with no counter space and even less cabinet space. And the most american part of it is that I stock it like it's full size.

2. My staples are cheese, worcestershire sauce, and salt. Yum.

3. I have discovered fig preserves, lemon juice and pickled jalapeno.

Q1: Canadian/multicultural with emphasis on Asian and Middle-Eastern flavours and lots of baking.

Q2: Tinned tomatoes, tinned tuna, pasta, garlic dill pickles (what can I say, I moved to the UK for a year where they don't exist and would have killed a person for just one). Then the basic baking staples like flour, sugar, baking powder etc.

Q3: Henderson's Relish. It's basically a vegetarian version of Worcestershire Sauce (which contains anchovies) popular in the north of England. I put it in just about anything savoury now like soups, stews, pasta sauce, and it makes one hell of a ceasar.

Those are good questions,

1- my kitchen is whole-foods based. Very few boxes or cans but a lot of dry grains, beans, spices, herbs. Other than that I would say North-America with several cultural influences.

2- onions, olive oil and legumes

3- coconut milk, curry paste, beets

Question 1: Chinese, Japanese and some American influences

Question 2: Miso, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce

Question 3: Oyster sauce

I wanted to comment on the reader who says that your book is not good for American kitchens.

In general, "American" kitchens are slowly evolving and include an eclectic mix of kitchen tools that include utensils from all over the world. While access to Japanese cooking items and foodstuffs can be a challenge on a local level in the U.S., this can be amended with the Internets. Last I heard, Mitsuwa does ship from their website and there are other places willing to accommodate the reviewer who says they can't make your recipes (which are very understandable, clear and give great directions), due to their own kitchen's fault/limitations. Worst comes to worst, a road trip to another city might help stock their home.

The only big obstacle in cooking any food in the cookbook (or rather, in ANY cookbook) is the level of familiarity with the dishes and understanding how they are made plus knowledge of what you can/can not cook in the kitchen. Curiosity on the food helps too. It sounds like the reviewer made a leap into bento-ing before taking a look at where they were jumping into.

My kitchen is an Irish kitchen with an international outlook: lots of local ingredients supplemented with flavours from around the world.

My three all-time pantry staples are anchovies, Dijon mustard (particularly the Edmond Fallot brand)and garlic.

My latest new discovery is High Orchard apple syrup; the Irish equivalent of maple syrup that is perfect on pancakes, in dressings and (in its latest incarnation) when searing scallops.

1. Sometimes a burden, sometimes a haven!
2. Olive oil, onions, rice
3. Vegetable bouillon

Question 1: Basic equipment with a few basic small appliances

Question 2: Salt, Sugar, Oil

Question 3: Sticky Rice

1. Japanese and Texan. I'm a native Texan, but my husband and I have picked up a great deal of Japanese influence in our cooking.

2. Rice, katsuobushi, satsuma-imo.

3. Natto (wasn't a fan for years but recently discovered my tastes have shifted), shichimi togarashi, and toubanjan.

1. Brazilian/japanese
2. flour (all kinds), garlic, olive oil
3. Honey. Love it, use it almost everyday.

Mexican-American-Asian mutt.

Brown rice, Sriracha, balsamic vinegar

Pickled mango and Quesa Seca (like parmessan but milder).

I don't know why they would say the book was not practical for the American kitchen except that maybe rice cookers aren't a common item. I only have a small apartment kitchen and with the exception of maybe brewing beer or making sou vide I could probably accommodate pretty much anything.

Question 1: Asian-American Messy

Question 2: Olive oil, butter, garlic

Question 3: Korean chili powder, miso, sesame oil...

I grew up in a household that was pretty American/European but with little bits of influence from all over. Mostly a standard 'American' kitchen though. Now, though, I've had the wonderful luck to marry a Korean who studied Japanese, so I've gotten to learn how to cook some amazing food that I never thought I could make at home!

I agree, though, that there's nothing in your book that isn't easy enough to make in a completely 'American' kitchen. You might need to go to the grocery store and buy a new ingredient or two, but if you didn't want to learn some new recipes in the first place and expand your repertoire, why buy a cookbook?

1: More from scratch than the average american

2: Sticky rice, real butter, milk (not really an ingredient, but it is a gosh-darn CRISIS when we run out of milk)

3: sichuan pepper, kale, and barley

1. family-oriented, asian-leaning, with lots of healthy-stuff-in-jars
2. rice vinegar, brown, jasmine and japanese rice, organic pastas
3. sushi seasoning...great for knocking out a quick dressing, or a thai-inspired seasoning for breakfast ginger chicken rice

1) I'm American born and raised. My kitchen in a nutshell: Not enough storage, too many appliances.

2) Pantry staples: Black beans, various bottled sauces especially bbq, rice.

3) Infused oils and vinegars.

I just bought your book - right before leaving on a trip - so I haven't put it to the test yet. Leafing through, I didn't see anything that would be troublesome except time required in the morning. Yeah, yeah, 20 minutes isn't a lot. It is to me, and making noise and smells in the kitchen will surely wake up my husband, who doesn't have to get up as early as I do. But I think I can adapt almost everything to cook ahead.

"American" can mean so many things. East coast, West coast, North, South, Appalachian, New England, Midwest, Texas.... Nothing in your book gave me pause, but I also have broad access to all sorts of cuisines in my corner of America. Getting nori or other Japanese ingredients is easy - I can even choose my stores. The existence of ethnic groceries depends on the market; generally you only find them where the people of that culture have settled. I can see how being unable to find some ingredients locally would totally trip up Americans in areas with fewer Japanese immigrants.

Question 1: The Amazon reviewer seems to see her kitchen as an “American kitchen”. If you had to describe yours in one short phrase, what would it be?

Quintessentially British, but with Japanese ingredients milling around

Question 2: What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? (Up to 3)

Eggs, if you have an egg you have a meal. Marmite... Mmmm... Marmite and Herbs/Spices

Question 3: What new ingredient (s) have you discovered recently (say within the last couple of years) that is now part of your regular rotation?

Miso, I love miso! And making miso soup, God it's so delicious!

Question 1: Italian-French-American.

Question 2: Basil, Oregano, and Black Pepper

Question 3: Steel-cut oats, red wine vinegar, and cooking wines.


Interesting post and comments. My kitchen has definitely had many incarnations over the years. I grew up in a household of limited food choices (if it's Sunday, it must be pot roast). My mother was the breadwinner and sole parent and a bad cook (undercooked chicken and overcooked/burnt peas anyone?) so I was a blank slate when I began cooking for myself in college (my mother is actually a good cook now that she isn't so stressed from trying to do everything). My roommate had a tattered first edition of The Joy of Cooking and I learned a lot from it (like how to cut apart a whole chicken - much cheaper than buying chicken parts). I have loads of kitchen gadgets but I find I'm moving back to a simpler style of preparing food.

1. Newly gluten-free lazy woman's kitchen (frozen vegetables are my friend).
2. Oils (olive, canola, sesame), vinegars (rice, apple cider, wine), lentils, corn grits/polenta.
3. Sherry vinegar.

I'm about as American as they come (blonde hair, blue eyes, grew up in the Midwest & South) and my kitchen has gotten decidedly more Asian-influenced over the years.

1. My kitchen is the place where I experiment with tastes & ingredients - the place where I create food to delight and nourish both myself and my honey.

2. My all-time standbys are rice or egg noodles, sriracha, and good olive oil

3. Ooh.. this is a dangerous one. New ingredients that have taken over my kitchen within the last year or two would include things to make fresh sausages and cured meats (curing salts, hog casings and the like); spices like ras-el-hanout and harissa; tropical fruits and vegetables like cutting celery, hon tsai tai and black sapote; more whole grains like quinoa and farro; and Asian staples like kombu and bonito for dashi stocks. My kitchen has long had a veritable UN of nations represented. I'm working on learning more international staples currently, not just individual recipes.

Question 1: global: vietnamese, thai, japanese, mexican, italian and american flavors

Question 2: What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? (Up to 3) : jasmine rice, angel hair pasta, and chicken broth

Question 3: What new ingredient (s) have you discovered recently (say within the last couple of years) that is now part of your regular rotation? miso

1. Larger than my last kitchen, but poorly designed

2. Rice vinegar, Braggs, Montreal Steak Seasoning

3. Fish sauce. I sneak it into all my asian cooking. Don't tell my phobic family though :)

1. eclectic american + a pressure cooker
2. oats, miso, peanut butter
3. sriracha sauce! i can't believe i never knew!

Well, I described my kitchen (so to speak) in a comment on the thread about the Japanese lady with the efficient kitchen. But to answer the questions:

1a. Makeshift, crammed into a laundry room.
1b. Confined by the rigors of the South Beach Diet (I am on a perpetual Stage 1. Protein and vegetables.)

2. Chicken ... or any cheap protein I can find. Eggs. Flaxmeal biscuit (recipe on request). Salad greens.

3. Nothing, really. I've been on the diet for nineteen months and lost 65 pounds, yay! (about forty to go), but there's a limit to what you can do with chicken thighs and veggies. I have a recipe for an herb-flavored oil that's supposed to be good with everything, if I ever have the energy to make it.

Personally, I think I see where the review might be trying to come from. When I cook for myself I like to experiment, but some things are hard to find locally and I don't have the money to ordering offline. I still have yet to even come across a bottle of mirin, though I could try the asian neighborhoods.

Anyway, experimenting myself is fine but heaven forbid a family member finds out when I'm cooking for everyone because "that's not supposed to go in there, what do you think you're doing, you ruined it, I can't eat it now, just stick to the norm next time!" And that's from someone older than me.

1. Decrepit. Like yours, my kitchen is under construction. Theres so much debris everywhere that it's not safe to cook in or use anything in there. Everythings going to have to be thrown out or sterilized.

Otherwise, mostly American/Caribbean with hints of Asian when I can get away with it. (And can cook.)

2. Bread, pasta, cheese. Heaven forbid we're out of any of them.

3. Veggies and brown rice. I hated vegetables as a child and am trying to force myself out of it, so it's a journey of rediscovery. I like brown rice when I can find something to do with it. Its a bit bland to us on its own sadly, so I try not to eat plain like I do with white rice.

Try the Asian neighborhoods! I've found all manner of delightful ingredients in the various ethnic stores. Just write out what you need first and do some research so you know what the containers look like, because frequently signage and labels aren't in English. In the Latino market, at least the labels are in the same alphabet with similar roots, so I can puzzle my way through them. Not so much at my local Lotte! Don't be afraid to ask, too. Most of the time, the store workers are willing to help and speak enough English understand the question and point you in the right direction.

Question 1: Open European http://fergusmiller.com/2011/08/30/my-kitchen/

Question 2: Risotto Rice - Dried Herbs - Stock

Question 3: Risotto Rice - Dried Herbs - Stock

Question 1: Hungarian-American-French nose to tail

Question 2: Japanese rice; canned beans; canned tomatoes

Question 3: tomatillos (make a great green enchilada sauce from scratch); anchovies; brown rice (Japanese variety)

This looked like too much fun to pass :)

Question 1: Anything goes-type of kitchen. If it tastes good I'll probably eat it.

Question 2: Chunky peanut butter, maple syrup and tea.

Question 3: Dairy-free milk, soy yogurt and oatmeal.

Looking at those answers, one could think all I eat is breakfast :)

Excellent questions! I wholeheartedly agree that kitchens are not static entities. Mine certainly has morphed as my eating habits and interests have changed.

1. My kitchen is vegetarian American with ethnic influences. There are some foreign odds and ends, but most of my groceries come from large US supermarkets. I figure if it's findable there, it's not too terribly specialized.

2. Staples: dried beans, salad greens, fruit for snacks

3. New discovery: almond butter, homemade hummus, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar

Hope you're feeling well! *hug*

1) How would you describe your kitchen? Converted wet-bar. (I my basement area, I have a sink, a hotplate, a mini-fridge, and a microwave oven - so I've been gathering various useful kitchen gadgets as budget allows.)

2) What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? Pasta, canned fish, and various herbs/spices.

3) What new ingredient(s) have you discovered recently that is now part of your regular rotation? Medium-grain rice (Thanks, Maki!), nappa cabbage, ricotta cheese. (Obviously not all in the same dish.)

Fun question! Firstly, I must also disagree with the amazon comment, mainly because I'm not entirely sure what an 'american kitchen' is. I'm British, living in a mid-sized town an hour outside London, but I couldn't tell you what would make a kitchen 'british'. Really, I think most people don't cook traditional British food anymore (shepherds/cottage pie, liver and Bacon, sausage and mash), it seems to be quite a lot of Italian influence now. Every house will eat pasta, pizza etc a couple of times a week and have mixed dried herbs and canned tomatoes in the larder. Whereas my husband and I have eaten pasta roughly five times in the two years we've been together, and I don't own a tube of tomato pureed (although I had a bit of a meltdown when we ran out of wasabi a couple of weeks ago!) The local shop is run by an Indian family and they tend to have a few Eastern ingredients, but my main haul comes from travelling to Chinatown in london, or online for everything we need - most new recipes are achievable, if not straight away, then within at least two days. Which is all a very long-winded way of saying, I agree there isn't a traditional American/British kitchen anymore, and your lovely recipes are easily doable in a Western kitchen - it's all about improvisation!

Sorry for essay! Hear come the answers:

1. Tiny British kitchen that has big Asian ideas.
2. Noodles, all kinds (current count of different types: 11!); soy sauce and chilli sauce (my addiction is sriracha but also Thai sweet chilli and wasabi as another hot option.
3. Kimchii and Chinese black vinegar.

1. A mix of traditional American and South West with some hidden Japanese influence.

2. Rice, Green Chilies, and a mixture of spices.

3. Smoked Paparika, its was one of those add finds that got brought home but now is used in a mixture of dishes. It add a nice, light smoked taste to some dishes and works wonders with traditional "hot" spices.

It is amazing how often we find stuff that become a staple in our kitchens. I'm gonna hate leaving New Mexico for one reason, fresh Hatch Green Chilies...but on the plus side I never know what new taste pleasures I'm gonna find.

That hidden Japanese influence here at my home is my stuff that has a small spot in the kitchen. Most of my family cooks more American South West style or traditional American. But one of our family members has a small list of alleriges and we never know if something is going to affect them.

Question 1: If you had to describe yours in one short phrase, what would it be?

Eclectic, comfort food driven with hints of the American South, Portugal and Japan (I'm of Portuguese/Scotch/Irish descent who's mom was from the South) and gluten sensitivity

Question 2: What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? (Up to 3)

Mayo, GOOD sea salt, broth/stock.

Question 3: What new ingredient (s) have you discovered recently (say within the last couple of years) that is now part of your regular rotation?

This is a tough one... I just discovered Knorr's teeny tubs of concentrated stock, they're awesome! Also, dark chocolate with hot peppers (great for adding to hot chocolate or chili); Maple peanut butter; Udi's Multi-grain gluten free bread.

1) My kitchen is a multicultural melting pot, a studio, a setting for creative endeavors.

2)Fish sauce (Tra Chang is my favorite brand), New Mexico Green Chiles (bought frozen from Hatch), Olive oil.

3) New food I can't live without? Geoduck, indulgently purchased frozen online from Taylor Seafood on the West Coast, and sliced immediately into sashimi when after careful thawing.

1) Jewish/kosher, Italian, Asian

2) rice, pasta, good olive oil, frozen chopped spinach, lemon juice, various dried chilies and whole spices (I grind them myself)

3) french (black) lentils, I'm making soup almost every week this winter!

Question 1: "Minimalist Galley" It's a typical American apartment galley kitchen, and very minimalist. I can list all of the items in my kitchen, down to individual foods and eating utensils, on a single sheet of paper.

Question 2: Dry beans/lentils, brown rice, oil (I rotate different oils, when I run out I try a new one. Favorites are olive, avocado, walnut, coconut. Next I'm going to try Ghee!)

Question 3: I have switched to short grain rice thanks to this blog, which is about 500x tastier than other varieties. Other new additions are sardines and soy sauce. I'm not a big sauce person, I generally just use oil and vinegar, and I never kept ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise in the house but I tried some excellent quality Japanese soy sauce and it has become a new favorite of mine.

Question 1: Gluten-free American eclectic (although mostly I have spices associated with east asia, morocco and mexico)

Question 2: Miso, Tamari, Cholula.

Question 3: Bonito flakes (rather than dashi powder), pre-prepared mochi squares, beef (I seriously thought it tasted nasty up until about 2 years ago, now I eat it about once a week).

1) Vegan, vaguely-health-foodish, college-student-foodie efficient kitchen. (you know, super-healthy in the week, and then gluttonous 4-, 5-, 6-hour cooking sessions on the weekends)
2) I could probably eat spinach + banana + smoothies for the rest of my life at every meal and be okay with that. Not pleased, but okay.
3) I end up buying a new ingredient or two every week. It's really the smaller appliances I get that make a difference (current favorites: hot water kettle, blender, mini food processor). But the most recent ingredients I've grown to use a lot are probably quinoa, tempeh, and yeast. I've used them all in the past, but in the last 6 months or so, I've really taken to using a lot of those three.

1. International, mostly Japanese-Mediterranean

2. Soy sauce, Olive oil, Carbs (Rice, pasta and bread)

3. Mirin and Miso, always used it but now with much more frequency as I found infinite ways of using them! The sweetness of the mirin and unique salty flavour of miso can combine with various other ingredients to produce amazing flavours!

Question 1: Small, dark, and cramped. I suppose it's an "American" kitchen in that we have the "traditional" large appliances: a fridge with a small freezer on top, the whole thing as tall as me; an oven that sits on the floor yet is level with the countertops, with an integral four-burner top; AND a big microwave. You can't open the oven and the fridge all the way at the same time. Definitely a one-person kitchen.

Question 2: Olive oil, yellow onions, sea salt.

Question 3: I finally figured out how to use shoulder of pork in a way that everyone in the house likes, so I buy shoulder roasts whenever they go on sale.

I think that your bento cookbook is very useful for an "American" kitchen. None of the items are that difficult to find, unless you live in a really small town with a pathetic Asian aisle and no Asian store. Anyway, here are my answers. Mind you, this is with regards to my current kitchen, which is--literally--in a hallway and puny.

Question 1: Cramped, transnational, unrefined, growing. I say cramped because it's ridiculously small. Transnational because I cook a lot of American, Indian/Thai, Mexican, and Japanese food. It's unrefined because there are so many things I still need that would be useful; like a spice rack, or ramekins, or a oven-safe skillet. It's growing though, as I am slowly acquiring these things. I finally got an electric kettle, and I love that thing.

Question 2: Balsamic vinegar because it's surprisingly versatile, rice because we eat a lot of Asian food, and tea because we love tea and I love Maki's tea muffins. :D

Question 3: I really like lentils for their versatility, as well as plain yogurt, which I thought I would never use.

I just want to add, that someday I will have a dream kitchen, with lots of counter space, an island, a walk-in pantry and a wide array of useful kitchen gadgets and knick-knacks. I always get jealous of pretty much anyone else's kitchen but mine. Can't wait to move out of here.

Q1: Isch... My kitchen is a world kitchen, born in Chile, raised in Sweden, having allot of Asian and Arab friends/family additions and currently living in England. Have adopted lots of wonderful things from all over. =)

Q2: Sambal-olek/Aji, Soy sauce and Olive oil.

Q3: Coconut oil is something I just recently picked up and so far i'm still experimenting with it. Seaweed and Mirin are also among my new favorites thanks to my new found hobby; Bento making, all thanks to you. =)

Q1: I wouldn't say "American" more like, undecided multi-cultural, whatever kick I am in at the time. I have spices from almost everywhere.

Q2: E.V. Olive Oil (For sauteeing almost anything!), Tea (because I am a tea-aholic.), Chicken Bullion (or really, better than buillion that is in the fridge)

Q3. Kabocha Squash. I absolutely love pottage made from it. I get up early on work days to make a pot of the stuff just because we ran out and I desire it for lunch that day.

Q1: Plastic-free, international, evolving, back-to-basics (i.e. no convenience foods)
Q2: Olive oil, Soy sauce, and my masala-dabba tin of spices (OK, that may be cheating, since it contains 15 spices...)
Q3: - red lentils - only used the French kind before for soup, but these little babies cook up so much more quickly and are more versatile.

1) California multicultural (it spans from American basics like ketchup, canned vegetables, and pasta to local ethnic influences like curry spices, rice vinegar, and seaweed)

2) My spice cabinet (how can I pick just one?), canned tomatoes, yellow onions.

3) Lentils, period. I'm not trying to copy the previous poster, but I'd never cooked with lentils before this year. Then I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and needed something that was hearty, full of protein, and cooked to a mushy state (unfortunately, meat cooked to mush doesn't taste good). Now I'm kind of lentil-fanatic. In fact, I haven't cooked a pot of lentils this week ... hmm. Guess I know what I'm making for dinner tonight.

My list of basics and the content of my kitchen has gradually changed over the last six years. I did Atkins for a while, so I mostly had canned and fresh meats, tons of eggs, and lots and lots of low-carb veggies. I still don't buy bread often (maybe twice a year?), and I'm only just in the last year or so starting to use my stores of brown rice and pasta on a regular basis. If it wasn't so hard to do low carb and be a social butterfly, I'd probably still be doing it. But since I'm not, I've slowly re-introduced those high-carb foods back into my pantry and lessened the proportion of meat I keep around. I guess it's cheaper that way, too.

1. International kitchen with a Southern flair

2. I have more fridge staples than pantry staples, but I guess I'd say soy sauce, seaweed, and sesame seeds.

3. Ponzu sauce. Recently discovered it during a shopping trip to Winn Dixie of all places. I love it splashed on everything from chicken cutlets to broccoli.

1. Chinese (Southern) with some western dishes every now and then.
2. soya sauce, sesame oil, shaoxing wine
3. kimchi

Question 1: Irish-American based with some Hebrew/Mexican influence, and many people (all 20-30). :)

Question 2: Garlic, Potato, Chicken/Egg

Question 3: Morels whenever I can hunt some up! Also Thyme and Kale

Firstly, remember that it's impossible to please everyone Maki, while I can think of several ways in which your cooking/recipes don't match well with my experience in an "American" kitchen, you have a wide, happy, and loyal fanbase.

Situations in which Maki recipes don't match:

Ingredients: This has been mentioned before, but it seems like everyone who's already posted is really underestimating how many people don't have access to foreign ingredients. I live in a state that is far from the smallest in the USA, and I can only think of 6-8 places in the ENTIRE STATE that have things like miso, sesame oil, udon, dashi/kelp, short grain rice, etc. Also, Japanese cooking depends heavily on fresh ingredients, so anyone who lives a moderate distance from a grocery store could only think of making dishes maybe once a week to once a month. I remember growing up we went grocery shopping 1 time a month, and frozen veggies don't work as a good substitution in many of the recipes here (at least for me *shrug*).

Equipment: Mandolin, steamer, rice cooker. While not necessary, these aren't something that every kitchen will have, and to those who say "buy it online"- can you honestly afford to buy a new piece of equipment every time you want to try a new recipe? In the USA, microwaves, ovens, freezers, blenders, and mixers are more common. How often are they used in the book?

This is completely ignoring that I live away from a coast (like 3/4 of the USA) and the only fish I can get that is reliably good is catfish and perch. While there are some good beef/chicken/pork recipes, Japanese cuisine is fish-based. Between not having fish and having "white rice" that is so common in the USA (I believe it's mid-grain? Definitely a different taste and no clumping), all of these dishes that are meant to be eaten around Japanese rice are a bit out of place.

Don't get me wrong, I adore your recipes and website Maki! I love the way everything is put together, and now that I live in a city I go to your blog whenever I'm looking for a new recipe that I know I'll like. You're style will not match with everyone's, and you shouldn't try to make it- you'd make a watered down version of all of this and be no better than the rest of the hack food blogs floating around. Being you is why these websites are such a success, so don't change it just because not everyone can follow along.

I have to admit, when I'm feeling down, I read this blog to cheer up. :)

Looking at this again, 3/4 seems high with as many coastal cities as we have, but the number is still substantial. :)

1. British and Asian. I wouldn't say British Asian, because that implies mostly Asian foods (with the odd bit of pizza and pasta), rather than the 50-50 or 40-60 split I have. I'm mixed-race, so our family's always had a lot more curry and rice than most British people, but we also eat more traditional English food like mashed potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. Plus generic Italian food of course. Heavy vegetarian influences too because for years halal food wasn't easily available where we lived.

2. I don't know about favourite, but I actually struggle to cook if we've run out of garlic or cumin. I tend to put one or both in nearly everything I make. Tinned tomatoes are always useful too.

3. Sesame/chilli oil! My mum was initially skeptical when I started experimenting with new ingredients from the Chinese supermarket, and now she can't get enough of the stuff.