We’re all well aware of how the pandemic has dramatically and negatively altered our daily lives. One silver lining can be found in the kitchen, however, as nearly 90 percent of consumers now prepare their meals at home — with nearly half cooking meals from scratch.
The benefits of cooking from home cannot be overstated. It saves money, helps with eating more healthfully, exposes home cooks to other cultures and trends, and creates valuable relaxation and family time.
As we turn the calendar page on a turbulent 2020, let’s all resolve to continue this home-cooking trend — even after we reach what we like to call “the new normal.”
Goodwill stores are a good place to kick off our kitchen comebacks with some culinary finds.
Find all the essentials
Goodwill is a prime spot for everything you need to create your own personal culinary sphere.
- Dishes/glassware: You can easily find whole sets of dishes for as little as $20. If you like the mismatched look, you can find coordinated pieces such as glassware at Goodwill. You can also take advantage of glass mixing and serving bowls on the cheap.
- Serving platters: These are nice to have for special occasions, but no one likes to spend a fortune on pieces that are seldom used. Head to Goodwill to grab attractive serving platters for holidays and special occasions.
- Slow cookers: These devices have been popular for decades, and for good reason. Home cooks can still turn out a fine meal without fussing over the stove for hours. Search for a sturdy crock pot with a ceramic liner, available at many Goodwill stores.
- Cookbooks: Home cooks still love to spread open a cookbook on the kitchen counter instead of peering at the small screen of your smartphone. You can find vintage cookbooks at Goodwill, many lovingly dog-eared and splattered with love. Cooking from an “experienced” cookbook is the next best thing to learning from an experienced cook.
A place for nostalgia
All this cooking can make us nostalgic for childhoods spent cooking with grandma, gathering as a family around the table.
It’s easy to recreate these simpler times by strolling the aisles of Goodwill in search of vintage or antique kitchen items of yesteryear.
- Pyrex cookware is practically an American icon. With its pleasing heft and remarkable resilience, these famous clear pans have become a hot item for vintage collectors. If you see something you like, pick it up quickly, because it will not last long on the shelf!
- Vintage Corningware casserole dishes can still be found secondhand, and they are a great way to add some nostalgic charm to your kitchen. The popular kitchenware sports a small variety of patterns, such as Cornflower Blue and Country Festival.
- Commercially packaged jellies and jams sold in grocery stores were packed into jars that were the perfect size for little hands. They were often reused as juice glasses for kids. Welch’s led the way in adding graphics and cartoon characters like Snoopy to appeal to kids.
Sheltering at home brought out the need to become more organized, which is vital to having success in the kitchen.
Organization begins with decluttering. How often do you use the items you are storing? If the answer is “seldom,” consider donating them to your nearest Goodwill donation center. Who needs two potato peelers? Or two candy thermometers? Take some time to consider what is superfluous and begin the act of paring down.
Remember that, to help connect people with work and provide employment and financial programs, Goodwill needs these donations of household items. So go through your kitchen and donate some of your extra gadgets this weekend.
After you have reduced the clutter, make sure everything has a place. For your pantry, secondhand jars can help keep things tidy and organized. Goodwill has jars of all shapes and sizes. Look for ones with chalkboard labels, and store nonperishable food items such as rice, sugar and flour in well-marked containers.
While at Goodwill, look for storage bins and shelf dividers, and consider wide ceramic jars to store wooden spoons and spatulas. Just roaming the aisles will spark creative ideas to keep things ship-shape.