In the last two months I’ve noticed a strong desire to go on a restaurant revolt. This is not to say that Chicago doesn’t have fabulous restaurants (we do and all seem to be on the
North side. Grrr) but on a part-time salary, mixed with a love to shop for kitchen gadgets and dine out, it has turned into an all out war on my pocket book. And to be honest, it’s winter. Too cold to be traipsing around on the C(rappy) T(ransit) A(nyway) to find cheap eats and return home to angry dog who’s destroyed half of the house because he’s been cooped up all day.
In my attempt to cook for one as means to stretch the budget, I’ve learned over time it can be easy but it does take some good tools (an excuse to shop!) and discipline. Once that adjustment period (part II here) of cooking has past,
I “gar-on-tee” you’ll have it down to a science. Best place to start is in taking stock on what supplies you have. After several transatlantic moves, and throwing a few good pieces of cookware, I’ve finally discovered the benefit of a good second-hand store. (That’s if you can’t swipe from relatives’ house). Also, don’t discount appliances from ethnic stores—if anything that’s where you can really get creative!!
Unique Thrift Stores—My Lawwwd!!! This is a shopper’s paradise. Yes, one’s woman’s trash is my treasure and 90 percent my kitchen has been supplied by this “trash”. The last time I was there, I found a three-piece cast iron set for $21. Prior to that I found a “barely used” Krups ice cream maker for $5.95. I’m on my second batch of frozen yogurt.
Tuesday to Friday they put ‘newer’ stuff out. Monday’s is 50 percent off ALL DAY and Thursdays is 25 to 50 percent off until 1 p.m. Now, I’m warning you that grannies, and women who have a black-belt in shopping for bargains tend to flock to these sales in full force, so arriving the earlier the better.
Further down on Halsted St. in Bridgeport is a little ma and pa thrift store. Jonie’s What Not is—err eclectic—to put it mildly. There’s not much here by way of kitchen gadgets but if you’re looking for stuff for your house, it’s pretty good for that. Newer stuff comes in on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so the store isn’t open until after 2 p.m.
Jonie’s What Not
3263 S. Halsted
Open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9 –until
The key to keeping your sanity when living abroad is measured by your ability to eat “home” foods when you’re fed up with the local stuff. It was in the last few months of living in Asia that I finally put two and two together and realized that Asian range tops were calibrated to cook at a higher temperature. Mix that with a good wok and I was able to finally make some decent fried foods.
CL Housewares & Gifts has a few things I would defiantly say are necessary for a kitchen. Their clay pots range from $5.99 (Cornish hen size) to $19.99 (Chicken), pickle pots (perfect for storing dry ingredients) from $17.99 and stone bowls starting at $5.99(from Korea) are perfect for boiling for extended periods of time and making stews.
CL Housewares & Gifts
3419 S. Halsted