There are seven ways of cooking: boiling, roasting, broiling, sautéing, frying, stewing, and braising (which means cooking in a closed pan with less liquid than when stewing). So one can endlessly seek utensils to help one master each method. With the proliferation of shops offering intriguing items, one can collect equipment forever. But so far as traditional Provençal cooking is concerned, it requires no more than four pans: an earthenware poêlon, which has a handle; a poêle, or frying pan; a fait-tout, a deep casserole made of cast iron, copper, or earthenware, which can be tightly closed; and a tian for gratin dishes.
The equipment to prepare my repertory of dishes is not very extensive. I have a plain functional kitchen which looks and feels like a kitchen. It is honest and practical. My herbs are in glass jars and I never keep them more than a year. Sugar, flour, and rice are in big Pyrex containers on an easy-to-reach shelf above the working counter. I keep vegetables and fruits in wide baskets. The grater, sieve, kitchen shears, Mouli food mill, and wire whisk hang on pegs on the wall. The mortar and pestle are within easy reach. I have an assortment of pretty baskets in which I serve beignets, fresh fruits, fried whitebait. I have cheerful earthenware and bright paper napkins for socca, beignets, snails. I serve wine in glass pitchers, water in earthenware pitchers, and oil and vinegar in individual glass cruets.
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.