Welcome to my Sicilian Kitchen

July 22, 2013

In Sicily I’ve pared my kitchen down to the bare essentials: a set of mis-matched dishes and bowls, one frying pan, a toaster. No freezer (one of the best gelato shops in the world is just down the steps). No mixer (good exercise, beating egg whites by hand!). No tea kettle (pan works, no?). No microwave.

More happy with less. Took me years to figure this out.

What I keep above my deep stone sink: two colanders, potholders knit by local ladies, a dried round of the local bread, measuring cups and spoons.

A glimpse of my kitchen in Sicily, copyright Jann HuizengaThe salt (sale) pot is filled with Sicilian rock salt from the Trapani salt pans. The old coffee grinder, gifted by my simpatico orange-suited garbage man, reigns like some kind of Platonic representation of  Human Sweetness.


The Moroccan tea glasses from the Modica flea market, 1 apiece, remind me I must get back to Morocco. The little clay bird-whistle is a good luck charm from Matera, that amazing town in Basilicata that looks so much like  Sicily.

Moroccan tea glasses, copyright Jann Huizenga

The whisk, a Sicilian antique, unleashes flakes of paint as I stir my lemon gelo. I fish them out, dreaming of the Sicilian housewife who once upon a time long ago concocted this very dessert with this very whisk…kitchen stuff

Spice jars are fun to look at, even when it’s way too hot to cook.

Spices in my Sicilian kitchen, copyright Jann Huizenga

Thanks for visiting la mia cucina siciliana!!!!



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56 comments to Welcome to my Sicilian Kitchen

  • Gil

    Beautiful, simple kitchen. Love it!

  • now that’s my kind of kitchen, we’ve just sandblasted the beams in ours x

    • Jann

      Lisa, how exciting about your beams! I bet they’re beautiful. Can’t wait to see them on your blog.

  • Jann, forget to mention that my favorite of all is the little coffee grinder! ha!

  • Jann, the crocheted pot holders and the sale container stole my heart! How I loved peering into your kitchen, lady! The sentiment behind the whish–ah, makes me sigh. And the round of bread! ha! Love it! Kim said it best–the color, simplicity, and the nostalgia behind the whisk, what’s not to love? Bella cucina, amica! 🙂

  • Sam

    I am confused about the round of dry bread. What function might that serve?

    • Jann

      Decorative, Sam, decorative. Though if I run out of dry breadcrumbs (the poor-man’s parmigiana–what Sicilians use on top of pasta), it’ll come in handy.

  • **I fish them out, dreaming of the Sicilian housewife who once upon a time long ago concocted this very dessert with this very whisk…**

    Jann, you cannot imagine the pleasure and joy I received from looking inside your kitchen.

    The simplicity. Colors. The old peeling whisk.

    What a Thrill.


  • reminds me of an army, the top shelf the general, his aids right and left, the little drummer boy in the red hat, special forces in the green beret’s, the infantry on the right in white helmets while the artillery hangs below ready to do battle against any invading recipe.

  • Love your kitchen! Now I want colored measuring spoons, too.

  • I love your kitchen, love it. You have given me the courage to go to my over-stuffed pantry and kitchen and begin The Paring. I inherited recently my mom and gram’s kitchen everything. I know I will never get rid of the older items as they’ve lasted forever and have forever more to go, but there is plenty to share with someone else. We’ve been without a microwave for 3 years now and don’t miss it a bit! It may take a wee bit more time to prepare meals, drinks, etc., but food tastes and is nutritionally better!

    • Jann

      Thank you for this comment, Nan. You made me smile thinking of you entering your pantry with new resolve. I know how hard it is to inherit piles of stuff–and how hard it is to figure out what to do with it all. Went thru that several year ago. Buon corraggio!

  • Love your cucina, Jann! And you didn’t even mention the gorgeous tiles.

    PS. On behalf of Knitters and Crocheters Anonymous, have to point out that your local ladies have crocheted your potholders … and done a beautiful job too.xx

    • Jann

      Are you a knitter-crocheter, Narelle? You would fit in so well with the local ladies on the park bench here.

  • cemal karahan

    just lovely lovely.look at our new rich but no cultured people’s kitchens and see the difference.you are so adorable, so artistic and so MODEST,,Jann.

  • Perfection. My version anyway Jann 😉 Brava!!!

  • Tom

    DELIGHTFUL! The paint chipped/peeled wood handle utensil took me reeling back to childhood on the back porch with my Norna!

  • Aida

    Bella, bella, colorful, and inviting…artful, 😉

  • Deborah Hawkins

    Lovely article , I love my kitchen and am looking at paring down a little. Problem is I have lovely things from all over the world.

  • OK you win the prize for chic + I adore your kitchen. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  • Small and efficient; bright and beautiful; homey and universal–you`ve got it all there in your cucina.

    • Jann

      I remember those shots of your kitchen, Lynne, and your great design sense, so if you could stop by Sicily sometime and give me a few pointers??? I’d love it!

  • Lovely. We use the same spice jars! There was a whole box of unused baby food left behind by the previous owner. As we are sans bambini I dumped the baby food, washed them out, and now they sport pepper, sea salt (also from Trapani), oregano, etc.

  • Anitre

    How minimal. I love the restraint in your kitchen. I still need a food processor in mine and can happily live without a microwave. Brava, Jann!

    • Jann

      Well, Anitre, you have a big family to cook for in Sicily so I can see why a food processor would come in handy! xxxxx

  • Jann,

    U are living the ‘good life’…and don’t let anyone tell U differently..enjoy it all in good healthy with much happiness…U have earned it….

  • Jann, thanks for sharing your lovely little kitchen with us! I’ve long suspected that we in the States have far too much “stuff,” as evidenced by the number of storage units and sheds popping up everywhere! Paring back must be such a freeing experience!

    • Jann

      Paring back does give you that “fresh” feeling! Stuff can often be a burden. More stuff to dust, clean, repair, look after….

  • So beautiful, Jann. I remember following your blog when you were renovating this place. You’ve done a marvelous job. Comfy and homey. I love the faucet. Too pretty and practical. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jann

      🙂 Grazie a Dio the renovation is over, though actually it’s not because there were several things I never finished–I more or less just gave up at a certain point, ha ha. Hope you’re doing well, Rosann, and can’t wait for updates on Rome one of these days.

  • Maria

    You are living my dream. Going.back to San Pier Niceto next summer
    Your photos help keep my memories alive
    Love love.love the way you capture the essence of island life. Grazie Maria

    • Jann

      Maria, thank you! So nice to have you visit. I just googled your San Pier Niceto. It looks darling. I MUST get better acquainted with Messina Province.

  • Jo Grippi Wicker

    Simply Grand, Love it Jann, I can’t wait until my trip to Sicily next year….

    • Jann

      Hi Jo–thank you for dropping by virtually. If you get to my neighborhood next year, maybe you can drop by in reality??

  • Catherine

    Your kitchen is wondeful.

    • Jann

      Thank you Catherine. I hope all is well in lovely Noto and that you’re spending the summer eating your way through pastries.

  • Debra Roppolo

    I’m starting to understand my mother-in-law’s kitchen more…(Though how she can use a cheap steak knife for EVERYTHING is beyond me.)

    • Jann

      I’m smiling, Debra–so your mom-in-law is the pared down type, too? Very funny about the one cheap steak knife. I love a good set of knives, but I’m still working with a cheap set I bought from an expat who was leaving Italy to go back to the US. Definitely time to upgrade.

  • Liz

    When we renovated our kitchen 2 years ago,and because of my travels to Italy and using tiny kitchens, I knew I could go minimalist,and did. I love it!
    Less is more for sure.
    I am in love with you ceramic shelf brackets and the rod that it holds. Is this something I could purchase while in Sicily? I will be there the first few days of November. Would love to see more pics of your place. It seems so darling!

    • Jann

      Ciao Liz, you can get those ceramic shelf brackets in Caltagirone. When I shopped there were smaller ones (like these) but also large ones that were beautiful. One of these days I’ll post more pix of the house. Have a great trip in November! I love that time of year in Sicily. (Few tourists!)

  • and what a fantastic and beautiful kitchen it is……..simple but grand……I love it! I’m remembering a wonderful little lemon dish with meringue on top and a crisp white wine 🙂 A presto, Jann!

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