The Deputy Headmistress has a post about minimalist kitchens today on Frugal Hacks. Not as in decorating, but in function.
Well, I just reposted the Treehouse Kitchen questions and answers, which, strangely enough, I got from the DHM a few years ago. And you can even see pictures of what we had for dinner last night. (Thanks, Ponytails.)
And yes, I do like having a big kitchen. We also have a pantry/cold room in the basement, to store extra groceries, the turkey platter, and all those sorts of things. And having lived here for a long time now, we've had the leisure to stash, somewhat, and to pick up a few extra gadgets very cheaply at yard sales: a popcorn popper, a sandwich maker. We also inherited a bunch of the grandparents' kitchen tools and pots and jars, some of which are still in the pantry.
But it wasn't always that way. Mr. Fixit and I have lived in smaller places, with smaller kitchens, and we definitely had less stuff then. Of course we had fewer people, too, so we got by with smaller baking dishes and fewer plates and forks. We've almost always had a toaster oven, a food processor (wedding present), a Crockpot, and a pressure cooker. We got by for many years without a microwave, and we had a "real" blender for only a short time--I have a 20+-year-old immersion blender, or we use the food processor.
I think the key to going "minimal" is to know what you're going to cook, most of the time, and the minimum of equipment that you need to cook and serve those dishes. If you want to make muffins frequently, you want muffin pans. If you make a rice a lot, maybe you want a rice cooker, or at least a dependable pot with a tight lid. My mom didn't do that much chopping, so she got away with a couple of not-so-great knives; for me, having at least one good big knife around is basic. I've found that a big 4-cup glass measuring cup is so useful that I'd hate to be without it, or at least something of similar size (any quart-size plastic container would do); I also hate cooking without a whisk and a rubber spatula.
And even if you don't cook a lot, think about what you buy ready-made, and what you need to pop open, store, and serve that. If you buy unsliced bread, you need a good bread knife, and something to slice it on. Same with cheese. If you get takeout Chinese food, it's very helpful to have an assortment of serving spoons, the kind you get in flatware completer sets. (Check thrift stores.) We also inherited a couple of lidded serving bowls that have been very useful for more than just mashed potatoes: I use them for mixing instant pudding, making yogurt, steaming couscous, serving salad; and since they're ovenproof, you can even bake in them or at least keep things warm in the oven.
What are your own kitchen basics?