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This Small Kitchen Won’t Stop Me

February 23, 2009

Several months ago, when a friend came to pick up a kombucha scoby, she was peering around my kitchen and suggested that I post about using a small kitchen to produce so many things. It’s a suggestion I would never have thought about and it’s also an interesting subject. I think that it’s easy to think one needs a large space in order to cook from scratch or do any of the other types of things I do in a kitchen. It would be wonderful to have a large, roomy kitchen with lots of storage space and huge expanses of counter space. It’s not a necessity though.

I do a lot in my kitchen, in fact, sometimes I feel like I live in my kitchen. I make dinner six nights per week, daily breakfast and lunches, soap, baked goods, condiments, roast coffee, collect kitchen waste for the compost pile, ferment various things and dehydrate, freeze and can food in the summer and fall. All of these things happen on a mere nine linear feet of counter space and part of that is occupied by a microwave.

When I decided to post on this subject I thought I would get my kitchen all spiffy for photos, but I finally realized that it probably isn’t going to happen. My counters are almost never uncluttered and certainly never completely clear. That being said, let me take you for a little tour of my small kitchen and please politely ignore the messy counters.

This is the counter space in my kitchen. There’s about five feet of counter space to the left of the sink and about four to the right. The right counter space is kind of a holding area. It’s where I store stuff that I can’t figure out where else to put, like my two round cast iron griddles and my cast iron skillet which don’t really have a home if I have many stove burners and the oven occupied at the same time. I use the long stretch to the left of the sink for all prep and cooking activities, coffee roasting, fermenting and coffee making. The right basin in my sink holds my yellow Tupperware compost trimmings container and is also a holding station for all recyclables before they go to the main recycling area in the basement.

This is the other side of the kitchen. It has one set of cabinets, refrigerator, oven, and a small table that holds onions, garlic, utensils and potholders on the top and my wok, cookie sheets, large cast iron griddle and cooling racks on the bottom. You can see my menu board to the right of the doorway and my open office door to the right of that. To the left of the refrigerator is my pantry, which is small. It’s only slightly wider than the width of the door and slightly taller. The kitchen is too narrow for a small island, so there’s nothing in the center.

We are lucky to have a basement and I have an extended pantry area down there, where I house my home canned goods, bulk purchases like sugar, beans, rice and canned goods like tuna and coconut milk and canning supplies and surplus jars. I also have a full sized upright freezer and a second small refrigerator down there. An additional storage space is a 3’w x 1’d x 4 1/2″h shelf in my office, right off the kitchen, for my kitchen appliances (mixer, food processor, etc.), a few cookbooks and empty jars that I use frequently for storage.

And that’s it. It’s not a large area, even all combined, but I do great things in it. I’m not the world’s best cook, but I’m pretty decent and I make a lot of things for my family besides meals. You don’t need a huge area to do the kinds of things that I do. If you have a small kitchen and it’s been holding you back, just jump in and do it. Get rid of the things that you never use to open up space for the things you will use frequently and you might have to adjust to the fact that counter space will never be completely empty!

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Evelyn permalink
    February 23, 2009 3:09 am

    I think you rate right up there with the top cooks. I think a more compact kitchen is easier to get around personally.

  2. Evelyn permalink
    February 23, 2009 3:09 am

    I think you rate right up there with the top cooks. I think a more compact kitchen is easier to get around personally.

  3. Tonia permalink
    February 25, 2009 1:27 am

    I have a small kitchen as well. I certainly don’t let it hold me back. I always think it rather sad when I see kitchens that look amazing but you just know they never get used. I wish I had a proper pantry but I work with what I have. Thanks for sharing your space! -tonia

  4. Tonia permalink
    February 25, 2009 1:27 am

    I have a small kitchen as well. I certainly don’t let it hold me back. I always think it rather sad when I see kitchens that look amazing but you just know they never get used. I wish I had a proper pantry but I work with what I have. Thanks for sharing your space! -tonia

  5. Angelina permalink
    February 25, 2009 11:07 pm

    I completely agree that small kitchens shouldn’t hold anyone back. My last kitchen, as you know, was even smaller than yours and I did almost as much as you do in yours. However, now that I have a bigger kitchen I really am more comfortable.

    I have a lot of floor space but still don’t have tons of counter space. I love my kitchen though.

  6. Homeopath permalink
    February 28, 2009 1:32 am

    even small kitchens need love too

  7. Homeopath permalink
    February 28, 2009 1:32 am

    even small kitchens need love too

  8. FoodRenegade permalink
    February 28, 2009 11:44 pm

    What a great thing to write about. I’ve got a fairly nice sized kitchen now, but I didn’t for years. So, I know what you’re dealing with!

  9. FoodRenegade permalink
    February 28, 2009 11:44 pm

    What a great thing to write about. I’ve got a fairly nice sized kitchen now, but I didn’t for years. So, I know what you’re dealing with!

  10. Tonia permalink
    March 1, 2009 1:48 am

    Hey Lisa,
    You are a winner in the mushroom love giveaway! I think I might still have your address from the cookbook I sent Maddy. I will let you know if I need it. Yeah! -tonia

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