From Dean Dowd on September 14, 2010 in Kitchen Remodel
Some of the world’s best cooking has come out of the smallest kitchens, including the finest French fare. Yet trying to create brilliance in a teensy kitchen can be frustrating to the point that we cook less altogether, despite how much we love the activity. Small kitchens can either be claustrophobic, messy and under- or overstocked—or they can be efficient, pleasant and perfectly uncomplicated, producing food you can be proud of.
Here are three tips to get you on your way to running as tightly as [the galley kitchen of] a ship.
1. Too much and too little are not enough.
Kitchens that have either too many appliances or incomplete equipment can debilitate the space’s potential. Take a weekend and clear out everything from your kitchen, set it all into logical groups and stations (baking, canned soups, knives, etc).
Pull out anything that:
- You never use.
- Takes up room but performs only one function (huge homemade bread maker, we’re looking at you).
- Is either broken or redundant.
It takes surprisingly little to produce a lot of good stuff. Check out the Smithsonian’s replica of Julia Child’s efficient kitchen equipment.
2. Create Stations
Take notes from professionals that require efficiency and stations for their work, such as surgeons, painters and the military. No matter how limited your cabinet and storage space, you can create logic and flow. Suggested stations? Baking. Spices. Canned goods and storage. Knives, can openers and graters. Dinnerware. Glassware. Servingware. Even the smallest station can matter, such as organized drawer bins.
3. Make clean-up easy.
Chances are that a small kitchen means no dishwasher. Entice yourself to cook more by streamlining the other end of the process. Stock a basket under the sink with gloves, scrubbers, good soap and flour sack towels for lying out extra dishes to dry. As you cook, place used dishes and materials into a square plastic bin of hot, soapy water in your sink. If you have a one-sided sink, move that bin next to the sink for soaking and scrubbing beforehand. Eliminating about two-thirds of your clean-up time will make a difference in your attitude towards your kitchen.
Good luck, and as Julia herself always said, bon appetit!
For a fun read on “itty bitty kitchens,” see this handbook.