What I’ve been up to…
When I moved into my apartment last January, I had no delusions about how much I would have to ‘downsize’ – I was going from a house kitchen, with acres of counter space and a nice new oven to a place that, let’s face it, was designed with severe economy in mind. But I cheered myself up when I pulled up shots of a towering Julia Child working with her little home stove, perfecting recipes for Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I had plans and ambitions, you see. If I had a few obstacles in the kitchen, so be it. This was my new domain. I would make it work.
As apartment kitchens go, it wasn’t all that bad. It had a new and spacious side-by-side fridge. The stove sported both a sauce and power burner – which was unheard of in the dozen+ other apartments I had looked at that week. The cabinets, while not ample, were clean and adjustable. SJ added an improvised pot rack over the kitchen sink made from a short towel bar and some industrial hooks. A magnetic knife rack was also installed so I could toss the knife block and free up some valuable countertop real estate. A few of my patisserie pictures from France and voila, joie de kitchen. Mostly.
(yeesh…so untidy…I miss it so :)) All told? Maybe eight square feet of counter top space, not subtracting the space taken up by the coffee maker, jars of jams, or other random bits that didn’t fit in the cupboards, like my pasta maker, jars of nuts, and the occasional chocolate stash.
A large food bucket (used for brining large dead animals and for making pickles) doubled as my baking/apron/container holder. That lovely piece of not-white on the wall is a spice rack my grandmother gave to my mother as a wedding present. The cover on the door is a chart that tells you how to use various herbs and spices. Filling it was an expensive joy (thank you Penzey’s). Did you know saffron was good with dairy? Now you do.
Small as it was, I did enjoy it. Nothing hones your sense of mise en place like lack of space. You also learn to make do with whatever you have rather than gear up with the latest and greatest of appliances and gadgets. There’s simply no room for all the foofarah. An immersion blender became one of my most favorite and versatile tools in part because of both its range of function and its smallness. But notice all the past tense I’m throwing around like rice at a wedding.
Yes. Because I moved. My lovable towel rod pot rack? No more. My floor bucket storage? All gone.
This is my new kitchen…
An island? With granite countertops? Can we say pastry dough? Heck, can we say classes? Pasta making? Actual kneading space? It’s funny when I hear myself say I’ll miss my old kitchen (I really will – it had sass). After only a week, this comparatively gargantuan cocina has produced some pretty stellar comida. And oh do I have plans. So many things I couldn’t do before because of space limitations. Oh! The other thing I love about this new one – it has a couch. I spend gobs of time in the kitchen, even when entertaining. At the apartment, I was completely cut off from the living room and there wasn’t much cozy space for people to just hang out. Now, there’s a big happy couch and I can cook and socialize – because really, that’s what the food is all about. I don’t make big extravagant ho-downs for just myself. But I love feeding other people. All this and a fabulous view? And storage space for days?
Life is good. Oh yes. More, please…once I’ve finished painting…