01 May 2013

farewell to a tiny kitchen


Now's the time to get back in our kitchens, dust off those cookbooks and start making good food. The dark, cold winter days are behind us. New produce is starting to show up at the farmers markets and springtime renewal is here. It's warm enough to untuck yourself from the pile of blankets but cool enough not to shun the oven and stove. It's the perfect time to rejuvenate our sense of culinary adventure!

Each season has its kitchen merits. The autumn chill allows us to turn on our ovens once more and beckons us inside to nest and prepare for the winter. Soups and homemade bread call us into the kitchen and take on a certain romance as we dig out our sweater collections. Winter, even with its short days and reliance on root vegetables, can endear us to a cozy, bustling kitchen. The summer frees us to make meals out of snacks, to grill outside and to feast on fresh fruits and vegetables.

I've been in a cooking slump. I've been working and running and generally avoiding putting real effort into meals. We've had a few successes, absolutely: sauteed mushroom & onion crostinis with jalapeno jam, roasted roots with grains, spaghetti squash delights and other humble creations. Fortunately I'm starting to feel the familiar pull back into the kitchen. To cook by myself or as part of our all-star team where we shuffle around each other with NPR on in the background and tales from our days filling the advertisement breaks.

I never wrote a proper farewell to our tiny kitchen. We moved into a new place with a bigger kitchen last summer and have been enjoying the extra space. We can cook with a bit more ease now, and far fewer curse words. Still, I will always love our first kitchen together. It was impossibly, unnecessarily small. I can't imagine living in a home with such a small kitchen now, but I'm sure glad we did it.

So long, tiny kitchen. Farewell to that miniature stove, the one that haughtily rejected large baking sheets and scoffed at my attempts to have more than two pots of things cooking at a time. Adios to the sink nestled beneath a cabinet so low as to make washing large dishes a feat of measuring angles and deftly twisting and turning cleaned objects to fit them into the drying rack.

No longer must I drag in a chair to stand upon when I need to reach my flour or sugar. Most things are now stored within reach, requiring only a stretch of the arm or, at most, a hop on a step stool.

Good to see you, regular-sized kitchen garbage can! How nice it is not to squish banana peels and plastic wrappers into a pint-sized receptacle anymore.

Hello kitchen drawers! It is so handy it is to have a place to tuck away silverware and other odds and ends. Hello dishwasher! Thank you for kindly offering to clean our dirty dishes. Everyone told me that as a two-person household, we would hardly create enough dishes to necessitate a dishwasher. I am not surprised to say that we fill up that dishwasher and run it frequently. We dirty up a lot of dishes, I guess.

We can open the refrigerator without fear of smashing into the person standing at the stove. We can both chop things up at the same time without one person being relegated to the living room or the entryway for counter space. We have a kitchen island!

Our tiny kitchen was where we really learned to cook. It was where we grew up and expanded our palettes and unpacked the bounty from our first CSA season. That kitchen was where I cooked up goodies for my first food swaps and samples at From Scratch Club's community outreach tables. I made cheese as a photographer from the Wall Street Journal tried to squeeze in there to take photos. We burnt pots of rice and trays of cookies. Our tiny kitchen won second place for rentals in a national contest of tiny kitchens! We brewed kombucha and water kefir. We got rid of our electric coffee maker to make room for Mr. Vitamix. We became vegetarians in that kitchen and learned to be confident, adventurous cooks in that tiny wonderful kitchen.

Now that I don't have to cook in it, that kitchen will always hold the fondest of memories :)

1 comment:

  1. It was the tiniest, cutest kitchen imaginable. While I can appreciate how much easier it is to cook in your current kitchen, your former kitchen is also near and dear to my heart. Your entire first apartment with Chris is nothing short of adorable. Great memories and a life-long good story starting at the beginning.

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