Cooking in a Small Kitchen

A part of life in Vancouver that I’m still getting used to is cooking in a very small kitchen. There’s no bench space, only one sink (which always ends up full of dishes) and everything seems to live inaccessibly in the back of one cupboard. Luckily Pinterest has a range of ideas to help.

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First and foremost, organise your kitchen. Keeping everything stashed together in one cupboard might seem convenient at first, but weeks later when you can’t find the brownie tin, or the small pot . . . or the spatula (did we ever even have one?) it won’t seem like a great idea. I think this utensil wall is a great way to make the most of unused wall space. It works in the toolshed, so why not in the kitchen too?

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Similarly, storing knives under cabinets with a magnetic knife block will save a lot of bench space. For the first week I did live in constant fear of knives falling on me as I washed dishes, but so far so good!

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Growing your own herbs will not only save you fridge space but money as well. You’ll only use the amount of parsley or basil you actually need, and stop your freezer from filling up with half-used and forgotten herb tubes. Also, as this blog shows, with a little ingenuity anyone can have a herb garden.

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Vancouverites aren’t the only people who would know the difficulty of cooking in small kitchens. High population density and small kitchens go hand in hand and anyone living in Tokyo is probably scoffing at my column right now (she thinks she knows small, ha!). I’m not entirely sure what moral can be taken from this post though. Maybe not be afraid of clutter? Or if you’re going to live with clutter, it might as well be super cute?

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Another key to cooking in a small kitchen is simple, minimal prep dishes. This one pot pasta recipe has done the Pinterest rounds a few times. I haven’t tried it but its sheer simplicity means that it won’t be long. Has anyone else given it a go?

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The adage is old but particularly relevant to small kitchens: clean as you go! Your kitchen will only feel smaller if it’s full of dirty pots and pans. I’ve found that something as simple as stacking the dishwasher as I cook makes a huge difference to how I feel (i.e if my kitchen is shrinking in on me or if I’m successfully cooking).

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If you find you’re still struggling you can always turn to the professionals. There’s a range of cookbooks out there written especially for small kitchens. This one, In The Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress, is number one on my to buy list.

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Finally, when you’re done dutifully cleaning and organising your kitchen, it’s time for a quick treat. My pantry is always stocked with tortillas and this dessert quesadilla recipe looks super easy to make. I’ll be trying them out this week. If you do as well drop me a line and let me know how it goes!

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