Last week, a reader left this suggestion in the comments:
I would love it if you could do a tour of your kitchen in a future blog post. I would love to see which tools you find most useful and an annotated photograph of your store shelves and fridge/freezer would be much appreciated!
Thank you for the brilliant idea, Courte!
So let me start off by saying that these pics will not land me a spread in House and Home. But I think that’s a good thing. Long ago (over 10 years ago), I bought decorating magazines. I stopped because they:
- Made me feel inadequate.
- Made me want to buy stuff.
I think if I presented pictures of a huge dream kitchen filled with all sorts of fancy gadgets, I would have to rename by blog and sign up for Pinterest. I cannot keep up with social media as it is!
On with the tour…
To give you some perspective on the size of my kitchen, here I am in my Vitruvian woman pose (fully clothed to the relief of all). My daughter MK, home from university in Canada, and I can crank out some pretty tasty meals in this small space.
Here is one side. Sorry that it turned out all grainy and dark. The only way I could take the shot was to put my camera into selfie mode, for which it automatically adds a grainy make-me-look-ten-years-younger-glamour-shot filter.
Here is the other side.
I’ll start with the side in the top pic.
Here you see some spices (I have more in a cupboard), some utensils and my knives (which need sharpening). I ate one of those pieces of sourdough after I took the shot 😉
I have several rubber spatulas. These are made of silicon, not plastic. If you make sourdough bread, these work so well scraping the sticky starter off of the sides of bowls and measuring cups. Sourdough, made of flour and water, sticks like, well, glue. Have you made papier-mâché lately?
You need only one good kitchen knife. I have a whole set of very expensive knives that an old boyfriend bought for me several years ago. I can only imagine what he felt so guilty about…
My oven is teeny tiny. Because I have such little space, I leave some of my pots on top of the stove. I need a hook for the copper one, as I always move it when the oven is on to avoid discoloring it (not convenient). It’s probably not right to love an inanimate object as much as I love my 6 3/4 quart Dutch oven. I use it for baking my bread, making soups, sauces and stews, bean dishes, homemade broth—all sorts of food.
Next up, my baking supplies. I bake sourdough bread every week. The giant jar on the top shelf contains a 50/50 blend of whole wheat and white flours, which feeds my sourdough starter, Eleanor. I need around 50 grams each to feed my starter (pictured in the measuring cup on top of the counter above). Combining the flours saves a bit of time when I feed my starter. For a list of key ingredients I stock, go here.
The hanging baskets and bar really help organize my tiny kitchen. I keep most of my favorite utensils on the bar and a few I use less often simply to help declutter my drawers. I use the colander the most, followed by the metal measuring spoons (they’re camera-shy) and the metal measuring scoops. I love my stainless steel funnels (wide and narrow neck). Jar hoarders need these.
The crock pot I usually store in my pantry but happened to start bone broth before I took these pics, so you see it here. It sits on a dishwasher that doesn’t work well (we wash by hand now) but I refuse to relinquish the extra counter space it affords. One day, I will replace it with shelving for my ever-growing glass jar collection.
I’m so proud of these two little gadgets above that I had to include them. They work so well! I bent the tongs of an inexpensive fork to make the world’s best cherry pitter and the razor blade on the stir stick changed my life. If you want to score your sourdough bread properly, fashion one of these and go deep when you use it. This little tool took my bread to the next level. I would love to make more kitchen tools if I can think of any and write a post about them…
Finally in the east wing, leading out to the dining area, I have a bookcase with my cookbooks and food essays. When I use a cookbook, I set it in our music stand to free up counter space. I sometimes use the music stand in my room for reading large tomes.
Here is my pantry. It looks like a bit of a jumble, but I keep grains on the top shelf, such as the rice, quinoa and sorghum you see at the front. Below that are some random short bottles and jars, MK’s pasta maker, my immersion blender and a grain mill. I store beans and legumes on the shelf below. You can’t see the whole thing. On the two lower shelves I store Booty’s dry cat food and some stainless steel pots. The shelf below that holds small appliances.
I hung this Humane Society calendar on the inside of the pantry to keep it out of sight (I hide my clutter). I track the feedings of my various starters on here.
My sink (another grainy selfie cam pic) suffices. I would like a basin to rinse my dishes after I wash them to help reduce my water consumption. When I wash dishes there, I often look up at the two shelves of glass jars above and hope we don’t have an earthquake at that moment. I hoard jars and keep them handy for leftovers, shopping, mixing, storing, fermenting and more. I can never seem to have enough jars.
I ranted quite a bit about refrigerators in my last post and would like a smaller one. Mine mostly houses ferments, dairy, leftovers (we don’t usually have many leftovers) and some produce. Again, you see many jars. And butter. I have written a few times that I refuse to give up butter even though I have to throw out the paper wrappers. I can return clean egg cartons at the farmer’s market.
I store food in glass in the freezer too. I broke a nice glass bottle once a few years ago. It had a narrow neck and I froze liquid in it (broth I believe). When the liquid expanded, the top of the bottle snapped off. I now use only wide-mouth jars and leave at least an inch of headspace. I haven’t had problems since. I still have a plastic ice-cube tray. I would love an old-fashioned metal one.
This large dining room table comes in handy when I have to clear off counter space. It’s also great for a huge feast 😉 My neighbor gave me the painting behind it. You can read about him here.
That’s it. Thanks for taking the tour!