I frequently complain and whine that my kitchen is too small, but to be honest, I kind of like it. It’s a bit like working on the line, where you have to constantly bark “behind you!” when you reach for another towel or a salt shaker. It’s a bit like the galley of a ship. It’s easily controlled. It cannot sprawl and dishes cannot accumulate because there’s nowhere to accumulate them. Also, and this may be the main reason, if you make something good with minimal resources, it’s a natural triumph, whereas if you make something good in a fully stocked enormous space, it’s expected. As Calvin said, “I find my life is easier the lower I keep everyone’s expectations.”
a) Bare hanging lightbulb, hinting at ghetto nature of cuisine created in this space.
b) Herbs hanging up to dry from skylight.
c) Model of the Wright Flyer.
d) Generic art.
e) Storage Space Alpha (above cupboards): two stockpots, two cast iron skillets, two cast iron saucepans, two steamers, medium saucepan for boiling, Silverstone non-stick fry pan, three roasting pans, muffin tin, pizza tray, two mixing bowls, colander, cake tin. It helps I am tall.
f) Storage Space Beta (hanging on the wall): mandoline, miniature saucepan, heat diffuser, sieve, miniature frypan, cooking chopsticks. Also a fusebox.
g) Crappy electric stove. Permanent storage place for kettle and a pizza stone. Note also total lack of ventilation fan.
h) Trash, recycling and general plague pit.
i) Storage Space Gamma (bookshelf): two mortar and pestles (huge and tiny), two tagines, pressure cooker, deep fryer, electric hotplate for hotpot, butane torch for crème brulee, toaster, collection of wife’s Egyptology books.
j) Only bare counter space in kitchen, cluttered with Mr. Coffee, three peppermills, two salt grinders, tiny chopping board, fresh herbs in water.
k) Storage Space Delta (behind sink): cookie sheet, roasting racks, cleaning supplies.
l) 70’s era fridge with no separate freezer. Contains millions of things stacked upon things and about 10 pounds of frost which must be chiseled out on a regular basis. Yes, that is a magnetic stuffed panda on the side.
m) Primary chopping board, and dish rack. The place where magic happens. And dishes.
n) First cupboard: blender, slow cooker, meat grinder, coffee grinder, lots of pickling jars. Also a whiteboard for recipe ideas, shopping lists, and dirty drawings. Below: a tall rack that once held dog food samples (don’t ask) holding onions, garlic, potatoes, seaweed, exotic flours, nuts, rice, sugar, pastas and noodles, a sake set and a rolling pin.
o) Second cupboard: spices (lots of these), teas, plenty of weird ingredients with no easy classification like gelatin, dashi, and liquid smoke.
p) Third cupboard: canned goods, flours and other powders, dried beans and pulses.
q) Fourth cupboard: all of the crockery I own, plus empty jars, Tupperware, fondue set, ramekins, rarely-used Vietnamese coffee makers, measuring cups.
r) Same as q), but with more grease spots due to being over the stovetop.
s) Stupid false drawers and cupboards that contain a water heater that can run a hot shower for almost a full five minutes.
t) Real drawers: cutlery, a million utensils too tedious to list, including a weird 70s sushi-making machine which was too awesome not to buy when we saw it at Value Village.
u) Storage Space Epsilon (fridge top): bottles containing fish sauce, soy sauce (two kinds), oils (four kinds), vinegars (eight kinds), cooking wines, whatever beer doesn’t fit in the fridge.
v) Magnetic knife rack: two chef knives, serrated tomato knife which doesn’t work but I can’t bear to throw away, bread knife, weird Vietnamese scrap metal knife we bought and never use, tongs, kitchen scissors, oyster shucker, and an eight-inch spike (surprisingly handy).
Trust me, the rest of the studio is worse.