Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fear not your kitchens, great and small

I'm in my second kitchen since becoming vegan. I don't have any photos of our previous kitchen but think studio apartment (big room with a bathroom). As you walk in the door you have a small square of counter next to a small apartment size stove. On the upside, this was a gas stove and aside from the oven seal leaking half the heat out it worked pretty well.
Beside the stove was a small doorless closet/pantry type room. This housed the sink, about the size of a normal bathroom sink. Another small square of counter, smaller than the first but big enough to hold a dish strainer. Washing dishes in this sink was a job. You would bang dishes against the taps* and you would get wet.** After reading How To Cook In A New York Apartment by Laura Dave I know that it could have been much much worse.*** At the back of this room were strangely deep shelves where we kept our dishes, silverware, nonperishables, everything kitchen basically.

I'm surprised I didn't give up on cooking there, vegan or no. I wasn't really raised on processed junk so I don't think I have it in me to live on junk. I surely have eaten the boxes of macaroni & cheese as a kid and as an adult I've had mac and chreese (or whatever) but I have always wanted to create my own meal. Bring together the parts to make something bigger, sometimes better sometimes not.

The new apartment is much more spacious, the kitchen much bigger, with cupboards!
I'm using up all the counter space and loving that my cookie sheet fits all the way in my sink.
The stove is electric (boo!)
And after a few months of cooking I built up a pretty decent spice collection. There is actually another row of herbs & spices behind the visible on in the bottom picture.
Before making the shift to vegan, my cooking sucked. I could make edible foods but you would never call any of my creations "culinary delights." I could bake, thank my mom for that one. She always baked from scratch. You would never find a mix in our house. You will never find a mix in my house now. Since becoming vegan I have lost my fear of trying new foods, new techniques, and of screwing up. I still screw up, not all recipes turn out as intended but I'm no longer afraid of the potential results. This is most likely because my ingredients are less likely to kill me if improperly prepared but we shall leave the dangers of meat cooking/preparing/eating for some other time shall we?

*yes taps, there were two, poised right over the tiny sink forcing everything to be angled around and under them
**the sink was low enough to get that stereotypical wet patch across the front of your pants normally reserved for public restroom adventures. You would probably end up with wet feet, top of bottom, from the unavoidable splash & dump of water out of this inadequate sink.
***this essay can be found in the book Alone In The Kichen With An Eggplant edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler


Ginger said...

i like the many jars of beans and grains on those shelves. i wish i had the room for that. fortunately, i live right next to a conventional grocery store and well within a reasonable distance to a few different health food stores.

you get used to the electric stove. (sigh)

happy veganmofo!

BitterSweet said...

Your kitchen looks so nicely organized... I wish mine were nearly so tidy!

Bex said...

I am constantly making myself use stuff up because I don't have any more room for new ingredients.
I don't really have room for new cookbooks either as if that's going to stop me. bahahahaha

Destiny's Vegan Kitchen said...

Your spice rack is so cute!

Danielle said...

I had a studio apt once, only we called it an efficiency. The kitchen, or lack of sucked!!! Reading your post brought back all kinds of forgotten cooking nightmares! Ahh those were the days! lol

Catherine said...

I second that "boo" to the electric stove. Why does anybody even install them?? (I guess, no gasline?)

Carrie said...

I love your spice rack!

I couldn't cook before going vegan either...well really basic things, but that's about it.

B.A.D. said...

I love kitchen photos! Hearing about cooking adventures and growth. Plus that spice rack is tres chic.

Celine said...

you have a nice rack!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

I like your spice rack. Mine is not nearly as large or organized.

Debbie said...

I love your spice rack! If only I was that organized.. Mine are crammed into a corner shelf, and I'm constantly digging for the right one!

Anonymous said...

I didn't really cook before going vegan either! I spent 8 years as a vegetarian living off of pasta and jarred sauce. And then I went vegan and started cooking like mad and got obsessed with cookbooks. I can't imagine trying to cook in your last kitchen, but challenges like that make us appreciate nice kitchens all the more!

allularpunk said...

yay for a bigger kitchen! it's got soooo much more room than mine. and i agree with adventurous vegan cooking before was definitely just barely edible and now i try all sorts of new things, sometimes they work, sometimes not..but it's always worth the effort!

Eesh said...

I like how your spices are set up. I was just rifling thru my spices today, full of badly sealed packets spilling their contents all over my cupboard. I've been meaning to do the jar thing but have just never gotten around to it. I need to get started!

It's amazing how becoming vegan has made us more confident about our cooking skills.

Sanja said...

O, sooo many cabinets, I want that too!

I like all the jars; it's so neat looking! Much better than how I store almost everything: in the package they came in... Maybe it is time to splurge on a lot of jars?

Anonymous said...

I love seeing peoples' kitchens. You have so much space and I am so jealous. I need to read that New York kitchen book because my kitchen is super-duper small (but gas stove!).

Bethany said...

thanks for the pics of your kitchen. your shelves are loaded w/ canned goods and they look really nice.

We should all do pictures of our kitchens on our blogs.

Personally, I like a cramped kitchen. My current kitchen is decently sized, but I haven't really bonded w/ it. Probably because at one point we were looking at a house years ago and it had my dream kitchen. It was a medium small kitchen, but I loved the cramped feeling and layout. I still fantasize about that house. I called it the house of many layers. sigh.