Setting up a new kitchen takes careful consideration. When I’m cooking, the last thing I want to do is frantically search for my measuring cups, food processor, or where I put that cocoa powder from the store two weeks ago. Placement and organization should be intuitive. So much so, I want my friends to have an immediate sense where the silverware is located or where to grab a glass.
This is the challenge. I have a new kitchen, and to add to the fascinating conundrum, I have my roommate’s perspective to consider as well. So before signing our lease, we went through this exercise, while our landlord laughed the entire time.
Stand in your kitchen and pick an activity in your mind. Are you doing dishes, cooking on the stove, prepping food? Then, think about what items you need, what would you be reaching for, and where they would be stored. Then decide how far you’re willing to travel, assuming your hands might be covered in flour, or oven mits carrying a hot dish, or tending to four hot pots cooking at once. One step, two, maybe even three?
Right off the bat, we agreed on the location of glasses; cups should be near the coffee, right above the dishwasher. Appliances were the next priority and actually needing the most space – turns out, together we have all the essentials: Cuisinart food processor, Kitchen Aide mixer, electric kettle, crock pot, rice maker, panini press, hand mixer, and submersion blender. After that, it was almost a process of elimination among the remaining space for dishes, cutlery, baking dishes, pots & pans, and pantry.
Then came the discussion about what can live on the counter and what would need to find its own home hidden behind a wooden panel, regardless of how much it is used. Espresso maker and milk frother gets a place of honor; yep, milk frother, hello morning cappuccino. Primary cooking utensils and knife rack, sure, standard fare. Kitchen aides are pretty to look at, yep, ok, fine. After that, I confessed my need for clean empty surfaces to maintain a sense of zen calm, and with luck, she agreed. Negotiations are key to sharing space…
San Francisco kitchens tend to run on the small side. Having enough cupboard space and counter-top space are higher on my must-needs list than a dishwasher or even a garbage disposal, and for the first time, enough space for two people cooking at once entered the list.
After all the boxes cleared, we have the basics in place – not too shabby! You’ll note there’s no microwave or toaster oven in sight, a.k.a. no short cuts. It’s all gonna be made from scratch.
As with any kitchen, things will shift and evolve as we start using the area more and more and figure out what works. On the immediate agenda, we’ll be making something for our upstairs neighbor to say hello – debating between a fruit pie, a sweet bread, or old fashioned cookies, hmmm.