Do you have limited counter space? I do and it stinks. You can find me grumbling about it on any given day. Enter my friend, Johanna. Small apartment living has taken its toll on this home cook, but when you taste anything she bakes you’d never know.
Over Johanna’s famous homemade biscotti I start to chat about counter space (or lack thereof). I ramble on about my own small kitchen in Summerville, South Carolina and how my current tiny apartment is the absolute worst. I have no room for anything it seems. And then it dawns on me that I have one thing dominating my countertop that Johanna doesn’t have. A MICROWAVE!
Why don’t you own a microwave? “The apartment didn’t come with it and I couldn’t justify the expense of my space or money just for reheating meals which is the only time I would use it… except for melting butter for my popcorn addiction.”
Smartypants. I guess the same holds true for me. I only use it to reheat my coffee a billion times a day. My coffee would probably grow lips and say “thank you” if I just stopped doing that.
“It really isn’t necessary and I like not cluttering my kitchen or my mind with things I can really live without and truly not regret.”
Johanna’s counters, unlike mine, are actually pleasant to look at. She only has out what she uses AND brings her joy. There’s a coffee station that takes up a whole square of space but grinding fresh beans happens to be a big deal to her. And me. So I approve.
I start to envision my own counters (sans microwave) with a cutesy coffee station. We all know I’m going home to pin 100 coffee station concepts ASAP.
But why make room for cookbooks? “My cookbooks are part of the aesthetic quality of my kitchen. I only keep good ones, but they tend to be pretty and colorful so they serve 2 purposes! I also always want them on hand for easy reference. I also always hope I’ll use them more if they’re right there. Also, as you’ve seen, my entire apartment is practically a library. So books are appropriate any/everywhere to me!”
“I cook regularly, though it be only 1-2 days of cooking for an entire week of meals, so you could technically say I do cook a lot… just at one time! But I also bake a lot and so cookbooks in the kitchen (visible and easily accessible) are the only way I can imagine them being of any use to me. And enjoyable! They are like old friends, and some have a lot of family history and some have notes from my mom in them. :)”
We both laugh over having a similar obsession with Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food mini magazine. Ya’ll remember those? Apparently they were only in print between 2003-2012. And Johanna has a whole collection sitting right on her counter between her cooking utensils and an adorable jar of gum balls. Squee!
“My kitchen is an important part of my home, aesthetically too. So besides needing everything to be easy to get to but the counter space not cluttered, I want it to be pleasing to be in for myself and my guests.”
I must agree. There’s this balance between what I need in the kitchen to function and what pretty little things make me smile. Both can work together to make the space refreshingly enjoyable, so both aspects matter. I don’t have to accept an industrial kitchen devoid of charm as long as I’m willing to sacrifice a few things that I don’t even use much anyway. Let’s clear the clutter! And bring on that coffee station…
In truth, I’m still learning to embrace what lemons I’ve been given for a kitchen space. If you’ve ever had a tiny kitchen and love to cook, you know what a drag that can be. But given some thought about what matters to our family most when it comes to making meals (and serving them with a smile) I can create a space that makes me happy.
We’ll wrap this up with Johanna’s thoughts on…
Favorite kitchen appliance? “Dishwasher.”
Most essential kitchen item? “A good knife.”
On your wishlist? “A big Cuisinart food processor.”
Fave celebrity chef? “Ina Garten.”
Food you’ll never try? “Blood pudding.”
Right with you on that one, sister.