Tuesday, August 9, 2005

In a Kitchen Size Does Matter - Or Does It?

Growing up in Montreal, we always had a large eat-in kitchen with lots of windows and room for at least five of us around the table. It was always the hub of the house where everyone seemed to be drawn, like magnets. Even as an adult living there, my kitchens were spacious with room for everyone to congregate (and taste). There was lots of counter space and tons of cupboards for food, dishes and all sorts of pots, pans and baking gear. So, now that I'm in Toronto and have a kitchen that is so small no more than 3 people can fit at any time, and with working counter space the size of a cutting board, I dream about having a "real" kitchen. It would be white with pine counter tops and have lots of big windows to let in light. There would be a large country-style table that seats at least 8 for casual dinners and provide more prep space for cooking and baking. There would be an island area in the center of the kitchen where everyone would hang out while I cook so I don't miss any fascinating conversation. People seem to gather in the doorway currently. The spice cupboard would be wide with shallow shelves so all my herbs and spices wouldn't have to perch precariously on top of each other. Occasionally the bottles and bags, tired of trying to defy gravity, come crashing to earth and I have to rebuild my house-of-cards construction.

There is actually another shelf, but I couldn't back up far enough to get it in the shot.

In my perfect kitchen, I’d have a Butler’s Pantry (or walk in pantry) with room for all my staples and oversized cookware. There would be hidden, pop-up drawers under the counter for big appliances like my Kitchen Aid mixer, Cuisinart food processor, the toaster oven and coffee maker. Shallow drawers would hold my gadgets in an orderly fashion (I did say this was a DREAM kitchen, since no matter how many drawers there are or how many IKEA space saving devices you buy, gadgets seem to like to live in chaos) and deep ones for pots, pans and baking ware. There would be two ovens (both self cleaning, naturally) for those big parties or for being able to bake and roast at the same time without dessert tasting like garlic!! The top of the stove would have four gas burners plus a grill. And the fridge…..a huge side-by-side with ample room for all my mustards, jams, jellies and other condiments that currently take up all the space that should be reserved for fresh herbs, vegetables, fruit, cheeses, meat and fish. It’s usually a balancing act there too, especially if I’m entertaining. The freezer side would be three times the size of what I have now. Of course, knowing me, it would probably be packed too.

Back to reality ….. even though my kitchen is small and I often can be heard mumbling “I hate this kitchen” and occassionally a few more colourful words as well, I still manage to cook and bake for parties of 12 to 20 people or more. The dining room table becomes my workspace, the electrical appliances not in use are put in the basement as are non perishable condiments to free up space in the fridge. And I remind myself that my grandmother cooked for up to 30 in her tiny apartment and my Auntie Rae did the same in her practically non-existent kitchen. She used her dishwasher as her cupboard for pots and pans!!! Their meals were delicious and I never heard them whine about a lack of space, so I guess I’ll try to do the same as I drool over kitchen magazines.

I’d love to hear about your kitchens and how you manage.


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Anonymous said...

Mum, You're hilarious. I love the picture of the spice rack. It totally captures how terrifying it is in real life! One day....the dream kitchen will be yours....
Love you!

Shauna said...


Ah, a foodie after my own heart. I'm thrilled to have found your blog (because you found mine). Isn't it scrumptious, this world of food blogs?

Love the photo of the spice cupboard. How many of those have I suffered through? And your description of your dream kitchen closely matches mine. And the one I had in London. However, I quite like the one I have now, which I wrote about on the 3rd of August on my blog.

I'm adding your blog to my links list. Everyone should come and read it!

Ruth Daniels said...

Yes food blogging is scrumptious. I gain weight just by reading and some of the photos are spectacular.

As my daughter says, it is quite a terrifying spice cupboard and no one will venture close but me.

Ana said...

Well Ruth, in my new little house, you know, the one which renovation but my back out of whack (can't loose a good opportunity to whine, now can't I), one of the first things I did was to redo the kitchen. I moved it to another room in the house so I was able to do some of it myself while have a functioning kitchen at the same time.

I bought and installed an Ikea kitchen and I do have the pine countertops. However, mine is a small galley kitchen and has no island. I might blog about it soon. You just gave me a wonderful idea.

Ruth Daniels said...

Ana, can't wait to see your kitchen. I do hope your back is better and that you won't overdo things, in your zeal to redo your house.

Koekkener said...

Very good article, and kitchens have a nice arrangement. Thank you for sharing...