Book Review – The Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbook

…think of those five-year-old marshmallow Peeps that suddenly emerge from the depths of your spice cabinet like so many bright yellow Rip Van Winkles…

The Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbook by Justin Spring

I picked up this little book (and it is little) at the library on a whim. I’d recommend it to people who cook, people with tiny kitchens, or people who don’t cook but would like to, regardless of kitchen size.

As a person who has been cooking in a tiny kitchen, and on a budget, I found it useful but not life-changing, mostly because much of the advice given I’d already figured out on my own.

The book is lively and entertaining (see quote above) and a quick read. His advice is generally solid, and he offers actual stores and websites where you can pick up some of the products he mentions. He’s very thorough, covering everything from decluttering to pets to cleaning in the tiny kitchen.

I did have two issues with the book, though. One was that he often mentions buying racks, lazy susans, and other organizational tools. This is fine, if you own the place you live in and have the money to spend. But as a broke person who rents, I found many of those solutions to be unavailable.

He also has a HUGE list of kitchen gadgets he recommends. For example, in the “Oven and Bakeware” section, he lists as “particularly useful:”
Four 8 oz ramekins
Four 4 oz ramekins
2 single serving size gratin dishes
9 inch ovenproof glass pie dish with lid
8×8 inch baking dish with lid
9×9 inch baking dish with lid

I don’t even know what ramekins or gratin dishes are. My own “oven and bakeware” section is a pyrex baking dish. I don’t even know the dimensions. Not to mention how would I store all this in my IBK shared with a roommate who owns a rice cooker she never uses (I cook my rice in a pot).

Since he apparently used to cook in a sailboat galley made up of a “camp stove, an ice chest, and a bucket” I would’ve figured the list would be a bit smaller. I’ll give him the benefit of a doubt, though, and say that he’s catering to people who consider 900 sq ft “small.”

In my own kitchen, I have:
4 Coca-cola glasses
4 plates
4 bowls (although one is the cats’ water dish)
Tea mug
Pot (with lid)
Pyrex baking dish
Crock pot
Plastic measuring cup
Set of measuring spoons
Cutting knife
Chopping knife
Plastic spoon
Six forks
Five spoons
Two butter knifes
Steak Knife
Cutting board
Can opener
Big plastic green container
“Colander” (I don’t know what the hell it really is, but it does the job)

That’s it. Literally. Everything else is either spices or food. I actually owned more kitchen shit when I didn’t cook. Funny how things work that way.

Overall, it’s a useful little book. I’d recommend it, with a grain or two of salt. I prefer sea salt, but if the iodized stuff is all you have, that’s fine, too.

2 Responses to “Book Review – The Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbook”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I wanna play the kitchen stuff game!

    I have:
    8 tall glasses
    9 short glasses (note, glasses were a set purchased at wholesale dealer)
    1 “Don’t Shoot The Bu” plastic cup
    tea mug
    6 plastic bowls (one is cat’s bowl)
    6 plates (one is cat’s plate)
    8 forks
    8 spoons
    8 butter knives
    2 steak knives
    1 measuring teaspoon (this is 100% of my measuring equipment)
    3 wooden spoons
    potato masher (which I have no idea where I got)
    2 pans
    3 pots with lids
    2 skillets
    small casserole dish (also of unknown origin)
    1 pitcher
    2 sets chopsticks

    The end!

    Stuff I want:
    Baking tray
    Measuring cups

    Wouldn’t mind having a mixer or blender, but I don’t cook often enough to get my money’s and spaces worth…though at the moment space is something I have.

    • cwnmamau Says:

      I have a blender, but it’s crap and thus I never use it. When I did use it it was only for smoothies and salsa. Said blender is on the Goodwill pile.

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