Tips from a tiny kitchen

When we decode a cookbook, every one of us is a practicing chemist. Cooking is really the oldest, most basic application of physical and chemical forces to natural materials.
~Arthur E. Grosser

1. Keep at least one counter top clear. You can’t cook without a counter top. You can put things on it, just make sure they are put away quickly. The toaster does not belong on the counter top, nor does the rice cooker. Use these things and then put them away.

2. Get rid of the useless stuff. I don’t cook rice enough to justify a rice cooker. Nor does my roommate (although that doesn’t stop her). I can cook rice just fine in a pot. I can boil water for tea just fine in a pot. So instead of three items…a pot, a rice cooker, and a kettle, I just have the one.

3. Don’t buy it if you don’t have to. If you don’t use cayenne pepper a lot, don’t buy it. Call up a friend and see if they have some you can snag.

4. Bullion cubes. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to make and have homemade stock. But I don’t have a large enough pot to make it nor enough room to store it (this is a very tiny kitchen). So I just keep bullion cubes on hand and make a cup of broth/stock with a cube and a cup of water. Saltier, yes, but when you’ve little room and littler cash, bullion cubes are a good bet.

5. Bulk bins. Nothing’s better than buying only the amount you need at one time, especially when the packaged stuff only comes in the “Too Big” size.

6. Buy, prep, and cook one meal at a time. Sure, you can cook a month’s worth of food at once. But I have nowhere to store all that. I cook a meal, I eat it until it’s gone, and then I cook something else.

7. Use what you’ve got. Leftover onion half? Ground beef someone gave you? Look at your supplies, see what you’ve got on hand, and cook using that first.

8. Don’t buy spice mixes. Make your own.

9. Omit or substitute. If you don’t have it, find something you do have to replace it with, or omit it altogether. My chicken soup was not lacking because I left out the mushrooms.

10. Store it in the pot. Cook something in the crock pot or on a pot on the stove? Pop a lid on that sucker and stick it in the fridge. Unless you need to make tea, you’ve saved yourself from having to dirty and clean (or own) another damn tupperware container.

11. Cut the recipe down. Cooking for one? Pot too small? Not sure if you’ll like it? Cut that recipe in half.

12. Consolidate the cookbooks. Pick out your favorite recipes, write them down in a book (or in a file on the computer) and give the cookbooks to someone else. This cuts down on the clutter and makes your recipes easier to find.

13. Use the internet. The internet is a great resource for substitutions, recipes, and tips. Best of all, it doesn’t bring more junk into your kitchen. Just make sure to leave the laptop in the living room.

14. Clean stuff out. Especially the fridge. I share mine with the roommate, who tends to keep all kinds of crap in there. And if you know what’s in your fridge, you know what to throw out, and then you don’t have to dig out and discover all sorts of nasty crap that’s been hiding in there since the last ice age.

Anyone else have any tips?

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6 Responses to “Tips from a tiny kitchen”

  1. Dargon Says:

    Clean your plates and silverwear right after eating. They clean easier than, and if you keep it clean, there is no need to have fifty sets of plates and silverwear.

    SImilar to your useless stuff, get rid of redundant stuff. You don’t need a paring knife, a boning knife, a butchers knife….one decent knife can cut just about anything (maybe two so as to not cross contaminate).

    One big lid fits all the little pots too. No need for fifty lids.

    Lastly and most importantly, give food you aren’t going to eat to me.

    • cwnmamau Says:

      I forgot about lids. I have a lid for the pot, but for the pan I just use a plate turned upside down.

      And although I own two knives, I only ever use the one. The chopping knife is great, but I can chop just fine with my regular knife. Cross-contamination can be avoided by chopping veggies first and then meat last. This is also recommended if you only have one cutting board.

  2. flsquared Says:

    sometimes it’s worth it to go disposable. for example, if cooking a turkey dinner for thanksgiving, who has room to store that big huge baking dish? and who wants to clean it? buy an aluminum one, use it that day, and toss it later.

    love your site!

    http://familyliving4less.wordpress.com/

  3. Trisha Says:

    These tips are pretty nifty. I understand the roommate thing. My food takes up one shelf in the pantry and one in the fridge (plus some one the door). My roommate…hoards. The rest of the huge pantry we have is hers as is the rest of the fridge because she hoards and generally does not like to share (her eating habits are horrible, I wouldn’t want to share her food either)

    *sigh* roommates lol

    • cwnmamau Says:

      Mine has a tendency to eat lots and lost of snack and processed foods. She eats some whole foods, but there’s a lot of junk in the fridge. And when she hits up the store, she buys a LOT. I just buy enough to fix the next meal. As a result, my side of the fridge is clear and hers is encroaching on mine. Every now and then I have to beat it back with a stick. :P

  4. […] Cook one meal at a time: Buy, prep, and cook one meal at a time, eat it til it’s gone, and then cook something else. […]

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