The Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbook: Everything You Need to Know About Setting Up and Cooking in the Most Ridiculously Small Kitchen in the World--Your Own

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9780767920162: The Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbook: Everything You Need to Know About Setting Up and Cooking in the Most Ridiculously Small Kitchen in the World--Your Own

If your cluttered small kitchen makes you dread cooking even the simplest meal, it’s time for you to reclaim that space—and your sanity!—with this practical and witty guide. Here you will learn how to:

*Purge your kitchen of unnecessary, space-hogging STUFF

* Maximize counter space

*Organize and streamline your kitchen for peak efficiency and easy cleanup

*Locate the best cooking equipment (and retailers) for small kitchens

*Re-think shopping, cooking, and storing food to suit your small-kitchen lifestyle

*Use ingenious creative shortcuts for small-space entertaining
Best of all, each of the book’s 100 recipes is designed for minimal space, time, and pots and pans. With no more than two burners and a toaster oven you can make easy breakfasts, fast soups, comfort food like Mom’s Sunday Pot Roast or Mole-Style Chili, big batch recipes for no-fuss entertaining, and even great desserts like Orange Marmalade Bread Pudding or Extreme (super-fast, super-chocolatey) Brownies.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Justin Spring, pictured here in his 45-square-foot New York City kitchen, is a writer who learned many of his small-kitchen strategies aboard a family sailboat.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1
Kitchen Purge
One of the most surprising things about presiding over a functional small kitchen is discovering how few things you actually need in order to accomplish the majority of your cooking tasks--and how creatively you can improvise when you haven't got much special equipment. another equally surprising thing about your functional small kitchen is that it becomes increasingly dysfunctional as it fills up with things that are, on first appearance, quite useful--to the point that, crammed full of great stuff, it becomes almost entirely unusable.

So, if you're just moving in to your new apartment, don't unpack those boxes marked "kitchen" just yet. instead, stop for a moment and consider your barren little kitchen as it now exists--pristine, empty, and full of potential. You have shelf space, drawer space, and counter space. So . . . if your boxes contain things you don't really want and hardly ever use, things that up until now you haven't had the energy, focus, or drive to throw out (in other words, stuff), consider leaving it all boxed up for a while.

Now visualize cooking in a tiny kitchen of Zen-garden simplicity (do you hear the distant strains of a shakuhachi flute?)--a place that holds the absolute minimum of objects, in which you still have room enough to cook.

This, too, can be yours.

For those who have just arrived in a new home

If you are just moving in to your new kitchen, try the following experiment. Rather than unpack your kitchen boxes, leave them as is, and instead take things out of them on an as needed basis. Once you have used something, find a place for it in your kitchen cabinets.

Over the course of the next two weeks, you are going to discover how many things--plates, cups, glasses, silverware, pots, pans--you actually use. At the end of that time, if you dare, consider putting all the rest of your stuff into storage.

Can you rise to the challenge? If you're like most people, you can't and you won't. So . . . read on.

George and His Royal Crown Derby: A Cautionary Tale

Professional organizers all agree that the hardest and least glamorous part of reorganizing any kitchen is clearing it out so it can work properly--and also that the longer a person has lived in a space, the more cluttered his or her kitchen will have become. If you are not a natural-born thrower-outer (and few of us are), the hardest part of clearing out an object-filled kitchen is going to be in getting started, not only because you are basically conflicted about the need for change of any sort but also because you fear that removing even the smallest item will bring irrevocable loss.

Let's for a moment consider an extreme case: a museum curator named George. George lives in a five-hundred-square-foot apartment featuring a modest galley kitchen with six cabinets. He likes to cook, and when he first moved in to his apartment ten years back, his kitchen provided him with just enough cooking and storage space for entertaining friends with the simple home-cooked foods that every homesick, space-challenged, yet relentlessly cosmopolitan city dweller craves.

George's home life took a sudden turn for the worse, however, when his rich uncle Clayton died and left him a service for forty of Royal Crown Derby "Red Aves," an ornately patterned red-and-white china dating from the late 1930s featuring images of birds of paradise and oriental pheasants amid exquisitely detailed feathers and foliage. George already owned his own dishes--a perfectly nice set of Spode "Florentine" for ten (purchased both charitably and economically at the Lenox Hill Hospital Thrift Shop), plus several smaller sets of dessert plates and breakfast china picked up here and there on his assorted wanderings through Europe. But Clayton's "Red Aves" was family china. And so, with some juggling, George found a place in his kitchen cabinets for all of it. Of course, there was no longer any room there for his cookware, his utensils, or his food.

For a while, George managed to make an occasional meal, because he still loved cooking and entertaining. It was just a whole lot more complicated and frustrating to do so. But then his aunt Gladys, Clayton's sister, left George her monogrammed silver: Tiffany "Wave Edge," a combination luncheon and dinner service, also for forty (with related hollowware and buffet items), which she, in turn, had inherited from her parents. Since her monogram was George's monogram too, how could he say no?

A month later, entirely unannounced, four crates of monogrammed linens arrived via U-Haul, along with Aunt Gladys's cat.

That really was the end of George's kitchen.

Today, George no longer cooks. His kitchen and closets are so full of dishes and silver and linens stuff that he pretty much lives on take-out food. While he still loves to entertain, he does so these days in the most joyless and perfunctory of ways: by purchasing precooked meals at the supermarket, bypassing his kitchen entirely, and simply unpacking his rotisserie chicken and supermarket coleslaw right there at the dinner table. He nonetheless takes great pride in serving these cold, flavorless foods in high style--on the same gorgeous china, silver, and linens that have otherwise ruined his life!

Kitchen Clutter Intervention

If, like george, you are an unrepentant collector of stuff, you are probably not going to clear out your itty bitty kitchen cabinets without what is known as a therapeutic intervention. An intervention happens when a concerned family member or friend steps forward to confront you with the news that you have a serious problem that is clearly interfering with your ability to function. In this case, your problem is kitchen-cluttering stuff.

Your first step toward recovery will be in admitting that you are powerless over kitchen-cluttering stuff, and that your kitchen life has become unmanageable as a result.

Your second step will be to envision your kitchen as once again a working kitchen, rather than just a storage area for stuff.

Your third step will be to believe that, through the de-clutterizing process, your kitchen can be emptied of stuff and restored to normal order and use--and also that, by extension, once this stuff disappears, your life will be vastly improved by your newfound ability to make your kitchen function (that is, to cook).

Your fourth step, of course, is actually getting in to that kitchen and ridding it of stuff.

Once you decide that a fully functional, stuff-free kitchen is something you really want--and George, God bless him, may never get there--here is how you start.

The Art of the Purge

Organization experts who consult with home owners on the management of domestic space have many approaches and techniques for getting a kitchen into shape, but all agree that the key to managing any space well is to rid it of stuff. You can pay one of these highly effective consultants anywhere from fifty to two hundred dollars an hour to help you with the process--and it's a valuable service, costing less than psychotherapy; reach one of them through the National Association of Professional Organizers, www.napo.net, which has an automated online referral system. But a more economical alternative is simply to suck it up and do the work yourself. If you choose this latter course of action, you will need an extremely well-organized friend to stand in for that expensive, experienced, and totally focused professional organizer.

So select your mentor carefully. Someone who has himself conquered a clutter problem is best, since that person will know exactly what you are facing, and at the same time will have an appropriate (which is to say limited) sympathy for your anguish. Those who have mastered the art of home organization and stuff removal are often keen to share their hard-won skills with others, but the skill itself is based on a "tough love" philosophy, for stuff is infernally seductive; in fact, the stuff of addiction.

Once you have found the right person to help you, here's the drill.

First, prepare by getting your kitchen as clean and neat as it can be. (Otherwise you may panic and give up.) You will have better luck with your kitchen purge if the rest of your little home is very clean too, since once you start unpacking your kitchen, stuff is going to flood into your living space and threaten to take over your life.

Second, agree in advance that your well-organized friend will supervise you for a set period of time (four hours is about as much as most people can take). Don't hesitate to offer some kind of hourly payment or in-kind recompense for the job, since a "clock-is-ticking" mentality actually helps keep both of you motivated (the natural inclination, halfway through the job, is to wander away from the kitchen, pour a large cocktail, and watch some TV).

Now, with the help of this limited-sympathy friend, lay out five boxes or areas in the middle of your living space, labeling them as follows: put away (kitchen), put away (elsewhere), give away/sell, storage, and trash. Now start sorting through your stuff, putting each thing into one of the five boxes. Your friend's job is to urge you on, keep you from getting distracted, and correct you when you start putting huge amounts of stuff back into the put away (kitchen) box. He or she will also encourage you to stop sniveling and whining about what is, essentially, a whole lot of really useless junk.

Not everyone can do their entire kitchen in one go. If you are dealing with extreme amounts of stuff, or find de-stuffing your entire kitchen simply too overwhelming because of stuff-related emotional distress, allow yourself to do the job gradually. Do one box, one cupboard, one drawer, or one shelf. But once you commit to spending a certain amount of time sorting and discarding, stick to it!

When you have finished all of your sorting ...

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