This may come as a surprise, but I’m still alive! 🙂
It’s bee a crazy few months, and I’m still not totally settled into my “new” apartment (once you’ve been living in a place for four months, do you finally have to stop referring to it as the “new apartment”?). I also helped a couple of my friends move into an adorable vintage (but nicely updated) apartment that I had stumbled upon on Craig’s List. And then there’s this guy…
But anyway, what has finally brought me back (at least for now), was some thoughts I’ve been having on the state of the early 21st century American kitchen. Not even so much what we’re cooking in our kitchens (though I could go on and on about the elitism to be found in the organic, all-natural, raw, vegan, paleo, etc. fads–and that being said as a girl who shops mostly at an organic market!)
But what I’m really getting at is the physical kitchen. And Americans’ obsessions with making them bigger, slicker, fancier, and more expensive! I watched a fair amount of HGTV back in the days when I had cable, and I still spend a fair amount of time browsing pictures of kitchens on Pinterest and the like.
Want to try a fun exercise? Go to Google, type in “small kitchen” or “tiny kitchen”, go to Images, and see what pops up. I’m gonna bet that the vast majority of the kitchens you see are neither small nor tiny.
THIS is a small (but still not tiny) kitchen:
Can you think of some things you don’t see in my kitchen? Things like a microwave, or a dishwasher? And if you looked at my kitchen today, now that I’ve been moved in for four months, you still wouldn’t see an electric coffee pot, or a stand mixer, or a bread machine, or a rice maker, or really, any small electric appliances besides a fan, a blender, and a crock pot (and the blender and the crock pot get used once a month tops, so I’m well aware they are no where near “necessary”)
And the crazy thing is? I love to cook. L.O.V.E. I like to make bread, and tamales, and all sorts of really involved things that make lots of dishes, and that most Americans (and a lot of recipes) will tell you require special equipment. But I make delicious bread my mixing the ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon, kneading the dough with my hands, forming it and placing it in a pan or on a baking sheet, and baking it in the oven. When I dirty a lot of dishes, I pour myself a drink, put on some music, and fill up the sink with hot soapy water.
All of these slick gizmos and gadgets and granite counter tops and stainless steel wine fridges and kitchens the size of my entire first apartment are NOT necessary. You can be an accomplished cook without them. You can entertain and have groups of people over without them. You can live happily and eat well without them!
They are simply status symbols. And I hate status symbols.
Think so need a dishwasher and a microwave so that you can spend time with the kids? How about dragging them away from the TV or the computer and having them help cook?
Think you can’t let your friends come over for a diner party and see your kitchen unless it has acres of counter space and custom made cabinets and half a dozen stainless steel appliances? If they’re people worth being friends with, they won’t care about anything beyond your company and some good food.
So cook good food. Spend time with each other. And reject this idea that we must always be striving for more and “better” and more expensive things.