AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Where the Magic Happens DATE: 12/14/2008 08:11:00 AM ----- BODY:
I rarely complain about the size of my kitchen. And it’s tiny at 9 feet long by 7 ½ feet wide -- and that’s the area according to the ceiling. When you consider a few appliances, cabinets and a sink, there’s barely enough room for me in there. I joke that my refrigerator has a self-regulating mechanism that prevents me from over-eating and becoming too big. If I gain too much weight, it’s a logistical impossibility to open the refrigerator to eat more food. And yet, when friends visit, they are always surprised by the coziness of the space. More curious to them, when I talk about renovating my house (a pipe-dream in its own right), I talk about adding a fireplace or a foyer, but never do I suggest that I want a bigger kitchen. Would it be nice? Yes! Are there other places I’d rather spend my money? Most definitely! So until I become independently wealthy, I’ll make do.

Mark Bittman’s
Manhattan kitchen is even smaller – 7 feet by 6 feet. Yet he manages to test all the recipes for his cookbooks and newspaper articles. In today’s New York Times, he writes that most chefs, food writers and cooks that learned their skill pre-world war II agree that size does not matter. Fancy equipment does not make a better cook; skill, practice and taste do.

Working in restaurants, I learned to contain my work to the area that’s just as big as my cutting board, plus about a 6 inches perimeter. Other cooks would encroach on my space from either side. I learned to work efficiently and neatly. Cooking at home, I’ve become a bit sloppy, but I can only go so far because my kitchen is still small.

My saving grace is the mini speed-rack I had custom built. The shelves hold 9 half-sheet pans. It’s a standard counter height with a wood block on top to match the size and shape of the other counters. I use the sheet-pans for cooking and as shelves. When things come out of the oven they slide right onto the speed rack until they’re cool. I can also store prep on the shelves until ready to be used. It’s an incredibly efficient space-saving piece of furniture/equipment.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Heather DATE:12/14/2008 11:25:00 AM woah! that speed rack is awesome!! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Chocolate Shavings DATE:12/14/2008 02:03:00 PM I used to work with speed racks all the time in professional kitchens and could only wish
I had one at home! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:12/14/2008 06:20:00 PM I've been lucky enough to watch the magic happen in that tiny kitchen, and to taste the results! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger melissa DATE:12/15/2008 06:13:00 PM LOVE the speed rack. Lucky lady. I would trade some of my space in my generic apartment kitchen to have that rack.

He he. Rack.

Sorry. :P ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous chefectomy DATE:12/15/2008 10:56:00 PM Let me tell ya Julia - size doesn't matter! Your kitchen looks good BTW. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:12/16/2008 07:00:00 AM Heather, It really is! Best kitchen investment I ever made.

Chocolate shavings, I bet you could go to a restaurant supply store and order one - mine is half wide, half tall.

Thanks, Lydia! Come back for more.

Melissa, Rack? tee hee.

Chefectomy, Isn't always those with the small kitchen that say sizes doesn't matter? I'm sure if I had a big kitchen I would sing a different tune. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Kristi DATE:12/20/2008 09:31:00 PM let me just chime in:

speed rack = brilliant. ----- --------