my tiny kitchen

My kitchen is a hallway. Honestly, calling it a hallway is generous. My kitchen can fit two people. When I first moved into this apartment in 2015, it didn’t feel like a huge deal: I was eating almost exclusively chicken, rice, and broccoli, so I figured having a tiny kitchen wouldn’t be too crippling. Then (of course) I had to adopt an obsession with learning new culinary skills, and it all snowballed from there: my best friend and I cooked an entire thanksgiving dinner for twelve people in this kitchen. I learned how to make tikka masala, gnocchi, vegan chickpea burritos, banana bread from scratch, and countless other recipes in this kitchen. However, it never felt pretty until I started channeling effort into it last year. It still has a long way to go, but I wanted to share what it looks like at the moment as per your suggestions on my instagram post asking for blog ideas!

Okay, here we go!

A good place to start is with my jars. I really liked the exposed piping in the cabinet above my stove, so I went ahead and took the doors off (stowed away until I move out — I am a renter). All of my jars, which have either been thrifted or repurposed from jarred goods, hold ingredients that I use regularly. I like to cook from scratch whatever chance I get because I like to know what goes into my food. I also don’t enjoy labels, so I usually take labels off of things (except my elderflower syrup, because I thought the label was cute). I also keep my oils in old bottles, such as my olive oil, which was formerly a corked bottle of mead. I also use the cutting board on the left frequently, which I found at a goodwill for $3. Most of my kitchen goods are thrifted.

Directly across from the wall with the jars is my corner that’s a work in progress. I just got my dream toaster from Smeg in the mail today, which I have lusted after for over a year and finally bought. Next to that is my block of Wüstof knives, which are high-grade knives that I received from my nana as a christmas gift. My nana is a chef and loves to support my newfound interest in cooking.

As you may have seen in some of my instagram stories, I am an Airbnb host. Sometimes, as a host, it is difficult to express what is available for guests to use and what isn’t, and I decided it was best to have a designated area for kitchen supplies that are just for guests, which is the lower shelf. I have my wine glasses and champagne flutes (a gift from two very drunk guests who broke my original set), which are extremely useful for those who come with a friend to stay on the weekends. I have my copper mule mugs as well, a set that I regret buying because I wish I invested in ones that I actually like. I have two ornate ceramic mugs (a lucky goodwill find — $1 each), and some cute little cups with deer on them, which are a nod to the rest of my house. In the jar are eating utensils. I have a lot of guests who come from Asian countries, so I made sure I also had chopsticks and table spoons available as well, as some guests wanted nice ones to eat with and not the wooden ones I was sneaking in my purse from the sushi restaurant.

Above my Airbnb shelf is the biggest collection I have. I have been collecting mugs since I was in high school, and I managed to narrow it down to only the special ones. Although accumulating a bunch of (colorful) things seems way out of character for me, I keep them and cherish them because each one has a specific memory or meaning behind it. I have two Jack Skellington mugs — one from my sister and one from my partner, and both mean a lot to me. The snake-looking mug was a gift from a close friend. I bought the Friends mug from NBC studios the first time I went to NYC. Even the cups have meaning — ET is one of my favorite movies, so I have the collectible 1980’s Pizza Hut cups, and the cup with the hearts on it is for when my best friend comes over, and she is the only one who uses it.

This is my favorite little corner in my kitchen. My partner gave me a chemex as a gift because I don’t like electric coffeemakers (or ugly countertop appliances). The tall ceramic cup in the corner was from a thrift store when we went to San Francisco last year, and all the wooden spoons are from different places — some were gifts, some were from Sur La Table, and others were lucky thrift finds. I have one personal set of cutlery, which is my pride and joy. White enamelware, as I came to learn, is IMPOSSIBLE to find or make. I saw these in a local boutique home goods store last year and scoured the internet for anything similar, and there was nothing to be found. So, finally, I made my way back to the original store and they fished one of the last sets out of the back for me. I paid $45 for this set, which isn’t bad considering how rare they are, but obviously quite the investment. They bring me so much joy because I lusted after them for so long and they are finally mine.

I put this little shelf above my stove for my jars originally, and then decided I wanted to put my plates on display. The pitchers on the left probably look familiar — both are from IKEA. The plates in the middle are enamelware and are from Crate & Barrel. I have a bit of a bowl addiction — the little ceramic ones are made by a local artist in PHX and were a birthday gift from my mom. I love them so much.

Even my tongs and can opener have to match obviously.

Seeing that my kitchen gets almost ZERO natural light, I am sadly unable to keep any plants in the kitchen. I compromised for this by bundling some of my eucalyptus and drying it out to hang on the wall. It adds extra dimension and life to such a cramped space. My other pride and joy, my oversized serving board from Sur La Table (similar here), proudly hangs next to it. Honestly, I use it for cutting up things, rolling out dough, and eating frozen pizza like a fancy person. I rarely entertain guests, so it hasn’t had the chance to be out on display yet.

The cookbooks stacked to the side are all gifts from my nana — the first one I got from her was Thug Kitchen, which I find problematic and mildly racist (be aware of racial stereotyping in everything!), but the recipes are great. Don’t buy this book, please. Find the recipes online somewhere and don’t support white people mocking people of color in low socioeconomic status. Okay, moving on, the other books are about vegetable preparation, knife techniques, and different tattooed chefs and their specialties. My strainer is from IKEA and the canister was a lucky flea market find.

I have a lot of sentimental things on my fridge, including letters, photos of friends, and little reminders.

I’ve never mentioned this on my blog before, but I work a day job in food service and hospitality, which is pretty much a fancy way of saying that I am a server. I have been working in food since I was sixteen, and I’ve always been inspired by the industrial style of all the kitchen supplies. To feed this inspiration, I have industrial metal mixing bowls as a nod to my food prep days and the restaurants I have worked in. Not to mention they are top quality and last forever.

And, lastly, this is a weird detail: I don’t believe in junk drawers. I grew up in a household with a junk drawer, and to this day that drawer still has the same pens that died years ago. When I first moved out on my own, I vowed I would never have a junk drawer. This is the closest thing I have, which I endearingly call my “utility drawer” — it has plastic bags (which I cringe at — I hate all the paper and plastic waste that comes with cooking), mason jar lids, and a storage box (also IKEA) that holds little necessities like scotch tape, a screwdriver, scissors, and my twine bobbin. This is a random thing to add, but I feel it is important for there to be a place for everything and everything in its place.

Thanks for following along on my little kitchen tour! If you want to see more of my kitchen inspiration, check out my board on Pinterest

Until next post. xx