Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kitchen Reorg: Cooking in a New York City Apartment #1

I was made in a tiny kitchen

I love to cook. I love being involved in every detail of this one activity that will produce something that I can share with H. When I am chopping and searing and whipping and baking, I don't think about my bosses. I don't worry about my financial future. I don't stress that my research will be scooped. I think about cooking and baking. All of life's stresses become a question of whether I overbeat flour, or if the crumbs of butter are big enough to make air pockets in the biscuits. If I could go back and rewrite the last 20 years, I probably would have ditched science and become a chef. when I moved to New York 8 years ago, I figured this part of me would have to die. My first roommate forbade me from using the stove or oven. I spent 5 months eating spinach salad, bananas and cheez its. My second apartment was in the pre-cool Long Island City. I lived across from a methadone clinic and adjacent to warehouses which, as it turned out, were being used for crack processing. Groceries had to be brought from Manhattan to I ate a lot of rice and beans, bananas and cheez its.

I landed my first studio apartment in Manhattan a year after I moved here. It was the most amazing 250 sq feet I've ever been in because it was all mine. It had an unfinished green marble fireplace, bright white brick walls, 14 foot ceilings, a dishwasher, tonnes of light....and no drawers, no oven...just two gas elements on the counter. It had been a year since I have cooked anything and I had had enough cheez its. The rent was cheap as hell and the apartment was pretty and in a good neighbourhood in Manhattan. A minor problem like "no oven" was not about to keep me out of this apartment. I bring you kitchen reorg #1 - hang pots and cutlery on the wall, buy a convection oven (Hamilton Beach).

Tiny kitchens are an NYC reality. Here is the first of my kitchen rehabs ca. 2004.

That oven cooked and baked everything I wanted to cook or bake - just in small portions. I lived alone and had a very busy schedule, so most times I was baking just for me anyway. My kitchen-aid mixer (not shown) fit in this kitchen, but was a little over the top given I could only bake six cookies at a time (granted, in 5 minutes). Total cost of reorg:

Hardware for pots: $20, Ikea

Wine Rack: $2, Ikea

Convection Oven: $100, Target

Total cost: $122

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