Three months ago, this was my kitchen:
Notice the double sink with hot water, the dishwasher, the oven, and all the floor and cupboard space? While the apartment kitchen was certainly small, it was an adjustment to move from that to this:
You can imagine what an adjustment this was!
And around the same time that I moved, Lois from The Eco-Grandma moved from a 300 square foot apartment into a house. This, too, was an adjustment.
As we settled into our new homes, I began to notice the changes that I was making in my kitchen, and I began to wonder what changes Lois was making. What lessons had she learned from simplicity? What luxuries was she choosing to indulge in, now that she can?
As a result of the changes we have made, Lois and I decided to co-ordinate our posts and invite you into our kitchens today. I will show you how things work in my kitchen, and then you can head over to The Eco-Grandma to visit Lois’s kitchen. (And we will both be sharing a recipe with you!)
Living in less than 200 square feet has been interesting, and our biggest adjustment has been the galley. First off, the companionway, aka our DOOR, is right above the counter. In fact, the countertop is a step that must be used in order to enter the cabin without falling down. Below the counter is a small ladder, which we refer to as “the steps.” Both Beanie and the cat like to perch on the steps, especially when I am cooking.
So where do I stand when I cook? In a teeny, tiny corner, next to the steps! Our kitchen is equipped with a single-basin RV sink. While we have a knob for both hot and cold water, only the cold water knob will turn on the faucet. The water temperature is quite cold in the winter, but hot in the summer. This is due to the fact that we use shore water, which sits in an RV hose for great periods of time.
Our range is a luxury for a sailboat–it’s dual-powered. We run it on electricity in our slip, but we can run it on alcohol when we’re anchored out. We have a bottle Everclear for this purpose! The range has a stainless cover that turns it into additional counter space when we’re not using it.
We also have a gas grill mounted on the stern rail–it doubles as our oven. When we feel like picnicking, we have access to communal gas and charcoal grills. We have a medium-sized dorm fridge and a small amount of cupboard space.
Having such a small kitchen has led me to learn to do without some amenities. This hasn’t been a huge adjustment, since we were already living rather minimalistically. We already had service for 3, 3 pans, no toaster, and limited appliances. But what have we gotten rid of since we moved here?
- Our blender. Yes, I used to love making smoothies. But it isn’t worth the effort to unstow the blender, and then to clean up afterwards.
- Our plates. This isn’t permanent, but they broke in the move. After a month of using bowls, we missed them and bought some Thanksgiving-themed paper plates. We will soon return to Goodwill and find some plates for our family!
- Our pressure cooker. It was too big to store, so it’s gone. We’re on the lookout, eventually, for a higher-end unit that is small. But for now, we do without. We’re down to 2 pans.
- Our popcorn popper. All right, so we still have it! And we’re going to use it next week, when we stay in a rental cottage. But it takes up so much space that we have is stowed and never gets taken out. And Rob is learning to pop corn in our saucepan.
And what unexpected luxuries have we kept?
- Stemware. Mason jars don’t cut it for us. We keep this bit of elegance. Of course, we’re constantly breaking glasses, so they never match.
- The slow cooker. I love it. It’s wonderful to set it, head to work, and have a lovely roast waiting when I get home!
- A coffee maker. We did the French press thing for awhile, but we drink too much coffee! I love to set the coffee pot, then have it wake me up in the morning.
- A tea kettle. It boils water. Fast. And it doesn’t make it taste like anything else.
So what do we cook in my kitchen? Normally, we eat very simple meals. I’ll buy pre-cooked meat, which we’ll eat with a salad. When it’s nice out, we have burgers and a salad. When it’s cold, I cook. When it’s not, we eat salad. I make sure to eat a lot of protein, with a few carbs and lots of veggies.
But sometimes, we like to do something special. Here is a fancy dinner we prepared in my kitchen:
First up is this low-carb lasagna recipe I found. I browned the beef on the stove, then assembled everything in the slow cooker. Notice the door above me.
There was some zucchini left over, and Beanie decided this was her new favorite snack. She is standing on the steps.
It was a crazy, fun night for mother and daughter alike!