Good Question: How Can Two Cooks Share a Small Kitchen?

Dear Sara Kate,

Do you ask your husband to obey the rules of working in a kitchen? My husband and I share a small Manhattan kitchen. We do cook. And I work in restaurants professionally. I have instructed him to say "behind you," and "on your left," or to press a firm palm on me if he's moving around me, but time and again he comes close to being slashed and burned or having me hurt myself because he moves willy-nilly, in my air-space, and all over the place causing havoc. Should I mention it again? It's the third time! And I'm stressed out by it. I'm about to go on a cooking strike.

Help.

- Kimberley

Hi Kimberley,

Cooking together can be wonderful but you are right that it certainly can be dangerous! If you truly share the kitchen, my advice is to talk about it outside of the kitchen when you're not cooking. If it's really more your space, then just lay down the rules and make him stick to it. I don't really have these problems because I do almost all of the cooking. And if he's helping, it's because I'm flat on my back sick and/or tired and so my rule is he can do whatever he wants!

Back to the question: one way of dealing with the small space is to have you each do your tasks at different times, or to spread out: if chopping needs to be done, have him sit at the table with a cutting board and work there while you whirl around the kitchen.

Hope that helps!

best,
Sara Kate

(Image credit: Library of Congress)

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.