Oh, the tiny kitchen. Earlier today we asked our readers via Twitter to share their most maddening small kitchen conundrums. In addition to complaints about less than ideal lighting and storage options (we hear you), a few readers complained about minimal countertop space and the near-constant falling and breaking of things while cooking.
Well, to THAT we can offer a solution. It's so simple and unsurprising, yet will make a world of difference in your day-to-day cooking life if you start doing it. Curious?
The solution? CLEAN AS YOU GO.
Seriously. I have a small kitchen with very little countertop space, and cooking was disastrous for me until my wise husband—who'd been employing this trick far longer than I had—let me in on the secret of divvying up tasks and executing them fully as you go.
Instead of piling up your countertop with ingredients and prep tools as you make your way through a recipe (thus leaving a messy and precarious situation in your wake), try this: Take out the necessary ingredients, tools, and dishes, use them appropriately, then promptly put the ingredients away, and load what you can in the dishwasher. If you don't have a dishwasher, wash the dishes and (this is key) dry them and immediately put them away. If you don't do this last part, you could end up with a towering pile of dishes on the dish rack, which (again) leads to the bumping-slipping-crashing-to-the-floor problem. And remember: a sink full of dirty dishes is a sink out of commission, so washing dishes individually as you go also keeps the sink available for other uses, like rinsing or peeling.
A nice complimentary activity to cleaning as you go? Mise en place. Having everything laid out in front of you in an organized way makes your cooking more streamlined and efficient, and helps prevent countertop overload.
Do you have any other surefire tips for cooking in a small kitchen?
(Image: Jill Slater)