There are a few highly predictable responses that I can anticipate nearly without fail, when posting here at The Kitchn. One of these comes when we post a photo of a kitchen with any spices, oils, or open shelving near the stove. There is invariably an outcry from at least one or two readers who point out that the stove's heat is sure to destroy those things in a blink of an eye. Or, worse yet, won't grease just coat that open shelving.
And yet the space around the stove is prime real estate in many kitchens. So we ask you: What should go above the stove?
Whether you have a cabinet, open shelving, or just a blank wall above and around your stove, that is prime space. Maybe it's the only real stretch of cabinetry you have in the kitchen. No matter what, that space is always within reach when you are cooking at the stove, and it's natural to want to put frequently-used cooking tools or ingredients there.
Personally, I wanted something pretty (and easier to clean than a painted wall) behind the stove, so I put up a framed picture in an inexpensive frame. I also have oils nearby, in a cabinet to the side of the stove. Yes, it gets rather warm, but I replace my spices and oils frequently, since I cook a lot, so I think the tradeoff is worth it.
What about you? What have you chosen to store around your stove? Pots and pans? Cooking tools? Purely decorative things? Or do you live dangerously and keep your spices and oils close to hand? Tell us how you've used this valuable space in your kitchen.
(Images: Reader Anna via email; Adrienne Breaux; Faith Durand)