Show me your kitchen and I tell you who you are. Well… maybe it’s not exactly that obvious, but I totally love to get a glimpse of other people’s kitchens. How messy, how organized, how stylish is it? Is it kept in grey, red, white colors, a rather dark place or totally bright room; big, small, perhaps connected with the living room? If nothing else, it quickly shows, if you’re having fun in your kitchen and treasure the act of cooking!
Funnily enough, the new “this is my kitchen-movement” originated from two different sources. One of them is tracked via Food Blog Scool and Technorati , the other one was triggered by Cenzina from Rome, Italy, who passed on the stick to 3 other fellow food bloggers from different countries including myself. So, this is about our kitchen:
No doubt about it, the kitchen is my most beloved room in our apartment. The house which we live in was built around 1898, which entails two things: the walls and the floor are anything but straight and the rooms are pretty high, almost 4 meters (~13 ft), which leaves a really spacious impression including huge windows, allowing lots of sunshine to pass through. The kitchen is of a decent size; you could gather eight people around the table and still have enough room to twirl around. What’s better than preparing a feast while having your friends around, helping and sneaking in every pot and pan?
When we moved in, there was no kitchen in the apartment, so we could somewhat (with certain budget constraints ;) start from scratch, which was great. What became quickly apparent, was that no matter whether you’d be shopping for clothes at a boutique or for an entire kitchen at various kitchen stores in Munich, customer service wasn’t good at all…they showed no flexibility and willingness to give advice whatsoever. So we finally ended up buying it in a small furniture store near Regensburg (an hour drive); they had exactly what we wanted (the fronts reminded me of my grand-grandma’s enamel oven) and their service was perfect. They took care of all the measuring (absolutely essential when having askew walls and floors), delivered and set it up in a heartbeat, too. With it being our first own kitchen, we had to face all kinds of questions and decisions, but they guided us very well and pointed out potential issues when we didn’t see them.
I’m still totally happy with our choice, a pure and contemporary design in black and white, with country-style wooden cupboards, shelves and table, that add to the coziness of the room and make people sit around the table way past midnight… Yet there are some aspects or wishes I’d like to realize the next time we move and have to buy a new kitchen (which is pretty likely to happen over the next one or two years…), like e.g. a retro looking fridge and a closeable “waste hole” in our worktop (as we generally don’t have comfortable sink waste disposals here in Germany).
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty – what’s on my cupboards: Here is evidence of the passions I pursue to the max. Flea markets, tins and retro design. While the enamel coffee pot and the (still on duty) toaster now do look shiny and new, I bought both in rather bad condition, but nothing that couldn’t be squared away with some curd soap, water and rough scrubbing…
When it comes to porcelain, I’m probably super predisposed due to where I grew up: Weiden, a charming small town in the east of Bavaria, situated right on the crystal and porcelain road. Famous crystal and porcelain producers like Rosenthal, Hutschenreuther, Thomas, Nachtmann, Seltmann and Bauscher can all be reached within half an hour. Living there or visiting means direct access to their industrial sellings or – even better – flea markets specializing on porcelain, where they not only sell antiques, but also brand new “1B products” (the writing underneath may be blurred, etc.) The best deal I ever got was at the flea market in Donaustauf in the mid 90s. I had happily discovered a stand from a lady working at Rosenthal who sold the very same deep pasta dishes which over the last years have gotten so famous by the German cooking show “Alfredissimo”. For the six plates – which only had a tiny wrong marking on the bottom side – I paid 30 DM (around 15 EUR/$18). That’s about the price you’d have to pay for ONE of them in a regular shop! Getting up early sometimes does pay off, doesn’t it?
The more chaotic areas are well hidden… This is where I store all my different spices, at least the ones, we use on a regular basis. But it’s still much too messy and crowded, I stopped counting the times I accidentally pushed some glasses over the front edge trying to get to the ones cramped in the back. I yet have to find some time and muse for some sorting and re-arranging…
The cupboard where I keep glasses and porcelain, home of some really special – to me – glasses. Lead crystal, hand cut by my dear grandpa. By now, I gathered a pretty substantial collection of differently shaped glasses, all gifts from him. They bring back childhood memories of a dark basement, where I sometimes was allowed to watch him cutting the glasses – and both of us wearing very stylish *cough*, oversized safety glasses. While the above, colored glasses had been out of style for quite some years, you finally see them returning to trendy crystal stores in Munich again… In case you ever drink out of a hand cut lead crystal glass, don’t you dare toast with them making “full contact”! – my grandpa’s holy advice…
Thankfully we have a separate pantry, otherwise I would have trouble keeping all my favorite food stored. After I took the pictures above, I quickly realized, I had forgotten about so many things… Here’s my list of essentials, which can be found in our fridge and pantry almost any time:
In store, so to speak: Black pepper corns, coarse sea salt, olive oil, sunflower oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, sweet mustard, different spices and dried herbs, dried chiles, baking powder, gelatin, different sugars, flour, semolina, chocolate, cocoa, frozen raspberries, jam, tea, various nuts, honey, maple syrup, basmati rice, pasta, dried beans, dried mushrooms, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, potatoes, olives, anchovies, coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, curry paste, ice-cream, frozen pizza (for quick snacks)!
Fresh: Fresh yeast, butter, milk, heavy cream, creme fraiche, eggs, cocktail tomatoes, lemon grass, ginger, limes, parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, coppa, herbs, shallots
The above KitchenAid blender we got at the same event and it has been useful in so many ways, most prominent I’d say for making pesto, smoothies and crushed ice for cocktails.
And finally here is the new kid on the block: The best (and rightfully much adored) grater we had so far, got it on our trip to CO. Now we tend to grate more than we need – it’s just so easy…
Bottom line, I think anything goes. Whether your kitchen has 25 square meters (270 square feet) or 10 (107 square feet), it’s all about how you use it. During my studies I had 35 friends over and managed to keep them food happy with my mini kitchen (5 sq meters/53 sq feet). Sadly, on the other hand there are fully equipped kitchens out there for $$$$ that aren’t even close to being used to their potential, if at all. What a shame ;)