new and improved tiny kitchen for three

I am head over heels. I have been using my Wagen as a kitchen since I finished building back in twenty ten. But it was always complicated. The Beard and I had very different visions of the perfect kitchen, and I jumped ship on ours. He loves communal kitchens, full of people and chaos. And while I like eating with people, I don’t really like cooking with people or cleaning up with people. Better said: I don’t like dealing with other people’s chaos.  (And I’m just as sure that most other people don’t like dealing with mine, or with my anal retentiveness on the subject of wandering utensils.)  There is a good reason why kitchens tend to be a conflict point in every communal project ever.  When it becomes too much for me I stop cooking and start eating really poorly/not at all in an attempt to avoid the headache completely.  No fun at all.

(A Johnny Hobo/Pat the Bunny/Wingnut Dishwashers Union song called Jesus Does the Dishes comes to mind. “But have we made it anywhere at all if the dishes are never done? If we can’t live without dishwashers, how can we live without cops? And so you’re asking me, who does the dishes after the revolution? Well, I do my own dishes now I’ll do my own dishes then. You know it is always the ones who don’t who ask that fucking question.” Oh Johnny Hobo, always spot on brilliant I heart you forever. You can listen to the song here.)

Once upon a time we were in a kitchen group with five(ish) people, called die Hölle (hell.)  One by one everybody jumped ship, putting tiny kitchens in their Wägen until only the Beard was left.  These days, somebody lives in the Wagen that once housed our dirty dishes and bags of noodles.

Not wanting to be in a kitchen without a group, the Beard moved into a kitchen called the Spiesser kitchen (Spiesser is a slang-y word for a conservative person, someone who might be a bit anal retentive, but it isn’t a nice word for any of that).  It was the same kitchen where the refrigerator lived where I kept my milk products.  I didn’t want to join the kitchen group, it was practically empty anyway, its owner being in Switzerland for most of the year.  Then suddenly it wasn’t empty anymore, and three people had reanimated it.  But then there was all my stuff in the fridge, disappearing and not being replaced as if I was.  And there was the Beard, cooking almost all of our meals.  The Beard took over almost all kitchen duties around my third month of pregnancy, and I was slowly sucked into the group, like it or not.  Not!

I like having a kitchen all to myself.  I like knowing that everything in my kitchen is something I find beautiful, something lovely pulled from the trash or bought at the flea market or, in very rare cases, carried from America in a suitcase.  (This is how I have been able to stop hating doing dishes.)  I don’t like it when things from my kitchen disappear into other kitchens, never to return.  I don’t like it when I have to carry things back and forth between my kitchen and another kitchen in order to cook a meal.  I like having a fully stocked pantry, and I sometimes sit and stare at my rows of glass jars, filled with beans and lentils and noodles and raisins and flour, and feel content.  I don’t like it when I buy something nice and it disappears and is either never replaced or replaced with something that didn’t cost as much and doesn’t taste as good.  As I write this I am discovering that my kitchen is the calm little center that I need in order to face the world.  Without it things fall apart.  Starting with my eating habits.

Well.  Well!  Once Baby Pickles entered the picture, I started wishing we could have a kitchen, the three of us.  Then all of our food and our utensils would live in one place.  They wouldn’t disappear because there would be nowhere for them to disappear to.  Things from the fridge would only disappear into the mouths of someone I love.  For obvious subjective reasons, I can stand it when those people eat the last of everything and never replace it.  Then it doesn’t bother me at all.  But it isn’t enough for me to just like someone.  Then they need to replace things!  Sometimes I wish this didn’t bother me, but ho-hum, so it goes.

AND NOW MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE!  Ha!  Ha I say!  How often can you write that sentence and mean it?  Not every single day, of that I am sure.  Which brings us back to me being head over heels.  For our new kitchen!  We moved to Frankfurt, my Wagen became our kitchen, and I have been in an amazing mood ever since.  I have cooked every single day.  I have stocked the shelves with gleeful abandon.  I have sighed in happy contentment.  I have been unable to shut up about how happy our new kitchen situation makes me.  So here I am: kitchen blah blah blah blah kitchen kitchen kitchen!

Which, at long last, brings me to the entire point of this post.  Pictures of the kitchen!  Look at her go!

In the picture at the top you can see that we now have a fridge (annoying when it comes to electrictiy usage, though practical now that I eat meat and a lot of dairy), and that we still don’t have a stove. Our future stove is currently in Karlsruhe, waiting to hitch a ride to Frankfurt. In the meantime, we’re still cooking on the biggest electricity waster of all, a single electric stove plate. Here’s a second perspective:

This is me cooking breakfast on the electricity waster. Leftovers from last night’s dinner (red quinoa and roasted vegetables) with eggs. Mmm. Quinoa makes me really happy. So do baked sweet potatoes. Who needs a flat screen tv or a billion dollars when you can get so much pleasure out of a 3 euro bag of grains and a root vegetable?

My book shelf, which doesn’t have much to do with the kitchen-ness of my kitchen, but which I love a lot. Yey.

In transforming my Wagen into an exclusive kitchen Wagen (as opposed to an all-purpose, bed, work, and cook Wagen) I also added these shelves. My table/desk used to occup the same space. Once I remove the bed, a table and chairs will be joining us as well, at the very back.

Pickle is now old enough that I can sit her in her chair, and she’ll play contentedly while I cook. This makes me almost as happy as the kitchen does. Eggplant!

0 Comments on “new and improved tiny kitchen for three

  1. I love every single thing about this post. It’s like an awesome story book from my childhood, written in the 70’s when progressives were writing children’s books and the values were thrift, community, simplicity, connection to your work and land (such as it is) and your home…. I totally agree about quinoa (meal looks damn good) and baked sweet potatoes. Simple, perfect things in life are the best.

  2. Fishie: So excited to finally share some! And that the kitchen is in a state that I actually wanted to take photos at all. I filled it up with everything from my shed that would fit for the move, and it took a while to get everything de-chaosed.

    Emily: Wow thanks! Here here to the simple awesomeness of life!

  3. I am totally with you on the kitchen sharing business and I bloody LOVE your kitchen. The stuff on the shelves, the knives and the pans and the pictures on the mega smiley happy yellow walls, the bookshelves, the amazing Baby Pickles clutching an *cough* aubergine. All of it. Gah!

    Ah well. At least I have quinoa and sweet potatoes.

  4. I simply love your kitchen-library sanctuary 🙂 I’m the same way when it comes to sharing(not) my kitchen space, I hate it. I’m a total control freak an want everything in its place, even in in disorder…I want my own chaos! Sigh, I don’t have it at the moment, but I have my fantasy ready for the time when it’s possible. Great pic of Baby Pickles and the eggplant.

  5. oh i love it! so beautiful.

    (is this the purple wagen? ’cause if so i find the purple & gold-ish delightfully funny. we looked through a yearbook the other day & saw your baby photo. lyra can’t help being an elf with you two as parents.)

  6. Loving the new kitchen. And I’m totally with you about needing your own kitchen sanctuary. I’m just the same. I never really gave it much thought, but I’m really anal about the kitchen: everything having it’s place, etc. It’s the one room in the house that I like to have absolute dominion over. And I love cooking in there now it’s all finished. Even though it’s really small (even smaller than yours!) it’s organised and arranged the way I like it. The one thing I would wish for, though, is room for a table and chairs so I wasn’t in there all alone when cooking. 🙁

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