So, as you can see from the pictures of our current house, the kitchen we have now is not huge. The counterspace you see in the above picture is indeed all the counter space we have. However, we are working with a full-sized stove and oven, a double-sided sink, and we are able to get additional storage space on shelves going down to our basement through a door in our kitchen. There is also room in the kitchen for a small island or table for additional workspace. The previous owners, as you can see, were smart by putting into the space a granite or marble-top table of some sort that could essentially double as a counter/workspace.
Contrast this to the photos the school sent us of one of the apartments we might end up in. Apparently, the kitchen wasn't even worth a photo, but I think the fact that it has a mini-oven is pretty telling.
When I visualize what the kitchen might look like, I often think of the Smitten Kitchen. I love seeing how someone else is making do with a small kitchen.
For some families, I imagine, a small kitchen wouldn't be a huge challenge. For us, it is probably going to be one of the biggest challenges of downsizing. Over the last few years, we've worked hard to learn to cook almost everything we eat from scratch. Any day of the week in our home, you can smell fresh breads or tortillas, stews or soups, quiches or enchilladas, all made by hand. The only thing we are still buying prepared on a regular basis are noodles, as we don't yet have the pasta maker attachment to the KitchenAid we are so thankful to have received as a wedding gift way back when (where will THAT thing go in our new tiny kitchen?).
Cooking from scratch is a big deal for us, for a number of reasons:
It's the only economically feasible thing for us to do, and when I am a student, this will be even more important (afterall, isn't that one of the benefits I claim to downsized living...lower costs?).
It helps us ensure a healthier, more rounded diet than would be available eating more pre-prepared foods or eating out on something even close to our budget. Our food at home is minimally processed and made from whole grains, for example.
By being part of a family that cooks, our kids are assimilating important life skills.
A lot of times, it tastes better.
One thing we are trying to do in making this move is to shape a life around our values. Part of the use of this blog for me is the space to explore different ways we might express our values in the choices we make regarding our living space. Nowhere is that more important to me, than in the kitchen.