When I tell people I live in a 160 square foot house, I receive a variety of reactions. Sometimes a smile will blossom, and I know I have met a kindred spirit. Other times, I’m greeted with perplexed eyebrows and a cocked head. They want to know why. Why would I choose to live this way?
The rewards of living small are easy for me to list: financial freedom, simplicity, a lower carbon footprint, etc. But the truth is, living in a tiny house is a trade-off. My kitchen, for example, is full of compromises. Electric mixer? I use a whisk and wrist power. Coffee maker? A french press is much smaller. Dishwasher? You’re just being mean now…
My tiny kitchen is as simple as a kitchen can be, with a miniature fridge/freezer, 3-burner gas stove and a sink. That’s it! Yet, with some creative thinking, I’ve been able to cook just about any recipe in my tiny abode.
Cooking With Space-Saving Appliances
The first compromise I made in my kitchen was to forgo having a traditional oven and microwave. I just don’t have the space. Luckily, after almost four years of cooking in a space the size of a closet, I’ve discovered a few alternatives.
The first alternative cooking gadget that I’ve come to love dearly is a lightweight, infrared oven called the NuWave. This oven is popular in small homes because it can be tucked away when not in use. I use my NuWave for baking, roasting, and reheating. I can cook a small frozen pizza or bake my neighbor muffins. For me, the NuWave has replaced the need for both a traditional oven and a microwave.
Mother Nature Is My Sous Chef
Since living small, I have also learned to cook many of my meals outdoors. Not only does this reduce smells that can sometimes linger in my home for days (the worst being when I cook fish or burn toast), but it also minimizes my utility costs and my carbon footprint.
I’m not just talking about cooking over a fire pit, which of course I do, but in this case I’m referring to my solar oven.
Whenever I use my solar oven, I get a lot of attention from other campers. Everyone is curious when they see me positioning the reflective panels and removing a black glass tube to check on the steaming contents inside. It looks like a complicated, futuristic appliance but using it couldn’t be more simple!
Streamlining The Cooking Process
In a kitchen as small as mine, countertop space is a commodity. Being messy and unorganized is not an option. So over the years, I’ve trained myself to streamline my cooking process. The trick is to never stop moving. Even while my food is cooking, I’m putting things away and washing dishes. This method has helped me clear the clutter in my kitchen.
Small Kitchen Mentality
Living without certain luxuries has helped me discover that a small kitchen can be more functional than a large one with the right tools, practice and attitude. I enjoy cooking in my tiny home more than any other kitchen because I’ve not only designed the space to fit my needs, but I’ve aligned my needs to fit my kitchen.
So, take a page from my book and step into the small kitchen mentality. Could simplifying your kitchen help streamline your cooking process?
*For more alternative cooking gadgets for small kitchens, check out this list on Jenna’s blog.