The kitchen in my new studio has the dimensions of an oversized matchbox. When I first saw it my heart sank. This would not do. How could I possibly make good food in this rabbit hutch. The entire expanse of countertop would barely accommodate my pasta maker, let alone other necessities such as chopping board, scales and coffee grinder. I took one look and mentally stuck the studio from my list.
“And of course, you’d never get tired of that view,” continued the building manager, waving a hand out the kitchen window. I looked up. So consumed had I been in scrutinizing the kitchen’s failings I’d neglected to notice that the window looked squarely onto the Seattle skyline, at the center of which lay the space needle rising—majestic yet always somewhat bizarre—up to the heavens.
I paused. Apart from the kitchen’s disappointing size the studio was ideal. Sunny and clean, pitched in a perfect location in the heart of Seattle, just where Queen Anne hill rises up above the city and sound like the hulk of some ancient beached ship. It was also nice and cheap.
Turning around I surveyed the galley once again. It had a gas range and oven, a full fridge and freezer, a large sink and surprising number of cupboards. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad. In fact, there might even be benefits to a tiny kitchen: Everything is within arm’s reach; all pots, pans and implements are at hand in a crisis and there would be no flailing across the room with hazardous knife or cast iron skillet. Also, the kitchen could only fit one cook and, for a bossy boots like myself, this provides a welcome excuse for banning kindly helpers from the controls. With these thoughts in mind and the consoling reflection that the redoubtable kitchen goddess Elizabeth David cooked for years using a tin box perched atop a Primus camping stove, I decided to take the studio.
After a week I am happy with this cramped little cookery. So far I have not tested its limits with extravagant fare, nothing but a loaf of bread, some hummus, pesto and flapjacks. Soon I will christen it with a real feast. Then, if some culinary calamity occurs (as no doubt it shall), I can always gaze for inspiration and solace on the winking glass towers down town, on the goofy space needle sitting apart from them like the awkward kid, and on the great swath of clean, blustery sky above Seattle. I feel that good things will happen here; already it is a happy kitchen.