Hooray for Mark Bittman, who reminds us that you don't need a gigantic, expensive kitchen to cook well.
So Your Kitchen is Tiny. So What? (NY Times 12/13)
My own kitchen, which is what many New Yorkers would consider halfway decent (and is much like the one my mother cooked in when I was growing up), is about 7 feet long and 6 feet wide. It has a moderate-size refrigerator, what was once considered a full-size stove (as opposed to the compact “apartment-size” stove or the monsters recently gaining popularity), annoyingly little counter and storage space (yes, I sometimes must remove the stored pots and pans before using the oven) and even a small dishwasher.
I complain, but I make do. And it’s here where I develop and test most of the recipes for my cookbooks and articles. So imagine my surprise when I posted a picture of my kitchen on my blog a few weeks ago and received a flood of e-mail messages from readers who wondered how someone could write large and evidently useful cookbooks, even a weekly column for The Times, while suffering such deprivation. (In the middle of all this, a young journalist called and asked what, after all, I considered essential in a modern kitchen? “A stove, a sink, a refrigerator, some pots and pans, a knife and some serving spoons,” I answered. “All else is optional.”)
Sounds very similar to my kitchen set-up. In my old studio apartment, I had an even smaller kitchen, probably about 5x5'. I will never come anywhere close to Mark Bittman in terms of cooking skill, but I totally agree that it is very possible to cook good meals with minimal equipment and space. I can see why people like to spend money on kitchens-- gadgets can be fun and labor-saving, and if you spend a lot of time cooking, a nice kitchen will be more pleasant.
I know someone who has gorgeous cabinets in her kitchen, very high-end-- she has a lovely built-in spice rack and other customized storage spaces, and everything feels heavy and solid. You can tell it's good quality woodwork that will last way longer than the cheap cabinets at my place. But when it comes to the actual experience of preparing meals, there's no real difference between my kitchen and hers, and hers must have cost a heck of a lot more.