Decluttering, With Love

Since I'm still waiting on the final results of my baking lemon coffee cake (which may or may not turn out since I had to swap out most of the sour cream with Greek yogurt), I guess I won't be sharing that recipe until I've had a chance to devour a quality check. If it turns out, it will be a far healthier happy ending. If it doesn't turn out - well that's a lot of wasted cake flour.

While I've been baking and cooking over the past 3 weeks, I've found myself rather enjoying my smaller, yet efficiently compact kitchen. The kitchen I first started cooking in 5+ years ago, was a spacious yet poorly configured, outdated kitchen from the 1940s. I had very limited counter space, some kind of weird cooking triangle between the stove, sink and refrigerator, and no garbage disposal, double sink or dishwasher. Sad, sad, sad.

Even worse, I didn't have a proper set of knives, a proper set of pans, proper bakeware, or a true cutting board. No food processor, no stand mixer, no stock pot. Yet I learned to cook in that sad spacious kitchen with woefully painful tools and still managed to whip up decent meals with decent flavors. In fact, I had a lot less clutter in my kitchen slowing me down - no cabinets stuffed with CorningWare (although I now gladly stuff my cabinets with useful thrift store scavengings), no counters stuffed with knife blocks, baking canisters and spices, no overhead space stuffed with rarely-used appliances. I could focus on the cooking instead of re-arranging stuff to get at other stuff.

For one brief year after my bf and I remodeled our kitchen and before we sold that same kitchen to move to Virginia, I enjoyed unfathomable cabinet space. I had room for all my stuff - and still empty, lonely cabinet space. I had uncluttered counter space - and so much of it! I could cook, bake, cool and type of blogs all on counter space without feeling even the slightest bit cramped. For one brief year, I was spoiled rotten.

Which brings me back to my smaller, yet efficient apartment kitchen and the conclusion that it's not the size of the kitchen that matters when it comes to creating fantastic food - it's exercising loving restraint when lustfully strolling down kitchen isles gorgeously packed with deliciously useful, unpurchased trinkets clamoring for a home in my already over-equipped kitchen. It's taking the time to keep a decluttered kitchen - and remembering that the most important ingredient in food is love, not the Wustoff knife set or the irritable set of Pyroceram French White CorningWare ramekins to augment my two other sets of stoneware ramekins.

With a little less clutter in my kitchen and a little more love (love for the person I cook for, love for the ingredients, love the creator of the ingredients, and love for myself), it really doesn't matter what size kitchen I have. A smaller kitchen just means more restrained shopping. And less space to cram with barely used, one-purpose trinkets. 

Now, I really must go check out this amazing sale of kitchenware!