Monday, July 30, 2012


Have you ever wondered how a gluten-free cook and recipe developer manages to fit all the flours and miscellaneous items needed into a normal or less-than-normal-sized kitchen? Well, this tour of my typically tiny NYC should leave you feeling almost anything is possible! 

The neighborhood in which my gluten-free vegetarian midtown Manhattan kitchen is located, when photographed, can look like a bit of a tour guide to New York City, but I really do pass the Flatiron, Chrysler, United Nations and Empire State Buildings on my morning fast-walk to and from my apartment. Named after a sister ship of the Titanic, my building, the Megantic, was built about 100 years ago. It has an elevator, but the staircase is much prettier, and was used in many NYU film school movies when I was a student there.

The 85-square-foot kitchen in my top-floor inexpensive rental apartment was, I think, renovated no more recently than a half century ago, and came with very little storage and no counter space. That's New York for you--and I'm considered lucky because I have what's called an eat-in kitchen and a large double sink. Many are just "galley kitchens" with appliances, a small sink, and no more. The counter top and the storage units I have were either found, bought or built by me or my friends. The wall unit that runs from the ceiling halfway down the main wall was an unusual collaboration between me and a carpenter pal. It's where I store vintage kitchen items I don't really use much. 


I've tried to take advantage of the relatively (once again, by New York City standards only, most likely) high ceiling by having my storage and decorations run above eye level, if useful.

Because, with rare exceptions,  I bake all my own bread, cookies and crackers, my Kitchenaid is always out, and is one of my most useful tools. More hidden storage under the Kitchenaid:

I also love this seemingly indestructible 2-inch brush I bought in Japan, ideal for cleaning my juicer.
Another favorite is the rolling pin which was my mother's, and for which I have a little wrapper she sewed for it out of one of my dad's old undershirts. Kept the wood from drying for decades. I use this new 12" non-stick Cuisinart pan nightly for my omelettes. No evil toxins and works like a charm.

Back to the storage issue. (It's always on my mind in this tiny room.) The fact that I am gluten-free, vegetarian and part-hoarder doesn't help things, either! Friends say my cabinets look as if I'm ready for the end of the world, but I just think, "better safe than sorry" so I tend to be a bit overstocked. I think I've improved, though. Most of what you see below is my range of gluten-free flours, grains, seeds and flakes. I love roasted peppers and always have several jars around, but otherwise, it doesn't seem too overstocked, or am I just fooling myself??

Spices are mostly in the drawers of the tall turquoise wall unit.

Because there is so little built-in storage in my kitchen I've worked out other solutions. Here are the plastic boxes of my small baking forms, cupcake liners, flavorings, cake decorations, decorative toothpicks, spatulas and the like. 

I keep these boxes on the small shelves on which I store the mini food processor and blender duo by Cuisinart and larger tools in a vase I made (there are many ceramic pieces--I used to be a potter).

Above those shelves are narrow shelves a friend built, lined with mugs by me or potter friends, and the commercial or hand-blown glassware I like. Above those shelves, the less-attractive, obsessively-collected plastic containers and glass jars. For that rainy day that's yet to arrive, of course! 
Many mugs hold tiny tools. Various things, like the food processor's motor, must do double duty here!
Here's the closet I use for storing props. I don't think it will hold any more, but I will probably try. I store bowls I've made on these shelves I had built for the living room, just down the hall.

I can't seem to stop buying baking forms of all materials and sizes. I tell myself it's because gluten-free batters tend to be more delicate than conventional ones, but I wonder if it's just an excuse. The great thing about silicone pans is that they can be rolled to fit into tight spaces, of which I have many! What looks like a piece of aluminum siding, to the left is a very useful breadstick pan. I carried that square black cast-iron pan with small hemispherical wells all the way from Japan. Heavy!

Here are some of my favorite decorative items, most given to me by friends. Click on photos to enlarge.
below, on the left, is a witty comment on pre-feminist advice for a woman desiring personal fulfillment of all kinds: hilarious! The frame on the right welcomes you to my strictly vegetarian kitchen and holds layers of Thanksgiving New Yorker covers. Each year, the cover depicts a turkey trying to hide from his holiday fate. Here, on a building ledge, he tries to pass for one of the nearby pigeons. 


The bowl below is made entirely of twisted paper, and is about 20 inches in diameter. Amazing!

Other items in my kitchen, apart from the New Yorker covers, refer directly to my vegetarianism. I may collect tools to manipulate the shapes of vegetables more than most people do. Below, a spiralizer, two sizes of mandolines and several peeler/shredder tools. And of course, the slicing/shredding blade of my food processor and one or two standard hand graters, all of which I forgot to photograph. Of course, I always have plenty of beans and grains stashed away in one of my ever-present boxes! 

Now that friends know I decorate my kitchen with many round things, that's what I tend to receive (and buy, myself) when they or I go away. Below, items from New Zealand, England, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Japan, China, India and Senegal. I like woven objects of many shapes and materials, too.

More of my useful or is it decorative items. The line blurs for me, and I suppose that's how I like it..


Thanks for coming along for the tour!


Anonymous said...

I was inspired this tour of your kitchen! So much there. Practical and all so fascinating visually.

G.F.Veg said...

Thanks! Of course, to me, it's just the ol' kitchen!

cheryl said...

How fun! Thanks so much for sharing. Your kitchen is a work of art!