People often think you must have tons of kitchen space to prepare traditional foods but that's not true. Getting started with traditional cooking doesn't mean you need to move. You can prepare traditional foods in a small kitchen with by working with what you have and getting a little creative. By utilizing what you have, you can make traditional foods in a small kitchen just like you can in a large, open kitchen.
You don't need draws full of specialized tool or counter stretching the length of your house. You can make traditional foods in a small kitchen with only a few tools.
How do I know?
We lived in a 28-foot camper for 11 months.
Fast foward an few years and now we find ourselves living in our RV again, this time by choice on a long-term basis.
Here's the extent of my former camper kitchen space:
These were taken when I was prepping Thanksgiving dinner.
When we were camper living after the fire my kitchen cookware/gadget supply consisted of this:
- 1 wet/dry measuring cup
- 1 spatula
- 2 serving spoons
- whisk tongs
- measuring spoon set
- chef's knife
- 3 nesting bowls
- 1 skillet
- 2 sauce pans
- 1 kettle
- 1 bar pan
- 1 cookie sheet
- 1 strainer
- 1 pasta spoon
- 8×8 pan
- loaf pan
- electric roaster
- food processor
- vintage blender
Here's how I continued to make real food even though we have limited space:
Make Use of Every Inch – Sometimes you have to get creative with space. My kitchen table often doubled as counter top and I even used the roaster in the bathroom (check out this post to see how!)
Think Outside the Kitchen – You can ferment komucha and kefir in any room in the house. In fact, even people with large kitchens opt to do their fermentation in a different, warmer room. Find space and use it wisely.
Smaller Batches – You might not be able to make a gallon of yogurt at one time. That's okay. Make smaller batches. When I lived in the camper I would make English muffins twice a week because I didn't have the space to freeze extras.
Shop Purposefully – When you have a small kitchen you need to shop intentionally. Menu planning is important so that you can buy only what you need and not have stuff sitting everywhere.
Stay Organized and Keep Clean – Small spaces mean you need to clean up as you go and really focus on being organized. It doesn't take much to get into chaos when spaces are small.
Use Multi-Use Tools – I am a kitchen gadget fanatic. I love all things Pampered Chef, but when you have small kitchen you need to choose wisely. Look for things that are compact and have multiple uses like this. I recently got an Instant Pot and I love it! It's amazing and while it takes up storage space it replaces several other gadgets so my space is reduced.
Learn to Cook Outside – If you have a porch, patio, balcony or driveway, learn to take your food prep outdoors. Not only does this add to your cooking space, it saves you (probably) small home from excess heat in the summer.
Keep Out Clutter – The kitchen needs to be for kitchen stuff, not toys, mail or random things that end up on the counter. Get a basket to catch all that stuff. This will help with clutter too.
Do What Works – I wasn't about to break into cheese-making in the camper. I really wanted to try it but I decided there were other more important things like sourdough, lacto-fermented mayo, and yogurt that provided nutrition and took up less space. If you can't do it all, guess what – it's okay!!
Find Friends Who Cook Small – Traditional Cooking School offers a members-only Facebook group and there are several small space and even Rv-living families who have found ways to make traditional foods in the space they have. If you can find others who cook small you can share tips and tricks.