I love kitchens. I bet you never would have guessed that from someone with a food blog. Crazy, right? But anyway, it’s true. I love kitchens. The best part of Ikea is
the cinnamon rolls the kitchens. I like to see the different styles, setups, color schemes, organizational trends. I love appliances and pantries.
I also like seeing how people set up and get around their own kitchens. When we moved into our house, I took the longest to unpack the kitchen. There are so many choices that impact my everyday life there–what goes into which cabinet and how to arrange things so that they make sense to me and I can find them. I also redo my pantry on a fairly regular basis, always trying to achieve some optimal level of organization. Seeing what other home cooks do and how they work gives me ideas and inspiration.
So to help spread that around, I’ve started asking people to answer a few questions and share some pictures of their home kitchens. I figured I’d be a good sport, and go first.
I’m Lauren and this is my kitchen.
I’m 30 years old and I live in Michigan.
Occupation and hobbies?
I have a few occupations–I’m an instructional technology consultant at the University of Michigan. I produce content for Learnist, and I do freelance WordPress development.
Do you follow a specific diet or food philosophy?
Not all the time, but my general feeling is to “eat real food.” We tend to cook from scratch using ingredients with names we can pronounce. I’m prone to hypoglycemia (I have almost passed out in so many embarrassing situations–church, the grocery store, on the job) and tend to feel better when I eat a lower carb diet.
How do you plan for meals?
I drift back and forth between organized and random. When I do plan for meals, I usually first think of things I’d like to make (a combination of new things to try and old things we like to eat) and then I write up a menu for the week in Evernote. In the midst of my “organizational” swings, I buy based off what’s in sale and use Supercook and the contents of my Evernote recipe book to figure out meals based off those sale items. Often I just buy ingredients I like to have on hand and then I make up the rest as I go along.
How many people do you cook for?
Most days, just 2–me and my husband. Occasionally we have friends over, and a few times a year we do a huge to-do and cook for 40-50.
How often do you grocery shop?
Several times a week. Usually at least once on the weekend for big things and then a couple times during the week for a few ingredients here and there. I actually prefer multiple small shopping trips to one big one. I actually really love shopping for food.
Describe your kitchen. What’s your favorite thing about it?
My kitchen is in the back part of a 150 year old house. It’s galley style, and long and we have delightfully high ceilings. My favorite thing about it is actually a two parter: I have a walk in pantry that has a countertop (it’s where I do most of the prep for my baking) and our refrigerator is actually built into the wall, in a box that juts out into the mudroom. It’s weird but awesome because it saves us so much space.
Do you have any particular methods for organizing your kitchen?
I keep the counters relatively clear. There’s stuff on them in the pictures above, but generally, half that stuff is put away somewhere. I like a lot of free space for when I need to chop veggies or roll out dough. Beyond that, I organize the cupboards and pantry so that I don’t have to take too many steps to get to things I need. And because I like to have a lot of platters and serving items but don’t want to have a ton of room in the kitchen, I use those as decorative items lining bookcases in the next room.
If you could change one thing about your kitchen, what would it be?
I would cut down one of the walls and make it more open. Galley kitchens are nice, but a little odd when you have multiple cooks. Cutting down one of the walls would open it into the next room, create more connection and expand the space!
What ingredients do you always have on hand?
Outside of the basics like salt, pepper and olive oil, I always have the ingredients to make buttermilk biscuits at any given moment because you never know when your sanity will suddenly depend on having a biscuit in your hand in 30 minutes or less. Also always some sort of pasta and a bar of dark chocolate.
What ingredient is in your pantry that you’re not sure how long has been there?
There’s a bag of almond flour in the pantry that is definitely less than a two years old but maybe more than one year.
Favorite dish to make?
Biscuits, clearly, because they are fast, easy and comforting. But for actual dishes, probably chili and barbecue ribs.
If you could instantly know how to make any dish on earth, what would it be?
What’s your biggest struggle in the kitchen?
Keeping it clean. Also, apple pie.
You can scoop pieces of egg shell out of your cracked egg with another piece of egg shell. Chill cookie dough for a half hour before baking. Grill your meat on a salt block.
Name 3 absolutely necessary pieces of kitchen equipment.
A sharp chef’s knife, a KitchenAid stand mixer and a cast iron skillet.
Do you listen to music while you cook and if so, what’s usually on the playlist?
Absolutely, and normally it’s classic Motown and R&B from the 60s and 70s–Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Smoky Robinson, Aretha Franklin, etc. Occasionally it’s modern pop or rock, and sometimes classical.