We are looking to get our own 1st place and I seem to be very picky about the kitchen. That got me thinking..What was your 1st kitchen like



SKK March 25, 2011
The kitchen I most remember was in a 30 ft. travel trailer set up on the banks of the Salmon River outside Whitefish, ID while we were improving a site to build on. We had to haul water and drive a mile to take a shower. I was so proud because that is the first place I learned to can fruit and make preserves. Everything since then has been true luxury. Never take for granted running water!
ChefDaddy March 24, 2011
No matter big or small what you want to look for is "the place". My grandmothers "place" where she did all her prep for 60 yrs had worn spots in the tile where she would stand for hours and prep ingredients. That " space" your looking for is where you will do your prep that will be free from countertop appliances and nothing has to be moved to work. It will be near the sink (hopefully). My biggest pet peeve is having to stand face to face with a cabinet door while I work. So I would try to find a place with a view to a living room or windows. Good luck! I hope this helps!
adamnsvetcooking March 21, 2011
Thank you all for the wonderful stories and tips. AJ I will be definitely taking you up on your offer...It might be a while until we pick something out...
AntoniaJames March 18, 2011
Tired old kitchens bring the selling price of a house way down, or so I'm told by realtor friends, so seriously consider the possibility of getting an otherwise great house and doing an upgrade. Yes, it's a project, but then you get the kitchen you want. Before buying, look for key elements of the infrastructure that can't be moved easily (ductwork, weight-bearing beams and some plumbing) and then think creatively about your options. Also, consider the possibility that a smaller kitchen, especially one with a peninsula separating it from a larger, social space, can be wonderful for a cook. I have a tiny "maid's kitchen," which I adore. As others have said, it requires you to be more thoughtful, not hoard objects or ingredients that are never used, etc., and in turn, you are rewarded with tremendous efficiency. Unless you are entertaining very large crowds, requiring multiple ovens, dishwashers, work space for caterers, etc., do not exclude the possibility of a smaller kitchen. I have useful recent experience with kitchen upgrades, if interested, so please feel free to contact me directly. ;o)
Sadassa_Ulna March 18, 2011
My first apartment (rented) was a galley kitchen, maybe 28" btwn the wall and the counter edge, so you had to back out of it for another person to get by, it was like a walk-in closet with sink/stove/upper cabs on one side. My first (and current) house originally had a relatively small kitchen 8' x 10' wall to wall, so with cabs and appliances on two walls there remained a 6' x 8' space to put a tiny table and still open the fridge and oven doors. We have since expanded by reconfiguring adjacent closets and powder room so the kitchen is now 12' x 15' which allows us a bigger table and more storage. Still not huge by today's standards but it works. It still needs a major renovation but I like having the extra space so people can hang out.
pierino March 18, 2011
My first "kitchen" was in an apartment building circa 1952, a block from the beach. In fact it was like cooking on a boat, it was so small. Welbilt gas stove for which lighting the oven with a match was always a pyrotechnic adventure.

A year ago I bought my own place which to my horror came with a Maytag electric range. I had to rip that out and put in a six burner gas range. About the only thing you can do on an electric cooktop is boil water.
amysarah March 18, 2011
I had a few 'first' kitchens during college/grad school - but all were shared with roommates and pretty much iconic student specials.

When I returned to NYC after school, the first kitchen of my own was perhaps the most memorable: really just a tiny stretch of wall at one end of the living room (it was a studio apt.), with a crappy undercounter fridge, an old 2-burner electric cooktop, a sink the size of a small 'bar sink,' and no oven. I bought a toaster oven, which had to live on my two-seat table, because there was only about 18" square of counter. Needless to say, cabinet space was minuscule to non-existent.

The best part: the bathtub (claw foot, but not a particularly nice one) was in the kitchen. Or next to it - since there were no walls to define the kitchen from the rest of the room. Yup, right there out in the middle of everything. (Oddly, this wasn't even that unusual at the time, in pre-trendy E. Village walk-ups.) I actually had to bathe in it, as the teensy bathroom had only a sink and toilet. (Did I mention how cheap my rent was?) Even more odd: once I got used to it, I sort of liked having the tub there - quirky, but it was a great place to wash big loads of dishes (remember the postage stamp sink) and when not in use, we'd cover it with a big board/cloth to make a bigger - tho very low - 'table'.

Have had many kitchens since then, but have to admit to a certain nostalgia for that crazy one. Also, btw, our firm has done lots of kitchens - new and renovated - from big budgets with every high-end accoutrement, to ones with very tight budgets. Interestingly, my favorites aren't the super fancy/pricey ones, but the ones that were challenges to creatively stretch a budget and still do something cool, attractive and functional. It's also worth noting that the clients with the less lavish kitchens are not infrequently the more serious cooks. Not always, but with some of the more $$ ones, it's clear that it's mostly a showplace, actually used in a serious way only a few times a year by the caterers. But, I digress....
cookinginvictoria March 18, 2011
My first real kitchen was in an apartment in NYC in the lower level of an old brownstone. There was very little counter space -- maybe not as small as Amanda's -- but close. I bought a butcher block on wheels to give me some additional work space. The fridge was ancient, and the freezer didn't really work. The gas stove was tiny, but I loved cooking on it -- my first experience cooking with gas. I remember having to light the pilot light every time I wanted to use the oven. I cooked a lot of ambitious meals in that kitchen, including several Thanksgiving dinners.

Now we own our own house and I have granite counters and considerably more space, but it is by no means my dream kitchen. My stove is electric, the cabinets are tiny and there is no dishwasher. Yes, we are hoping to do a kitchen reno soon! Hope that you find the kitchen of your dreams.
wssmom March 17, 2011
My first kitchen was a in fifth-floor walk-up in Brooklyn Heights, in a converted closet; basically, a teeny fridge, a two-burner stove, a sink and like five inches or so of counter space. I LOVED IT!!! Now that the Spouse is into cooking, our tiny Long Island kitchen is cramped but I am so happy to share the space with someone who loves food ... sounds sappy but it really doesn't matter if it is high-tech or low-rent, as long as you love what you're doing!
betteirene March 17, 2011
Amanda, that's the smallest kitchen I ever heard of. Were you able to make anything more than a grilled cheese in it? I will never again compain about my kitchen.

My first kitchen seemed like it was on the big side, only because it was an eat-in kitchen and we had a teeny chrome and linoleum table and two chairs with chrome legs and white plastic seats and backs. I had three feet of countertop to play on, but then my brother built me a baker's cart on wheels. The stove was white and the refrigerator was avocado green, The cabinets were white metal and I really liked them.

With the boys grown and gone, I no longer need a huge kitchen and house. I have a galley now, and it doesn't seem terribly small because I have doorways on two sides, a huge window over the sink on the third side and the opening to the dining room on the fourth--it feels airier than my last galley kitchen, which was closed in on three sides. There are times, maybe 5 or 6 a year, when I wish I had more counter space, but I make do.

One thing I always look for is an east window--enough morning sun to keep a few pots of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme and chives) in the winter, without having unbearable heat from the afternoon sun pouring in through a west window in August.
boulangere March 17, 2011
Oh my gosh, what a memory you've conjured! My first all alone kitchen was in an apartment in Bozeman, Montana that had been re-purposed out of a shed tacked onto the back of a 2-story house. The bedroom was uninhabitable - see-your-breath in winter and just-short-of-roast in summer, so I lived between the, uh, living room, bathroom with a great claw-foot tub, and kitchen, maybe as much as 32 square feet. It had a huge old sink, a tiny 4-burner gas (!!!!) stove, and small fridge. I could feed as many people as I could squeeze into the living room out of it. I remember one night when friends and I made some kind of black bean soup for so many people that they spilled out into the yard, we ran out of bowls, and many were sipping soup from coffee cups. And I loved my bright red covered garbage can that actually kept the cat out. And it was bright; I remember that it had three windows over the stove and counter, all faced east, so the morning sun woke me. I hope yours is as rich with experiences and memories. What a great foodpickle question!
Sam1148 March 17, 2011
Don't go overboard. You'll learn more from a kitchen with limited gadgets and counter sapce than one that's fully tricked out. You'll learn to improvise and use your wits.

The only thing that I think is a must. And some science and moment studies point this out. A trashcan. Sounds simple...but it's the single most used item in the kitchen..and should be at the center of the work space.
littleknitter March 17, 2011
I dream of the day when I'll possess the perfect kitchen. Growing up, we first had a teensy galley kitchen, then a place that was a little larger...but the only counter space was the top of our dishwasher - not enough! At college, there was a small kitchen on every floor, plus a massive kitchen in the basement of every dorm (usually had 2 stoves, 2 fridges, plenty of counters and storage spaces, but the largest dorm kitchen had 4 stoves, 4 fridges, 2 dishwashers, miles of counter space, and an attached dining room with 12-foot-tall arched windows. Boy, those were the days! Right now, my kitchen's small, the appliances are falling apart, and no counter space.

Based on all of this, the things I am going to prioritize when I start house hunting for real are:
*COUNTERS! Seriously, counter space is so important. When you only have a little, it's hard to prep food because you run out of places to put stuff
*Space - It doesn't have to be cavernous, but I want to have a space that I can invite friends and we can cook together. Any more than 2 people in my current kitchen and there's no place to move
*Appliances - I am tired of the dishwasher not washing, the fridge going haywire, and the stove quitting every now and then

Plenty of light and enough storage space is nice too :-)
ChefJune March 17, 2011
Well I had a huge kitchen, but everything in it was ancient, and arranged all wrong. I really needed a pair of rollerskates to get from the fridge to the stove. And the only "counter space" was the drainboard of an ancient cast iron sink.

Course, if there had been ample counter space, I might not now have the 35-year-okd butcher block table, I so treasure. ;)

Unless you have an unlimited budget, you are not likely to get the kitchen of your dreams without redoing it to your taste. I would be more concerned about the bones of the house, and the flow and layout. You will want to choose your own stove/range/ovens (however you go), sink, dishwasher, fridge. I know I always do.
student E. March 17, 2011
in shanghai: two burners and a wok. the counters came up to about my mid-thigh (and i'm 5'3"!). view of the courtyard where my elderly neighbors liked to practice tai chi. no heat.
Amanda H. March 17, 2011
Mine was a pocket kitchen with closet doors. 24 inch x 24 inch counter space.
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