Last week I visited the Museum of the City of New York for a last look at their exhibit “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers” since it will be closing September 2. The exhibit is ending it’s run with a series of events titled, “Living Large While Living Small” that includes a single women, a couple, and two colleagues from Curbed magazine spending 24 hours in the intimate space and blogging about their experience. Sound familiar?
On Wednesday I caught a cooking demonstration inside the actual 325 square foot micro-unit. While preparing a meal for the crowd of 20, Creative Director Terri Lee from Great Performances catering suggested the best gadgets for a small kitchen. “An immersion blender and a really sharp knife are key,” said Lee, who showed off her skills by slicing tomatoes without looking. After I sampled her refreshing gazpacho, we compared war stories about cooking in a small kitchen.
While I no longer live with just a mini fridge and a toaster oven, the mystery of how I was able to cook without a kitchen in that 90 square foot studio recently attracted MBC, a Korean television network. Last week a crew of four visited my new apartment to film me cook my favorite meal for their special documentary series about the future of kitchens.
“What’s your favorite part of the kitchen?” the reporter asked, as I chopped rainbow-colored vegetables, chicken and cheddar cheese for my signature Open-Faced Quesadilla; the one meal I perfected in that tiny apartment.
“The island,” I said without hesitation.
“This island is huge,” she said. “How do you feel now that the kitchen takes up so much of your apartment compared to when you didn’t have a kitchen?”
I rested my hands on top of the smooth Corian counter and smiled. “While I’m preparing a meal or hosting a dinner party, yes, the island is part of the kitchen. But when I’m writing, it’s my office. When I’m putting together a jigsaw puzzle with a friend, it’s the playroom. And when I make art, it’s my studio.”
The future of kitchens, I told her, is that they’re becoming more like the living room. Many homes today are designed with the kitchen as the focal point. At parties, people congregate in the kitchen, as it’s the heart of every home. For 4.5 years I lived without a kitchen, and while I loved living there and was able to cook, it wasn’t until I moved did I realize that the one missing ingredient all those years was the kitchen itself.