When I started my eating out challenge, I did well despite being in our tiny apartment, using our tiny, dim, disgusting kitchen. I had the motivation to make it work, so I did. I don’t love spending hundreds of dollars a month on food that I could make at home for much less (and healthier.. and better), so I sucked it up.
But I don’t think I could have gone for long in that kitchen. I know it might seem stupid to some of you, but my environment really can influence my mood. If I am in a cramped, dark space for any period of time, I tend to start feeling claustrophobic and it really can put me in a terrible mood.
Now that we are finally settling in to our house, I’ve been cooking every single day; and sometimes baking, too.
The kitchens between our apartment and house are vastly different.
The Apartment Kitchen
The kitchen in our apartment was horrid. It was a small galley kitchen, with no window anywhere around it. The cabinets were obviously not installed by a professional, and as a result, they were severely sloped toward the back of the cabinet. We would put a carrot on the counter and it would roll back.
Water pooled on the back part of the counter top as a result, particularly when we were washing dishes.
Oh, and there was no dishwasher. I wasn’t too upset with this, because it’s not that big of a deal to wash dishes, but it did take a lot of extra time.
The cabinets were painted black, presumably by the property manager, who forgot to remove the cabinets from the hinges before doing so. She also used the wrong paint for cabinet painting, and it dripped everywhere. One cabinet would not stay shut, and there were a couple that were hard to open because she painted them shut.
The lower cabinets were so dark that we couldn’t see inside them.
The fridge was “apartment sized”, so we couldn’t do any big grocery shop at the beginning of the week because we had no room to keep fresh food.
Cooking wasn’t a lot of fun in a kitchen like this, so I tended to avoid it as much as possible. Being stuck in a cramped, dark, dingy, poorly laid out kitchen when trying to cook? Not my cup of tea.
The House Kitchen
I have to clarify that the kitchen in our house is not huge. But it’s big enough for us. We are coming from an apartment, so we have not accumulated a ton of stuff. As a result, we have some empty cabinetry right now.
That picture up there is a picture of our kitchen. We lucked out with brand new appliances, and we have a gas stove which is fabulous for cooking. The counter top is not granite, but we don’t need granite anyway.
This kitchen is a 1000% improvement from the kitchen in the apartment. I can’t even stress how much better it is. I can actually see the things in the cabinets. The counter is level. The fridge is full-sized, so we can actually store food in it. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for us.
I thought that, maybe, I was one of those people who just didn’t like cooking, and who would never really get into it. It seemed that way.
But then we moved here. And it turns out that I do like cooking, in the right environment.
If I’m going to be huddled over a pot or chopping vegetables for an hour, I want to feel comfortable with my surroundings.
Every night, save for once last week when we had too many leftovers and had to eat some of them, I’ve come home and started dinner. I’m not talking about easy meals like pasta with red sauce either, I’m talking homemade macaroni and cheese, manicotti with homemade marinara sauce, Indian lentils with homemade naan, enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce, various soups and baked goods (including homemade raisin bread), you name it.
The improvement isn’t all in just the space, though. It is also in the equipment. Now that we have a full-sized fridge, I don’t have to go to the grocery store every second day to get ingredients. And admittedly, it’s nice to have the dishwasher and know that I don’t have to clean dishes after working on a meal after work.
It’s a huge improvement and it’s helped a lot in my desire to cook. Now, if only there was some change I could make that would make me enjoy cleaning…