My kitchen in India is about 15 feet long and 12 feet tall. Wide, it’s not. I bet if I stretched my husband horizontally in the air, his feet would touch one wall and his hands the other, soles and palms flat. My spouse is not short, but that’s still one skinny kitchen. In decorating magazines they call it a galley kitchen and then snicker later.
No cupboards, just open granite slab shelves. Hold your awe. Granite is as common here as uhm, rock. I have no oven, either--not in the conventional sense. Truth be known, I have never even seen a conventional oven in India. But, I do have a gas fired, two burner stove top. All you need to add is a sharp stick and Kumbaya and you’re camping.
There is the toaster oven. Go ahead and poke fun. You don’t even know where your toaster oven is. The last time you toasted a piece of bread in a toaster oven was 1983 and you only did it once because it took too long and it was cramping your food processor.
My mother’s kitchen wasn’t big either but she had an official and much preferred gas oven. She even had a toaster oven which she didn’t use to cook. She felt it did a better job holding up the phone book. Mom was no gourmet cook but if you were talking basics—meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, potatoes in any form, roasted meats, two spice (one being pepper) meals--she consistently had it down.
My mother often tried to involve me in her cooking, but as a daughter coming into her prime teenage years in the early 70’s, I was far too busy burning my training bra to care. I vowed to avoid the kitchen for life. I also vowed to co-habitate with Mick Jagger, dethrone Nixon, and make a difference.
Nixon’s gone and so is mom. I occasionally cook now, not in her memory, but when I am inspired. Mom’s recipes were all in her head anyway and mine are from the internet. She cleaned my clock in the kitchen and she didn’t have any more conveniences to cook food with than I do now. She had the touch and the time. I have a galley and Google.