My excuse for only having baked twice in the last six months in my New York apartment is, like many small kitchens in this big city, people store pots and pans inside the oven (even more likely when one has roommates). Hence, the laziness to get everything out and churn a goodie or two.
The other day, however, I realized how not big of a deal this is, for as long as the cookware is stacked in a certain way. I now recall an article from back in 2008 written by Mark Bittman of The New York Times, “So Your Kitchen Is Tiny. So What?” wherein he talked about his 7 x 6 ft. cooking space. “It has a moderate-size refrigerator, what was once considered a full-size stove (as opposed to the compact “apartment-size” stove or the monsters recently gaining popularity), annoyingly little counter and storage space (yes, I sometimes must remove the stored pots and pans before using the oven), and even a small dishwasher.”
After having written the piece, Bittman received a flurry of emails questioning how someone like himself—an author of cookbooks and a columnist for the Times—could subsist on such modest square-footage.
“Interestingly, none of the queries, condolences, and commiserations came from women born before World War II, women (whom I often describe loosely if unfairly as “grandmothers”) who grew up learning how to cook from their grandmothers. They know that it’s fully possible to cook just about anything just about anywhere, with just about any equipment at hand.”
Bittman further writes, “No calls came from chefs, either, or from fellow food writers. They, too, know that when it comes to kitchens, size and equipment don’t count nearly as much as devotion, passion, common sense and, of course, experience. To pretend otherwise—to spend tens of thousands of dollars or more on a kitchen before learning how to cook, as is sadly common—is to fall into the same kind of silly consumerism that leads people to believe that an expensive gym membership will get them into shape or the right bed will improve their sex life. As runners run and writers write, cooks cook, under pretty much any circumstance.”
You can read the full article here.
Now, no matter where one lives—big kitchen, small kitchen, Mom’s kitchen—perhaps the easiest thing one could whip up in an oven are chocolate chip cookies. They’re ready in 30 minutes flat, or even less. I posted two recipes at AllMySugar.com. Tip: Halve either of the two recipes for a super-quick batch that makes about four dozen tiny cookies (use a tablespoon or a very small ice cream scoop to measure and distribute the dough evenly).
Last and definitely not the least, I’ve also finally blogged about my Milk Chocolate and Marshmallow Cornflake Cookies! As I’ve mentioned in this post, they’re featured in the new book, One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking, written by former New York Times food columnist, Molly O’Neill. Talk about sweet and exciting!