To Enjoy Good Food, Good Conversation

Dale likes this table much better. Photo by Kevin Pieper

I love the tiny kitchen table we have in The Little House, but that wasn’t always the case. Scrounging for a small kitchen table was my first foray into second-hand shops when we built The Little House.

I found the perfect kitchen table that was well, less than perfect. It was one of those early 90s models with the fake wood glued on (although the fake wood was peeling off) and it caught my eye because it had two matching chairs with the fake wood bottoms and green backs.

My mom went with me to the thrift store and we didn’t think it was a bad purchase, but Dale hated the set, even when I bought a dark green tablecloth to cover its’ imperfections.

He set his mind to replacing it ASAP and I found the set pictured above at Nebraska Furniture Mart. It came with two chairs, but we keep an extra two in the house from our larger set that is in our storage building.

Space in the kitchen is really tight and when we bought this set, I was looking for a small drop leaf set that could expand should we have guests over for dinner.

This has ended up being the perfect set.

Other things I love in my little kitchen include a ½ baking sheet, and a teeny-tiny pastry brush. When I hosted the slumber party here at The Little House back in October, my friend, Lora, shared a recipe that requires brushing rolls with melted butter and I made this find in a kitchen store in downtown Eureka Springs during our visit last fall.

What are your favorite furniture, cookware, bake ware or tools in your kitchen?

On a different note, please check out my post on Rescue Me about feral cats!

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29 Responses

  1. JoAnn says:

    I find many things at he camping store work great in small spaces. My favorite is a food processor that is hand operated. It doubles as a salad spinner.

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    I love our kitchen table and chairs. The table is counter height, so it dramatically expanded the usable counter space in our kitchen because you can just stand there like you would at a counter.

  3. Meredith says:

    I love my collapsible colanders and measuring cups. They are the best!

  4. Kim says:

    Hmm… at the moment, my new food processor. It can whip a pound of chickpeas into a ton of hummus so fast it blows my mind. (That was always a very difficult project before… and my husband loves hummus, so now I can make it as often as he likes.) We made strawberry shortcake last week, and it cut the butter into the flour and sliced all my strawberries– which cut the prep time by 75% or more. LOVE.

    I’ve invested in a “food processor bible” book to educate myself further on its potential. VERY excited. It has to be stored on my back porch (small old kitchen!), but so far I’m completely convinced that it’s worth the space it eats up.

    • Kim,
      I want a food processor, but like you, I wonder where I would keep it! I have a large George Forman grill that’s never been out of the box because it is just too much trouble to come and get it out of the studio’s basement.

  5. Alexandra says:

    My mattress. I know that does not really qualify, but sleep is so important …. My favorite tool in the kitchen must be the blender. It allows me to make smoothies and pea soup to perfection ….

    • Whew, for a moment there, I was picturing your mattress in your kitchen – not unlike a scene from our little house when we fold down the futon for a guest, it is partly in the kitchen! 🙂

  6. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I love my small crockpot. It lets me “cook” in the morning when I have energy- very important when I sometimes have extreme drops of energy in the afternoon/evening and collapse in a heap on the couch.

  7. I love my pizza stone from Pantry Chef. It’s thickness is perfect so that cookies don’t burn, easily, and makes a nice size pizza for my hungry kids. I do wish I had two of them as we’re still a two pizza family.

    • kerri says:

      Wow, 2 pizzas! That Pantry Chef stuff is good, I used to have a really heavy marble rolling pin they sold!

  8. phillis godwin says:

    As always, loved the article. Makes life sound so simple and fun. Love

  9. mat says:

    My favorite fixture in the kitchen (besides my Santoku knife) is a small, open cabinet I built to fit between the large Ikea hopper-style uppers we got in an amazing second-hand deal. It matches the hoppers for depth and height, but is only 5-7/8″ wide, thanks to the 1×6 shelf and luan sides. I even drilled the back so it fits in the Ikea rail system.
    I think the whole project set me back $8 for the 1×6 (always have luan around for some reason), but the cavity is the perfect size vertically store our cookie sheets, cutting boards, and pizza pans. The bottom pocket houses the all-important fire extinguisher.
    I painted it the same color as the soffit and you’d never really know it was a handmade quickie.

    • That sounds so cool, Mat. It’s so hard to find a place to store those kinds of items!

      • mat says:

        We never really had a good place for that stuff before I made the cabinet. The cutting boards–we use the plastic ones for a color-coded system–were always getting scattered throughout the kitchen, taking up more space than they needed to. A little vertical integration goes a long way!

  10. Kathleen Winn says:

    I love reading about the ways that you deal with the challenge of fitting your life into a small space. I also think that you are lucky in many ways, to have a physical limitation on how much stuff can be allowed into your home. I recently re-read Thoreau’s Walden, and was amazed at how the accumulation of stuff was apparently a problem for people, even over a hundred years ago. Thoreau was of course, famously minimalist when it came to acquiring material things. He describes the painful process of deciding whether or not to put a floor mat at the entrance to his cabin. Bringing just one more material item into his life required a great deal of thought and weighing of pros and cons. Ultimately, he decided not to get a floor mat, because he reasoned that he could just take his shoes off to avoid tracking in dirt, thereby eliminating the need for the mat, which would require regular washing and maintenance, the sort of chores he considered time stealers. At any rate, I envy you and Dale your simple, cozy life in the Little House!

    • kerri says:

      That is VERY interesting about Thoreau and his decision with the mat. I think putting that much thought into ANYTHING would give me a headache! 🙂 The other day, I needed an iron and we know we have one “somewhere,” which means in the storage area. I borrowed one from my aunt, who is also my neighbor. I think in the city, I would have just went out and bought another. Such a waste. Living small does make one stop and ponder other alternatives.

  11. I had a small drop-leaf kitchen table many years ago. If I remember correctly came with two chairs. I had a difficult time finding it. But, it was great in a small kitchen. Favorite cooking tools or pans, none. I have a love and hate relationship with cooking or spenting time in the kitchen. Mary Nida

    • kerri says:

      I had a love hate relationship with my kitchen in the city, Mary, that’s why we ate out so much. Now that we live here and there’s no choice in restaurants, I’ve learned to *love* my kitchen because I like to eat too much! 🙂

    • mat says:

      You should try to find one of those establishments that teaches you how to make a couple of dishes, then sends you home with a weeks worth of food to just reheat.
      In addition to getting familiar and comfortable with all kinds of implements and foods, you don’t have to clean the kitchen afterwards!

  12. sandy says:

    I am absurdly fond of my “OXO good grips” whisk. It just feels right, and the whisking action is *perfect*.

  13. Jenna, I can identify with all of that. I love my 9×9 baking dish! The problem with me having a REALLY sharp knife is that I cut myself! 🙂

  14. Jenna Martin says:

    My favorite piece of furniture is my writing desk. Its small and fits perfectly in my bedroom. My favorite cookware is my 9X9 glass baking dish. I can bake meats, small casseroles, cornbread, yeast bread and rolls, brownies, etc. in it. My favorite tool…a small set of tongs maybe? Better yet, the one I don’t have. A REALLY good knife! LOL