Tiny House Cooking

Posted July 13th, 2009 by Michael Janzen and filed in Issue 9: Food and Cooking

One of the areas of tiny house living not frequently covered online is how one cooks and eats in small spaces. We’ve all seen the tiny kitchens in photos and videos online with the mini-refrigerators, hot plates, toaster ovens, and limited counter space; but we’ve rarely seen how people cook or what they eat. I’m hoping that this issue of Small Living Journal will help begin to shed some light on this topic so that all of us can begin to learn how to eat more simply no matter how big or small our homes are.

I’ve been slowly working toward cooking and eating more simply and wanted to share some thoughts and a recipe website I’m launching that I hope will help more people begin to experiment with simple cooking.

Key Ingredients to Tiny House Cooking

Smart Shopping – Buy only the foods you plan to eat because storage in a tiny house is limited. You’ll also reduce potential waste and spoiled food. This is easier for people that live close to where they shop.

Buy Fewer Refrigerated Foods – Many of us take our refrigerators and freezers for granted but in a tiny house the refrigerator, if you have one, is most likely a mini-fridge. If you are able to shop regularly you may actually be able to virtually eliminate the need to have a refrigerator. At the end of the day the amount of refrigerator space you need really depends on what you choose to eat. Less refrigerated foods means less space and energy needs to be dedicated to keeping food fresh.

Avoid Packaging – The less packaging you buy the less trash you generate. As you can imagine a tiny house can’t have a big trash can and if you peek in your own trash can and recycle bin right now you’ll notice that food packaging tends to be the biggest contributor to our waste stream.

Buy Healthy Ingredients – By all means buy and eat food that is good for you. I’ve begun to think of it like this, if it’s not organic it probably means it was produced with pesticides. Unnatural stuff used to produce like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, and steroids, are there to produce food more profitably. These foods are often less expensive but does it make any sense to eat them?

Simple Preparation – Cooking simple meals means you’ll need to store, use, and clean fewer pots and dishes. It should also take less time and energy to prepare meals. The most obvious benefit is that simple meals require little space for preparation which means less time working, more time eating and enjoying each other.

Solar Cooking – This is a great way to cook without spending a dime on electricity or combustible fuels. You can buy solar ovens and kits online but you can also learn to build one yourself. My favorite place to look for information on solar ovens is the Solar Cooking Yahoo Group.

Simple Clean-Up -Simple cooking means less time spent cleaning up too. It also means that the need for a dishwasher, a large sink, or even many dishes, is reduced significantly.


My continuing exploration into tiny house cooking has helped me re-think how I shop for food, prepare, eat, and clean up my kitchen. It’s been helping me eat better and save time cooking and cleaning… but I still have a long way to go.

So I’ve launched a website called Tiny House Cooking which will become a free website filled with simple recipes. Right now there are only a few recipes and I’m looking for people to share their recipes. If you have a good recipe and want to share it write it up and I’ll post it on Tiny House Cooking.

2 Responses to “Tiny House Cooking”

  1. FrethNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve made several box cookers out of cardboard with a glass or lexan window … they aren’t the tightest or hottest but can do a bang-up job on a whole roasted chicken in 6 hours.

    An outdoor 2-burner propane camp stove and a solar oven sure beats heating the house up in the summertime.

    For anyone considering “off grid” or camping in flammable national parks, solar ovens are the way to go.

    I’m either going to buy a Sun Oven or build a wooden box cooker that is tight and hot … to get higher temperatures and cut down on cooking times. And more reflectors to focus the light.

  2. Annie ( Buy House ) WagnerNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent blog this smalllivingjournal.com well done and I am really pleased to stumble on : this it’s just what I needed to know.
    It’s taken me literally 3 hours and 22 minutes of searching the web to find smalllivingjournal.com (joke) ;)
    But seriously I am really interested in Waterfront Property normally and so I shall be very pleased to become a regular visitor