Cooking Food in Tiny Spaces…

Posted July 13th, 2009 by Tammy "RowdyKittens" and filed in Issue 9: Food and Cooking

indefensefood_cover_medFood. Ohhh how I love food. Especially plants!

I recently finished reading In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto; an educational and entertaining book.

Pollan’s main message is: Eat whole foods, chow down on lots plants and make eating a social experience. If you want to learn more about the intersections between your health, the food industry, public policy, and “nutritionism,” read Pollan’s book.

So how does this relate to tiny spaces?

Pollan helped me downsize the kitchen by changing my eating habits. By incorporating 15 of Pollan’s eating guidelines into my diet, I’ve been able to decrease waste, save space in the kitchen and focus on cooking simple and easy recipes.

For example, I’ve decreased waste by eating fresh foods that can be composted and visit the local farmer’s market once a week. By eating local and fresh foods, I don’t have to refrigerate much food. Cooking is simple, easy and fast because my meals consist of fresh fruits, vegetables and bread. I’ve found the following food guidelines really helpful for cooking in my small kitchen…

My Food Guidelines for Tiny Spaces

1. Eat mostly plants.

Market Lettuce2

2. Avoid food products that are predominantly processed, unpronounceable, have more than 5 ingredients or include high fructose corn syrup.

3. Avoid products that make health claims.

4. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.

5. Get out of the supermarket and shop at the farmer’s market.

Sacramento Farmer's Market 7

6. You are what you eat (This includes what other animals eat and what is in the soil too).

7. If you have space buy a freezer.

8. Eat like an omnivore. Diversity in diet is a good thing.


Photo by Em

9. Eat well grown food from healthy soil.

10. Get off the Western diet. But don’t look for the “magic bullet in the traditional diet.”

11. Have a glass of wine with dinner.

Bogle Winery18

12. Buy higher quality foods and eat less of them.

13. Choose quality over quantity and good experience over calories.

14. Eat meals and less snacks.

15. Cook and if you can plant a garden.

(Note: rules adopted from Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto)


The rules above have helped me create a minimalist kitchen and healthy diet. What cooking strategies have you used in tiny spaces?

2 Responses to “Cooking Food in Tiny Spaces…”

  1. Staci B.No Gravatar says:

    My favorite guide for small kitchen cooking is called “The Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbood” by Justin Spring. It talks about cooking appliances, cooking spaces, utensils and dinner parties. It includes some recipes, and some basic good advice for cooking in a small space, and liking it.

    I think the hardest part about downsizing your kitchen is knowing what can serve double duty, and what is simply an old habit that takes up space. There’s a story somewhere about a daughter whose mom always cut the ends off the roast, so she does too– but then she wonders why. When she asks, mom says “That’s just how my mom did it.” They ask grandma. The reason? Grandma’s pan was too small for the roast.

    One of my personal goals for my someday small house is to have a root cellar. Cool and cold storage so I’m not buying food out of season. So I can use all the produce from my (someday) garden, year-round. So it doesn’t require energy to keep it for later. Also, I love the sun fridges that have been made European style. They are 2 feet wide, and engineered to run on either solar or grid power. Low-impact, low-square footage… but unfortunately high price tag. Another option is the ECO-Fridge (

  2. Tammy "RowdyKittens"No Gravatar says:

    Hi Staci – Thanks for leaving a comment. I’ll have to check out the book you recommended. It sounds great! The ECO-Fridge and sun fridges sound intriguing. We’ve considered unplugging our fridge because we don’t use all of the space. I feel bad wasting so much energy! So a tiny fridge might be something to consider. :)

    I love the idea of a root cellar too. We’ve considered moving back to the ranch my partner grew up on and that might be a cool project to work on. But I don’t think we could do something like that in the city. :)

    Thanks for reading the SLJ.