Friday, 11 December 2009

Kitchen Blues

There are many things that I will miss about Bosnia when we go, but one of the things that will not have me all dewy eyed with nostalgia will be our kitchen. Words cannot describe how much I hate our kitchen. Sometimes I go to bed cursing it.

I am of course massively spoilt. The kitchen is actually pretty big. There is a fridge the size of a small bathroom (thinking about it, I will miss the fridge. It is nice to have a big fridge). But, in common with a lot of Bosnian kitchens, there is no workspace. You think I'm exaggerating? Have a look at this. This is our entire kitchen and if I was any good at computers I'd draw you a nice arrow pointing out the vodka addled plums by the knives which have just been extracted from the plum vodka and ask for any ideas what to do with them. I digress, but any good ideas welcome in the comment box.

Things to note.

1. Look at the amount of workspace we have. Trust me, it is not very much.

2. There is no dishwasher. This fact in itself doesn't bother me any more. I'm so used to washing up that I actually am not even particularly bothered about having one any more. What does bother me is that there is nowhere to put the stuff that needs to be washed up. I mean obviously it goes in the sink, but once that is full it has to go on the (already tiny) workspace.

3. Hobs are electric. I hate electric hobs. Partly because I am a cook cook cook cookability kind of girl and love my gas hobs for the instant changes in heat, and partly because once you have used a hob it is on and HOT for quite a long time. You can't put pans on it. So you have to put them on the (really pretty tiny now as it is also covered with washing up) workspace.

4. I spend a lot of time whilst I am cooking dancing around with hot pots, sharp knives and muttering/growling that there is nowhere to put them down ANYWHERE! This isn't good for my sanity and doesn't make cooking an enjoyable experience.

5. I'm going to gloss over how close the electric points are to the sink (isn't this illegal and wildly dangerous?), how the drainage board plughole is actually blocked and therefore the water has nowhere to drain to and how the sink doesn't quite fit and therefore water spills everywhere whilst doing said washing up as, well, it is just me being narky and may be due to the fact that I went to bed last night still whinging over the kitchen.

So, obviously, although I'd have you believe that the kitchen looks like the above photo all the time, the reality is more like the picture below:

I'm so glad we are not ever going to have to attempt to cook a Christmas dinner on it. It is one of the world's great mysteries how Bosnian women manage to produce epic feasts at the drop of a hat and still have an immaculately clean kitchen at the end of it.


momcat said...

That is terrible. That kitchen setup is more suited to a one bedroom place or a bachelor. It must be extremely difficult to work like that.

Catharine Withenay said...

Oh, you make me feel so guilty for complaining about my kitchen. In designing our new one (this WILL happen in 2010, even if I have to kill to get it) we have planned lots of worksurface ... and then remembered all the items that clog it up: microwave, food processor, bread machine, etc.

Still - until we move into it, it will look stunning!

TheMadHouse said...

A lot of old farmhouse kitchens are similar in fact MadDad's grans old kitchen was the same, but she had a large table where everything took place

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

As a new visitor to your blog I was about to say how lovely and tidy your kitchen was until I scrolled down to the second photo -that made me feel a lot better!
You must be as old as me if you can remember the "cook, cook, cook, cookability...that's the beauty of gaaaaas" advert?
The plums...could you blitz them and serve with ice cream??

Kat said...

I can never have a kitchen that is too big. The kitchen I have now is huge but there is still no work space. Drives me mad.

Vic said...

For some reason we've always managed to pick homes that have unbearably small kitches, but no, none of them even come close to that. I don't know how you've survived this long!

Liz (LivingwithKids) said...

Having put up with an unmodernised kitchen for two years when we moved into this house I totally sympathise - it's so depressing, particularly when you are (inevitably) the one who spends the most time in there. I love our new kitchen so much. Love the sound of the plum vodka though! x

Anonymous said...

Our kitchen is tiny. Having said that, it has been knocked through to make a kitchen-diner which helps. We also have more workspace than you have. Can't imagine how you manage. Here's to dreams of a fabulous large kitchen one day!!

Athena125 said...

Sorry to say so, but I suppose I'm used to such kitchens. It seems normal to me. Mine is of a similar size (though I have 2 electric and 2 gas plates on the stove, I'll give you that), and it's not a problem to make a 3-course-meal for 6 (adult) people in it (though my personal record is 9 adults and 3 children). With clean-up-as-you-go, because I don't have a dishwasher either. My workspace measures 80x60 centimeters. The only problem I have size-wise is that my husband and I can't cook at the same time, because there's just no room. The size must be a former-Yugoslavian-country thing.

Working Mum said...

You had me at electric hobs! Noooooo!

Anonymous said...

Real life. Just enjoy the plums.


nappy valley girl said...

Sympathies - that doesn't look easy at all. And no dishwasher with 2 little boys must be a trial! That's one reason to look forward to getting back to the UK< surely.....

Toni in Ithaca said...

Okay,Em, I don't know if this will make you feel any better. . .our Tuzla kitchen in 2001 looked almost exactly like yours, fridg on the opposite wall. Where your stove is we had a coal burning heater. So, every winter morning we had to clean the soot off every surface to even want to put food down. Oh, and there were ants rather regularly. Oh, and we had water only twice a day for a total of about two hours. Sigh.

Emily O said...

We've had kitchens that size, but before children. And they both have a thing about 'helping' with cooking at the moment which would be a nightmare with hardly any worktop. Hope you find a better one when you're back!

Mwa said...

Urgl poor you. That looks way too small to properly cook for a family. And the washing up situation... not good.

As for the electric situation, I used to think exactly the same and now we have a ceramic hob, and it is great! Quick to respond, easy to work with, far easier to clean than gas and no danger of fire (important with the kids around). Electric is horrible, but once you go ceramic you don't go back to gas, I think.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Phew. Thanks for the after-picture. I was just starting to feel very inadequate :)

Anonymous said...

I hate our tiny kitchen, which also has electric hobs and no dishwasher and drives me mad with its lack of work surface, but it is bigger than yours. In one respect, however, it is even worse: the fridge is under the counter and there's no freezer apart from a tiny, constantly iced-up freezer compartment. Not that it's a competition:-)


Dot said...

I hate our tiny kitchen, which also has electric hobs and no dishwasher and drives me mad with its lack of work surface, but it is bigger than yours. In one respect, however, it is even worse: the fridge is under the counter and there's no freezer apart from a tiny, constantly iced-up freezer compartment. Not that it's a competition:-)


Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Momcat - it isn't the easiest...

CW - worksurfaces, you can't have too much. Although you always end up with the same amount due to huge amounts of clutter.

MH - we do have a table, which is well used, but nowhere near big enough. I dream of a huge farmhouse table!

Trish - 2nd photo is the more usual state... like the plums idea too.

Kat - Workspace. It is all about the workspace.

Vic - I've been fine with it, but now I know we are going home, it is killing me.

Liz - I love the sound of your new kitchen!

RS - kitchen dinners are a great idea. Our kitchen itself is quite large, just not very much in it. I spend quite a lot of time fantasising about how I'd redo it if we owned the house..

Athena - you are living proof of my assertion that Yugo women produce amazing feasts in these kitchens! I don't mind the no dishwasher, and do wash as I go, but I never quite manage to stay on top of it. The main thing is that there is nowhere to put down hot pans - some gas hobs would be great in this regard!

WM - with you every howl of anguish. Just NOOOOO.

Owen - we do!

NVG - I'm actually used to no dishwasher. My hands are suffering though.

Toni - thanking everything we have that we don't have a coal burning heater! I remember those water shortages too. Having to fill up water buckets everytime the water came on. Ahhh, good times (!)

Emily O - The oven in our UK kitchen is quite high so the boys can't reach it. here I have the ongoing battle of everyone trying to open it... so stressful.

Mwa - Can't wait to lose the electric hobs.

MM - After picture more common than before.

Dot - I think you win - our fridge is enormous and we have a big freezer too (although outside in the garage, not fun when the temp is -10C and you realise you need some meat to defrost).

goonerjamie said...

I'm not sure I could cope with an electric hob, hate them when we go on a self catering holiday. I also think that the vodka plums should be taken in place of Valium, seems more organic.

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Coat those plums in chocolate, and you have some tipsy Christmas to hand out. Fridge, yay. Rest of kitchen? Well, it's nice to have something to look forward to about returning home?

London City Mum said...

I feel your pain! I have literally ripped out 3 kitchens (yes, that's THREE) to rid myself of poorly thought out cooking spaces that were obviously 'created', and I use the term loosely, by someone who has never cooked, cleaned, washed up, let alone chopped veg.


Laura McIntyre said...

That is small.

I thought my teeny tiny kitchen was bad enough , must be a bit of a nightmare.

Troutie said...

Thanks so much for putting in the real life picture at the end. I was cursing you for being too perfect!

Eat the plums!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

GJ - plums vs valium, plums win!

A&U - Ooo,yum! Yes, I never really liked our English kitchen, but it is going to seem like heaven now.

LCM - It is amazing how many kitchens have not been thought through. My personal hatred is those 'islands' in the middle of the kitchen with sinks in. Clearly the designer is not used to washing up... looks awful when full of dirty pans.

LM - it is a pain - most of the time I'm used to it, but sometimes it does drive me NUTS!

Troutie - definitely at the less than perfect end in the kitchen 95% of the time. Occasionally the cleaner comes which makes up for the other 5%! Will eat plums and enjoy enormously. Hic!

Liz@Violet Posy said...

Oh I feel your pain! You have no worksurface at all there - I'd be pulling my hair out too.

Thanks for the comment over at mine, the painting of the laminate really is easy, just time consuming to get it right. Just make sure you clean it and key it with fine sandpaper and use laminate cupboard paint. Both Crown and Dulux make it in a range of colours. I'll post mine when it's done - I'm doing it as cheaply as possible so I'll share all ideas and pitfalls I've come across x