Want a sneak peek into my gluten-free kitchen? Let me give you a little tour of where all the excitement happens, and share how I stay content with my kitchen.
Content with my kitchen.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been hopping around the food blogging corner of the internet and come across someone sharing photos of their kitchen. Their beautiful, spotless, efficient kitchen.
Let’s face it, every woman wants a gorgeous kitchen (even if she hates to cook). But from one beautifully designed kitchen to another perfectly spotless one, looking at other foodies kitchens always leaves me feeling a little… discontent. ‘Cause mine pretty much never looks beautiful and spotless, and I know for a fact it’s not very efficient.
As humans, we naturally want stuff. It doesn’t matter what country or ethnic group we’re from. And the more stuff we get, the more we want. This discontentedness does not breed joy. We convince ourselves we don’t have everything we need. And sometimes we have to be taken down to pretty much nothing to appreciate what we do have.
So today I decided to share a little kitchen story with you.
A little story of kitchen contentment….
Once upon a time.
Not too long ago, in a not too far away place (if you live in the southern US, that is), a little redhead girl married a boy she met in college. They started off in a dorm apartment, where she learned that she had no idea how to make a can of Progresso soup (and believe me, she was OK WITH THAT!), but she could make chocolate chip cookies 10 different ways using the same recipe every time.
From the dorm they moved every year or so from small apartment to smaller apartment, had a couple kids, and ended up in a tiny two-room Russian apartment.
And in this tiny Russian kitchen, with a stove that had no temperature gages and was barely big enough to fit a 9×9 inch baking dish, and a sink without running water for weeks on-end (let alone hot water in the summer), this little redhead was more content than she had been in the bigger, better small American kitchens with their dishwashers, garbage disposals, and hot running water!
Because she learned this (as it applies to kitchens):
“I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot.
In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—
whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.“
Here’s my family’s kitchen. Yep, that’s all of it, minus the tiny table I was standing on next to the tiny fridge in the corner. Isn’t it lovely? Pink is my favorite color (that was typed in sarcasm).
In all seriousness, though, I learned so much about cooking in Russia, like how many different dishes can be made from potatoes and cabbage, and tasty ethnic dishes like breakfast lapsha, syrniki (not gluten-free!) and our favorite Homemade Paleo Sweet & Sour Chicken.
And, just FYI, it was our family’s move to the States that triggered the dormant celiac in me and my second daughter. It’s crazy what eating processed, genetically modified foods does to one’s insides!
So, just in case you’re struggling with being content with your current kitchen, remember the women in Tanzania who cook over a fire in their front yard, or the women in India who only have one pot and eat rice for every single meal (though, let’s face it, when you’re gluten-free sometimes it feels like you’re eating rice for every meal, too). Remember that your contentment shouldn’t be based on what you have, it’s a choice that springs up from your heart – you are blessed!
Now, if you’re still here, I’d like to share a few photos of my current kitchen… along with some of my family’s favorite recipes and some of the things I’m currently grateful for.
My cast iron pans.
Ah, cast iron pans, how I love them. If you don’t own any, let me encourage you to forsake all other frying pans you have and go get one! I won’t fry an egg on anything else.
Actually, I can’t fry an egg on anything else, I’m really really bad at it… I’ve collected my cast irons from loving friends, the flea market, and my mom even got me one at Walmart. Though I have a couple random kinds, Lodge is a great one.
Back in Russia I one small kitchen counter with a cabinet under it. It worked for what we needed then, but now I am so grateful for my lovely set of counters that can house my kombucha monster, water kefir, sourdough starter, and Blendtec. And of course for my cabinets that can store my beloved Instant Pot when it’s not in use. Which is barely ever.
I’ve lived in many different places, and usually without a dishwasher, so believe you me when I say I praise Jesus for my electric dishwasher! With eight people in my family, and blogging to boot, I know I would spend most of my day doing dishes if it weren’t for my dishwasher. Even with all my extra helpers…
My kitchen table.
The table, where all the action happens (ha), and the amazing storage bench my friend’s husband made that doubles as children’s seats, are huge blessings to me. My kitchen table doubles as my photography surface, my kids school table, my sewing table, and of course… our dining room table. It’s usually covered in paint, colored pencils and/or food and dishes. But every now and again (usually when school’s in session) it’s clean. 😉
And, in case you’re still around, here’s some photos from my cooking experiences in Russia, just for fun…
This discarded old army thing was my first ever Russian stove. For my internship I was a cook for an orphan camp out in the middle of nowhere on Lake Baikal, in Siberia. I think my instructor passed me out of sheer amazement that 80+ kids survived off my cooking on it for the summer!