This is blog entry describes my adapted kitchen. I’m also posting it as page to be a so it will be readily available for future reference.
Luckily when I built my house I designed it to fit my needs and didn’t have to modify a traditional house. In the kitchen the oven, cooktop counter tops, the sink need changing and even where you store things need to be adapted to my needs. I’m including pictures of how I did each of these things.
A traditional stove with the oven and cooktop in one piece just won’t accommodate my special needs.
I hate to think what would happen if the level of the oven was low and I fell out of my chair on to the hot door while I was leaning over and trying to take a hot pan out. The oven needs raising and I must be able to take pans out from beside the oven and not lean over the door.
What is very useful but not obvious is the piece of ceramic tile I keep on the counter beside the oven so I can put hot pans right there and not have to carry them to the preparation area.
The cooktop needs to be lowered and I also need to get my legs under it so I can use a spatula or stir something in a pot even if they are on back burners.
Something that is useful is a screen top for the frying pans otherwise oil popping will burn my arms if I need to reach a pot on a back burner.
Cooking Preparation Area
It is most important to able to get my legs under the preparation area. Some tasks like smashing garlic to peel it needs some strength and it helps to be able to hit down. I also prefer to use a nylon portable cutting board so I can remove it to the sink when not in use.
I invested in a good quality professional mandolin. That make evenly slicing things like Summer squash or onions much simpler.
Keep a variety of knives. Particularly a big heavy one that you can turn on its side for smashing garlic. Its lucky I like garlic; it is in almost everything I make. I use my knives a lot and having a knife sharpener is useful. Not shown are some cut resistant gloves. Keeping your fingers out of the way is not enough. These gloves won’t protect you from a determined cut but are useful to avoid grating or zesting your fingers.
Two items are almost essential for me are a good heavy garlic press and a heavy hand juicer. Thinly slicing garlic not easy using just your hands and a knife. Deseeding and juicing a lemon or lime is not easy and is best done with a heavy tool. Don’t scrimp on these get good heavy professional quality tools because you will use them a lot.
It will be simpler if you put everything you are going to use in bowls BEFORE starting the actual cooking. Never underestimate the importance of mise en place, French for “set in place.” Following a recipe can lead to mess and chaos in the kitchen—especially if it’s a recipe you’ve never tried before. I didn’t realize this when I started seriously cooking. You never seem to have enough prep bowls. The first thing I bought was a set of bowls.
Adapting the sink, pots, pans, storing things and suggestions
Of course, the sink needs to be lowered. I use a double sink with a disposer in one side. The bowls of my sink are deep. It cuts down on being able to get my feet under but useful since if you are pouring something large out there is less chance it will slop over. I keep a white curtain in front of the sink to hide all the plumbing.
The black water filter is there to remove minerals that are in my water.
There is also a dishwasher next to the sink. Because after you cook the sink will look like this.
Here a few time saving and safety tips I have learned.
Have a good heavy non-stick skillet. Do NOT try to move pans containing hot liquids. Let the liquid cool. Have plenty of Olive Oil you will use a LOT of it. If you can use professional quality cookware. It is more expensive and heavy but good quality pots will last longer and if something needs more heat because it didn’t get done you can put them directly in the oven.
When I built my house something I didn’t think of is where I could store ingredients and other food and still get to them. Doing this takes a lot of extra floor space.
I order most of my food online through Amazon Prime Pantry. One advantage of this is the boxes come with a handle so the boxes are simple to move when you need something stored in the back of the box.
Keep a kitchen towel on your lap while cooking you will spill things.
The most import thing is to plan and THINK a recipe all the way through. Don’t cook yourself into an awkward situation. Sometimes a recipe will call for something like pouring a boiling liquid through a strainer and that is a big NO-NO. I know I’ve faced it! Plan and think of an alternative.