Do you have a kitchen? Do you cook?

Do you have a kitchen? Apparently, that’s not such a strange question to ask. It’s believed that by 2030, kitchens will be either shared or smaller due to more people ordering-in.

When I was growing up big kitchens were considered selling points so to hear that kitchens are shrinking seems unbelievable. But in 2016 Anna Puigjaner won a fancy $100,000 prize from Harvard to do further research on communal kitchens worldwide.

So, yeah, this is a thing. Even though most Americans cook at home to save money and be healthier, Millennials (supposedly) are doing less cooking than previous generations.

Uber eats, really?

Although to be clear, there is an important distinction between people eating at home versus folks cooking at home.

But it’s a crazy thing to learn that only 10% of Americans love to cook.

Interestingly, India, Ukraine, and South Africa spent the most hours cooking at home.

In 2009, our first apt near Payap University Chiang Mai.

As far as cooking went, 2018 was a bleak year. We didn’t have a kitchen, but typical Thai apartments don’t have them. On the one hand, I can be proud I made it work (I set up a makeshift kitchen and learn to cook primarily out of a slow cooker). Although, it didn’t help when the BF said things like I miss your cooking. Food-wise, like other things, our world shrink-wrapped.

But it’s ending spectacularly. For starters, we love our new apartments.

As Americans, we’re used to one or two bedroom layouts, but because we live in Thailand, we’ve had to adjust. One of the ways we’ve done this recently is by renting two apartments side by side. Although, in our new digs, the apartments have a foyer which allows us to close the outside door giving us free-range of the two places together. It’s awesome.

So now I’ve gone from having no kitchen to two kitchens! Besides the obvious, I’m quite pleased because to a Taurus having a full pantry is heaven. No, I’m not a hoarder, but I like to have lots of food in the house. I fear a natural disaster or alien attack which would prevent me from leaving my home. (I’m serious.) Therefore, I eye my cupboards looking for food that can be consumed without electricity. My dream is to have a 10 Cloverfield Lane (such a good movie) underground bunker.

Chiang Mai studio kitchen space
My apartment “coffee, tea, and ramen bar” after returning to Thailand from Ecuador back in 2010.

Anyway, until then, I’ve been shopping every day, stocking our glorious shelves, and taking advantage of having two fridges. (Calm down, they aren’t full sized.)

When I lived in the States, I subscribed to Sunset magazine and Rachael Ray Every Day for the recipes. Obviously. I used to have a list of vegetarian recipes that I pinched off the Internet. I used to be a coupon cutter. Yes, I was one of those women at the checkout.

I’ve been enjoying our new arrangement for only two weeks, but I’m already in bliss. The other day I slathered two thick white pieces of bread from Yamazaki Bakery. Cut up a generous amount of cheddar cheese and made ourselves the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve had in ages.

Now, my kitchen isn’t very big. (I can’t remember the last time I had a large kitchen. I’m not sure if I ever had, having spent the majority of my adult life in apartments.) But back when I didn’t have a proper kitchen, I remember stumbling upon this sweet video on an Australian expat living in a tiny apartment in Japan. I’m not sure if I was feeling sorry for myself, but I felt better after I watched it because the woman was so positive about her home and she brought up such an important point.

Small spaces force you to be creative.

There was a time in my twenties when I was determined to be a raw foodist so I threw all my cookware away. (It’s now called a Paleo diet.) Little did I realize I was taking my kitchen space for granted. Even a modestly-sized U.S. kitchen seems luxurious by Asian standards.

No matter how inexpensive it can be to eat out here, I still like to have control of what goes in my food. There’s way too much public nose picking (you think I’m joking), sneezing from restaurant kitchens (always after I order), and lack of hand-washing with soap in Thailand for me to completely relax even if MSG is not as bad as they say it is. Sure, its possible cleanliness is overrated, as my friend Lauren put it while visiting India, but I still enjoy cooking.

I like following recipes. And I really like it when I’ve made something so often that I don’t need to look at the recipe anymore. (I’m looking at you, chocolate chip cookies.) I like the break from the computer. It’s also nice to go zen and not think of anything while you chop vegetables and consider what spices to use.

It’s also nice to share something you’ve made or invite friends over for dinner. I used to have this great counter at one of my apartments in Chiang Mai. I didn’t have a dining room table, but everyone was able to hang out at the counter/bar and nosh on the Mexican spread I had laid out.

When I first moved into this apt…the counter is covered with my stuff, but seriously, best counter space ever.

Someone once told me that cooking is “grounding”. I’m not sure if I know what that means, but I like the idea of being grounded. Cooking also allows me to make American meals which I don’t have access to in Thailand. Thais have killer cuisine, but they don’t do Tex-Mex chili, or legumes as main dishes, or vegetarian pasta. And tonight it’s going to be pan-fried salmon with broccoli and potatoes for New Year’s Eve.

 

Do you cook or eat out more often? Do you have a kitchen?

37 thoughts on “Do you have a kitchen? Do you cook?

  1. My kitchen is the biggest I have had so far, in my whole life where I live now. Now I’m not saying big, as in BIG. But comparing this to all kitchens I have had, or when a child, this is big. Lots of cupboard space and worktop space. My kitchen as only ever been a quarter of this size kitchen.

    I am a bit in the middle of eating out and eating in, with sometimes eating in being more often. I do like to eat in, but makes a change at times eating out. I could not imagine a home without a kitchen completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? I was surprised to hear that a shrinking kitchen was actually a thing. I thought everyone was watching the Food Network because I certainly see A LOT of food bloggers out there, too.

      But I suppose take-out and ready-meals are becoming more common. Food delivery apps are among the most downloaded.

      It’s nice to have a big kitchen. I see nothing wrong with it, but I have to appreciate my small spaces as an American overseas.

      Thanks for stopping by Liz! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lani,
    Another thoughtful post. Thank goodness I am a flexible woman. We lived in a 12 ft travel trailer with no counter space or even a sink that was big enough for a plate. I must not have minded it though. We moved from there to a tiny house with a real stove and refrigerator, but being newly married with a tiny baby we decided to go tent camping for weekends and once a year for a week.

    Little did I know it prepared me for life in Thailand. While the apartment was pretty new and modern, the kitchen only had one small portable induction plate I pulled out of the drawer when it came time to cook. I got pretty good at making chili, brownies, cake and soups in my rice cooker.

    Now that we are in Portugal and I have a gas stove and oven I am in heaven. Here’s to going with the flow of life! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember house-sitting for a friend in CM, and she had a gas oven, and I was like, how the heck does this thing work? Gas stove top, yes, best way to cook, in my opinion, but oven? I was scared. 555

      Back in the day, I want to say it seemed more common to start a young family in a trailer and do more camping. But maybe I’m just saying that because I feel out of touch with life back in America.

      Flexibility is the key, isn’t it? It’s something that I’m returning to mentally – as in, this is what we need to thrive in today’s world. Life can change quickly and the better we are equipped to deal and adapt, the quicker we’ll bounce through life! xxoo

      Like

  3. Your new cooking arrangement sounds interesting! So you rented two apartments, and they are joined together? It sounds like you have a lot more space than ever before.

    I don’t love cooking. I like and I like eating healthy food. For the last two years I’ve been cooking heaps for home lunch and dinner. Going to shop for groceries is fun – fun picking out more for less and find savings. Yes, I’m one of those people who sign up for store coupons and have the card to collect points at the checkout. One plus of cooking in and eating in is that there is no need to deal with the outside world – and I’ve never considered Uber eats or meal deliveries.

    I don’t mind following recipes but I like to chop and change them. Most recipes have one ingredient I don’t like, and I’d take that out lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we do have more space! But it doesn’t feel like it because we stay in our respective apts and do our own thing most of the time. Hahahaha.

      My apt is too small for a dining room table, even a two seater, so we eat out on my deck and that helps to create the illusion that I have more space. It’s a nice change of lifestyle.

      It’s interesting that you said you don’t have to deal with the outside world when you eat in. But when you eat out you don’t have to clean up or do dishes, and I think that’s why people like to eat out.

      Normally, I wouldn’t agree with you, but as an expat, eating out can be a bigger ordeal as you try to figure out how things work at the particular restaurant.

      Also I feel like I have to make myself presentable when I’m in public. So, yeah, maybe you bring up a good point. 🙂 xxoo

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      1. I actually don’t mind doing the dishes at all. Rather wash them now than use the dishwasher. I do think people like to eat out because they are lazy to cook or really like eating outside food better 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you like your kitchen. It looks very neat and colorful.

    I have a big American-style kitchen. Since there’s also room on one end of it for a kitchen table, book shelves, and a computer desk, I spend most of my time in the kitchen. I do like to cook. You can’t spend the whole day cooking, though, so most of my meals are simple. I also enjoy eating out and eating at someone else’s house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH, that first picture isn’t my kitchen, but it photographs cute, doesn’t it? It was our first place living overseas and was a bit of a shocker if I’m honest. Looking back, I now realize we were lucky to have even that.

      Your kitchen sounds nice. I can imagine a space where you spend a lot of your time at. It feels more homey to be in the kitchen. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We do have a kitchen and was a real mess deciding on what we want when renovating this apartment. In Europe kitchens are also much smaller compared to the USA.
    I remember in our 40m² apartment in Finland (~430sqm) we had the kitchen in the living room kind of…smaller than the one in your picture of 2009!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that is tiny. Yes, I got the sense that some European countries have smaller living spaces when I looked up how people live around the world. Also, after being over here, I started to think about how we American’s take our large country for granted. Now, this isn’t always the case where there are a lot of people (NYC) competing for real estate, but generally speaking, even apts are quite spacious.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember when my best friend came to my wedding all the way from the USA where he moved to back in 2005 with his parents. They live in Los Angeles and he was so surpised what big house they got there compared for the same money in Germany it would be just an everage sized apartment!
        Anyhow when he got to our small Finnish apartment and was also amazed how “smart” everything is designed in order to make it work in such small apartment. He kind of forgot most of it after living in the USA for ten years back then. And this now reminds me that I still got to visit him (talking about that with him for the past 8 years…)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As I mentioned, I’ve been watching those tiny space YouTube videos and I do love how clever and creative people get about making smaller spaces work.

        Obviously not every country as America’s landmass so being in situations that are more ‘cramped’ can be either frustrating or freeing oddly enough.

        I like the idea of not being able to have a lot of junk. I can’t! the space won’t allow it!

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  6. I couldn’t imagine not having a kitchen of some sort… I eat scrambled eggs with onion/pepper/etc. roughly three times a week (because it’s cheap and healthy and easy and I love it) and if I couldn’t even make that… it would be surreal. I mean, I barely have a kitchen because I live in a hotel room… Mini-fridge, microwave, hotplate (and now a rice cooker!), but even with those limitation I can and do cook up lots of things! Also, even when I order, I need the fridge and microwave for the leftovers! Do people order exactly what they will eat, nothing more? That seems unrealistic… or does mine not count as a kitchen?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have a place to wash your dishes? If you do, then I say it’s a kitchen. Because in our last place I had to do the washing up in the bathroom, and we hated it.

      That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t get a hot plate. I didn’t want to have to deal with a frying pan or saucepan in the loo.

      It sounds like you have the basics, although we had to get a toaster, because the BF loves toast.

      It’s funny that you mentioned eggs because that’s exactly what I’ve been noshing on these days. It’s so nice to have omelettes back on the table.

      Like

  7. Ordering delivery is HUGE in China. Only grandmas cook at home now! Well, I did too, when I didn’t have a baby and could freely use both my arms for more than 5 minutes, haha. Luckily MIL helps in that front as I don’t like eating outside food every day (I get fat) and I don’t want to order delivery as too much plastic…

    We have quite a big kitchen, the biggest I’ve ever had in China. It even has an oven, which is quite uncommon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting about the delivery! I think most Thais just eat out. Delivery is sort of newish with the fast food chains doing it, and foreign restaurants which is nice during the rainy season. If anything most Thais pick up their food for to go.

      Yes, I imagine cooking has taken a full stop with Baby A. Nevermind, you’ll sure to get into it again once he gets older and you want to cook at home!

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  8. I absolutely love cooking, Lani. When I first heard people talking about “cooking from scratch” I was confused, not sure at all what they meant. I grew up on a farm, so the whole ‘farm to fork’ thing was simply the way we lived, cooked and ate. Here in the UAE, where about 90% of food is imported, I love the prolific growing season in winter for all the lovely fresh locally grown organic veg that is available. And of course I dream of the day we move to Portugal, and we can grow most of our own food. I also collect recipe books, and wherever I travel try to find a cooking class!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the one big advantage about living in Thailand. There is so much locally grown food and you don’t have to travel far to find your local market supporting local farmers.

      When I miss cold weather and different seasons I have to remind myself that living where there is an abundance of year-round grown food is a pretty nice thing indeed.

      And to have your own little garden 🙂 absolutely the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are definitely lucky with fresh produce, Lani. I can remember how envious I’ve been walking through fresh produce markets in Thailand. The abundance and choice were incredible.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The kitchen is probably the most important room in our apartment. My husband loves to cook, and I do, too, but he’s the one who’s in the kitchen most often because he simply loves to cook that much. We have a pretty good kitchen right now—plenty of counter space—it’s key!

    I can understand the notion of cooking grounding you. There are plenty of things I cook that are family recipes, things I’ve come up on my own, and cooking those I can let everything else go and just concentrate on the task at hand. Sometimes, it can be quite zen.

    I really love to bake though. But I don’t do it often as I don’t have anyone to share the baked goods with! And I’m not about to eat a tray of brownies myself 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love to bake, too. I miss it. I might have to turn the BF’s kitchen into a baking center, but he has other plans…something about a massive fish tank 😛 on the counter.

      Hmmm. Well, I’m glad you explained the grounding bit better. I like being domestic. I know as a woman, I shouldn’t say that, but as Ali Wong, the comedian, as eluded to, I wouldn’t mind being a homemaker while the man went out and made the $$$.

      Like

  10. I’m ashamed to show my place..messier than yours.

    Sure, I have a kitchen which includes a built in dishwasher. It came with the place. I do eat out, but not often for dinner. It’s at home most of the time. My eating table is abit too small but I don’t have a huge amount of space. I do like my kitchen and it’s arrangement. Most of it is logical and for easy movement.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t like cooking for the most part, but I usually “put together” my food. As in, I make a tuna salad with lettuce and add nuts and crackers for my work lunches, and that’s about it. I eat yogurt with berries for breakfast and occasionally cook pasta for dinner. And that’s about it. I don’t enjoy the mess of cooking or the time it takes. I want to learn to, because reading about people who love cooking always makes it sound so meaningful and relaxing, but it never has been for me. I’ve stopped trying to force it.

    I think it’s fascinating that we’ll have smaller kitchens, but it makes total sense. I mean, how many of those people with the giant kitchens in fancy houses actually have the time to use them? It’s just a selling point and that’s all. The illusion of productivity? Who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. During all of my research there seemed to be a case for ‘bigger kitchen = a woman’s place is in the home’ kind of thing which I found interesting.

      On the one hand, I understand the idea of making the kitchen appealing for women at home. On the other, I think this also probably had to do with the rise of US economy, bigger homes in general, and the psychological implications of the kitchen as a kind of centerpiece of abundance.

      But now we have so many different home arrangements, and food options! Anyway…

      You might like ‘cooking’ or prep time more if you listened to music or a podcast then it wouldn’t feel like work. You just need to meet a hot guy who likes cooking and then you’ll suddenly be fascinated. Hahahahahahahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is my ultimate plan…. but I think you’re right about having someone else there. It wouldn’t seem like such a time waste if I was spending time with someone as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. What! Only 10% of Americans use their kitchens!? Even though their so damn big compared to those in Asia?? Mind blowing!!! To me, the two most important rooms in a home are the kitchen and bathroom.
    I heard in many SE Asian countries, less and less young people are cooking because the food outside is so good and cheap. When I went to Vietnam, the locals told us everyone eats breakfast and lunch outside, but they try to eat dinner at home.
    I’m with you, Lani. I like knowing what goes in my food. And for whatever reason, my body feels much better when I eat food that I prepared. Cooking is so extremely therapeutic… I really enjoy it.
    And two kitchens! Heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we lived in CR, it was a little frustrating (well, for a lot of reasons) because dinner time was when I felt the pavement rolled up and the town went to bed.

      Restaurants open at night were either fancy/expensive or farther away. So I learned to save leftovers for dinner or something along those lines. So, yes, while there are places to eat in Asia – I’d say depending on where, you might find yourself stuck w/ fewer options. But as I write this, it seems silly because I just think of evening time as when everyone comes out b/c it’s so much cooler at night.

      Chiang Mai, on the other hand, was amazing for night time eats. Lots of options, lots of street food.

      And yes, the bathroom is important. I need space to put all my crap!

      Like

  13. Not surprised that South Africans are among the highest cooking at home.Cooking is a huge part of South African culture because its a nation obsessed with food and has access to the freshest produce!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Being able to cook food yourself really opens up the world of possibilities. We live in a small town, so there aren’t very many vegan-friendly restaurants near us. We do buy frozen dumplings in bulk for those days when we just don’t feel like spending an hour cooking and cleaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cooking is such a big deal. I’m so so happy to be back in the kitchen. We’re eating healthier, too.

      Thanks for stopping by, Katie! I know you are a busy mom 🙂

      Like

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