The sinkhole: it’s all relative.

If you thought my kid getting attacked by a dog was traumatic, imagine what it’s been like living in a 3-square-metre kitchen for two years.  Without an oven.  Actually you don’t need to imagine it, I’ve previously written an anguished post about it here.

Doing dishes: even less enjoyable in a space the size of a boat galley.  And I mean a tiny boat, like a tinny or something.  Do tinnies even have galleys?  Or it’s just BYO esky?

Honestly it would pretty much be more convenient to just wash the plates outside in a bucket.

Anyway, although we’ve wanted to do something with the kitchen for a while, due to the inflexible footprint of the Hong Kong village house, structural modification hasn’t been possible.  Even rearranging things is difficult when you have to factor in having a stupid washing machine plumbed right into the middle of the “space”.

We didn’t entirely concede defeat though.  One of the successful elements already at work in our tiny kitchen is the use of hooks to hang basically everything: glasses, mugs, tongs, spatulas, the colander.  Following the maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to its logical conclusion of “if it’s working, do it more!”, we purchased lots more hooks and started hanging even more stuff up all over the walls.  Including pots and chopping boards.  If we don’t get this ever-decreasing circle of implements under control soon we won’t be able to get in there at all.

You can’t tell from the photo but the way we’ve got it set up now is a much better use of space.

Still, you might think we’d be missing the beautiful kitchen in our Australian place, with its expansive benchtops and requirement to physically walk from one part of it to another.  See also: oven.

But you’d be wrong.  There’s no room in my heart to miss that place now that we have a kitchen bench of our very own, recently constructed by my husband to maximise the space surrounding the washing machine.

We waited too long to make this bench.  Having somewhere to cut shit up is a basic human right, and a right delayed is a right denied.  I still can’t get over the luxury.  I’m often to be seen in there mindlessly chopping up old apple cores and milk cartons etc, just enjoying the reassuring sturdy melamine counterpressure.

This bench has changed my life.

And before you feel sorry for us for having such an abysmal sinkhole for a kitchen, remember, it’s all relative.

From Michael Wolf’s Photographs of Small Flats in Hong Kong.

Everyone go cut something!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I just graduated from a 3 x 3 kitchen (no oven) to a 6 x 3 kitchen, and it feels like such a luxury. The one upshot of a small kitchen is that I could make pancakes pretty much standing in one place – everything was quite literally in arms reach. I think I”m going to be annoyed when we get a proper sized kitchen that I actually have to walk around while cooking. But you’re right that everything is relative. I could never complain, what with many of my neighbors lacking running water and electricity. Or I could complain and then feel like an asshole, which is what I did…

  2. jadeluxe says:

    Whoa 6×3, you’re moving UP! No idea how that compares to my kitchen but it sounds about as tiny. Yes you’re right, the standing in one place is actually really convenient, especially for lunchboxes where you need to find 15 different things. Don’t worry about complaining, I remember when our helper MaryJane just started with us, I think she’d been here for two days, I came home from a longish day at work (11 hours) and said “I missed the kids SO MUCH today!” She sees her kids twice a year. Yeah. We aren’t a-holes, we just have too much Western privilege…

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