Kitchens in Germany are challenging (that is the most diplomatic descriptive word I can use). Most of the kitchens I’ve seen here remind me of what was in most American homes in the 1950’s. They are small and typically closed off from the rest of the house. Many are galley style, just big enough to walk through. I’m super lucky because my kitchen is in a new apartment building and my apartment has a fairly open floor plan. Here’s my kitchen:
I get lots of morning sunshine, which is wonderful for helping me to wakeup, but it also shows the dust (I’m not so good at cleaning). I was standing in the dining area when I took this picture. The whole area opens up to our living room, which is unusual.
I love the range hood and the glass front cabinets. I wish I had something like this in my house in South Carolina. I’m not crazy about the gray laminate backsplash, but I can’t complain too much. We’re lucky there was even a kitchen in this apartment. When most Germans move into a new apartment, they have to put in a new kitchen. Really! No cabinets, counters, appliances or lights. Imagine that, just a shell of a room!
We put up the wall shelves. All the produce is on the counter because it won’t fit in our fridge. The two lower cabinets by the dishtowel are our “pantry” . So maybe you can guess where my refridgerator is?
And here is the inside:
Ha! Fooled you! We were fooled too when Jeromy first looked at the apartment. He thought the freezer was on the bottom. Nope. The freezer is in the fridge compartment and really isn’t much bigger than a shoe box, maybe for boots. No room for soda, so we’ve pretty much given that up unless we go out to eat. If we entertain guests, we put a cooler with ice out on the porch for extra drinks. In this picture there are three beers on the shelf. If you take one out, you have to put one in and hope that the fridge cools at the same pace that you drink the beer. In the winter, we just leave the crates of beer outside.
Oh, that shoebox of a freezer! So this is why we grocery shop multiple times a week. I do one large trip to the commissary on the American army post to stock up on pantry items and we fill in the blanks throughout the week at the German market. I’d like to say that we waste less food since we don’t have much room to store it, but I still think too much gets thrown out. But, probably less than we wasted in the States.
Just like there isn’t much room in my fridge, there isn’t much room in my oven. Forget hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I can barely fit a cookie sheet in my oven and there is only one shelf that isn’t a tray. If I have to use the tray as another shelf, it cuts down on the heat circulating in the oven and food doesn’t bake evenly. (Don’t look at this picture too closely, because my oven still doesn’t look clean even though I just cleaned it. Did I mention I’m not good at cleaning?)
If I remember correctly, I could fit two cookie sheets side by side on the same shelf in my oven in the U.S. I don’t bake much anymore, but there is a bakery on every block, so I’ve been well supplied with pastries. So keeping with our small theme, here is my kitchen sink:
My largest pot is almost as big as the single basin I have in my sink. To wash dishes I have to start with a little bit of water and soap in the basin and the basin fills up with water as I rinse off the clean dishes. I do have a dishwasher and there isn’t much to complain about there. Here’s what is under my sink:
Germans really like to separate recycling and food scraps and other bio matter from their trash, which is something I wish more people would do in the States.
So that is my kitchen. Have you noticed what is missing?
I don’t have a microwave and I don’t miss it one bit! In South Carolina I really only used it to microwave popcorn and heat up water for tea or hot chocolate. However, I do sometimes miss my average, builder basic kitchen in my house in South Carolina. It was big and bigger:
But, we have adjusted. Now I’m not sure what I’d put in that giant fridge. We don’t drink soda anymore. I guess we’d put lots of beer in there and fill it with produce, maybe a couple of pizzas and some ice cream in the freezer.
Have any of you had experiences with non-American kitchens? Have you ever been amazed by what you can live without or adapt to?