As often happens in the wilderness of the Internet, I was traipsing about on some cooking forums last week and began to follow, off the beaten path, one interesting link after another. It grew dark and I began to feel I was losing my way. I had forgotten to bring something crumbly, for marking the path behind me. Somehow I found myself at this NY Times article from last December, and I rested there for the night. When I woke up in the morning I found my way back home, much wiser for the bewildering experience.

The article is called “So Your Kitchen is Tiny. So What?” Who wouldn’t be drawn to that? I almost titled this post “in which a pagan eclipses me in contentment,” but a) I don’t know that the author is a pagan (to whom, in case he reads this, I mean no offense; in my vocabulary “pagan” is a rather specific term for a non-Christian, not a demeaning moral judgment) and b) he does confess to complaining every now and then at his lot, which is a kitchen looking like this. What you should know is that this man is the author of a cookbook entitled How To Cook Everything, and from the looks of the thing it doesn’t lie. The contents are critically acclaimed. And he says he does most of the testing for his books in this glamorous space.

I am humbled. I mean, I am almost-perfectly happy with my kitchen. It suits our basic needs and we have a dishwasher to relieve me of backbreaking labor (smirk). I know it would be ridiculous for me to have a showroom kitchen before I really know how to cook. I am the type of person who leans on the ceramic stovetop two minutes post-use; I don’t deserve, or need to be in charge of, any remotely complicated appliances. But I am humbled because I am covetously inclined like everyone else, and longing for a better kitchen, or house for that matter, is not even something that I could be tempted to justify. Coveting the clothes on someone else’s back when you have *none* involves some mitigating factors that simply are not there when it comes to completely optional upgrades on concepts that already work pretty darn well, such as the standard refrigerator or the microwave.

I was kind of hoping that that article would provide some practical, TIPical Mary Ellen-esque space-saving hints. It doesn’t, but it *does* motivate you to apply your own mind to how you can reorganize/declutter/otherwise improve the efficiency of your kitchen, to the end that you are less inclined to grumble about its idiotic layout or utilitarian aesthetic and more inclined to make do and make good food. As one celebrity chef said in the article: “Only bad cooks blame the equipment. I can make almost every dish in my restaurants on four crummy electric burners with a regular oven — as can just about anyone else who cares to.”