New York is a foodie's paradise. You can get any type of cuisine, at any price, at any time of the day. The options are endless! But as we know, being young in New York does not usually afford us the opportunities to take advantage of these options. When I moved into my small apartment in the West Village over 2 years ago, I was taken by the front windows, the decorative fireplace, and an unusually enormous bathroom. Even though I love to cook and like to use cooking as a way to de-stress, I looked past the fact that my "kitchen" would consist of a hotplate, a mini-fridge, a "seen-better-days" toaster oven, and a microwave. I could do it! It would be an adventure! And, as my future landlord put it, "Nobody cooks in New York anyway!"
Well you do if you're in an entry-level position and you can't afford to eat out every night! But I soon learned that buying groceries would prove difficult-estimating exactly how much milk I would use and figuring out how many ways to use asparagus in one week was going to be tough. I didn't have the luxury of a freezer, or numerous shelves to hold multiple ingredients for dinner and since I lived alone, I had to make sure that I wasn't being wasteful. I started shopping the way I romantically imagine a Parisian does - buying just what I would need to make a meal and, if I was lucky, lunch for the next day.
I started small. Frittatas and omelets, easy tomato sauces and pasta. I learned how much time it took to boil water on my hotplate, how long it took to heat up oil in a pan, and most importantly, that a toaster oven can be used for more than just toasting bread! And then I sat back and thought, if I can make all of these things, why can't I graduate to cooking fish and meats and more elaborate meals?
Eventually, I learned to love my hotplate. I was even generously given a newer hotplate by a co-worker who had just finished renovating her kitchen, but after one try, I went right back to using the old one! It's comfortable now.
After all of my experiments in the kitchen, I've realized that there are many others out there, just like me, living with barely-there kitchens, using recipes for 4-5 servings but only wanting 1 or 2, who want to cook at home as well. It's my hope that you'll be inspired here at Hotplate Confidential to start using that kitchen for more than just boiling water for tea!