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Where do you bake/cook in your kitchen?

We recently moved into a duplex and it has a right-angle eat-in kitchen... while there are lots of cupboards and it SEEMS like there's plenty of space, I'm finding out rapidly that there's very little counter space to actually prepare food to cook because it's broken up by the stove, the sink, the dishwasher etc. and I don't have more than two square feet of consecutive countertop anywhere. :(

Our old kitchen had very little cupboard space, but it was U-shaped so there was a five-foot-long counter to work on. I never thought I'd miss it! I baked some cookies this afternoon and had to sit the baking trays on the stovetop to prep them, but they got very hot from being on top of the oven (apparantly it has very little insulation) so that's far from ideal unless I want my baked goods all par-baked in advance. How do others make it work?

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  1. I have a right-angle kitchen built 50 yrs ago, before the coming of the toaster oven and microwave. Mine take up
    the counter space not already given over to the drainboard, knife block, and utensil carousel. I replaced the original electric 4-coil stove with a cooktop range, and do almost all my cooking/baking prep/assembly on the cooktop, since it's a more convenient height than the table. Things balance out: since I cook many of my vegetables in the microwave, it is very seldom that I use more than one cooktop burner at a time, which leaves the rest of the surface unheated, and available for other kitchen tasks.

    There are tricks you can use - e.g., for baking, open adjacent drawers, or open adjacent lower cabinet doors, and set your baking sheets, and later, cooling rack, across them.

    1. I have a pretty small kitchen and very little counter space. I had to add a rolling kitchen island which I use for prep as well as the kitchen table which I slide close to the stove when I'm cooking.

      1. I live in a vintage home. The stove is at least 8-9 feet from the counters which meant literally prepping the food @the counters and running across the kitchen to the stove area. Now I have a ceramic topped portable *island* with two stools. I can prep the food at the counters and set it all up on the island or just prep it on the island. So much easier this way.

        1. I've got a kitchen that was probably pretty big in 1908, but just adequate now, not only because of its size but the fact that it's also THE corridor from the side door to the dining room, and to the back door/laundry room. The worst part is that the double wall oven and the cooktop are on the left, right in the highest traffic zone, with not much space for prepping anyway, and the fridge is in the line of fire between dining room and back door, including the laundry room/cat hangout and the downstairs bathroom. My pipe dream is to put all the pantry/storage where the cooking area is now, and move that over to the fairly tranquil right side. As there is gas and power on that side too it would work. But that's well in the future and I'm not getting any younger.

          1. Back in the late 70s I moved into a home with a very small kitchen with similar counter issues. I had been living there about 30 days and my father came to visit. He took one look at the situation and suggested I keep an ironing board (without legs) along side the refrigerator and lay it across the right angle when I needed prep counter space.

            It worked for the two years I stayed in that house. In my next home, I kept an ironing board with legs alongside the refrigerator with the grey asbestos lined cover. When baking, roasting, having company for a holiday, I set it up and use it to hold the hot items coming out of the oven. Cheap and easy solution...smart father.

            After that 2nd house I never had a small kitchen or shortage of counterspace..................

            1. I ***might*** have two feet of counter space.


              I don't bake much, and when chopping/prepping i stack the bowls with chopped veg in them already ontop of each other.
              I have a large cutting board for the specific purpose of covering my sink to create more counter space. Very handy.

              1. I have a relatively large kitchen with lots of counter space. However, all that counter space gets covered in cookbooks, newspaper, small appliances, jars, snacks, pots, plates, toys, socks... It's very messy but it's organized mess. That means, I don't want to move anything. Instead of clearing the counter space, I would end up just using the floor or I would pull over a stool/chair and work on that. One day I'm sure to hit a breaking point where I would remove everything from the countertop with one swipe of the arm. One day.

                1. Sounds like I have slighty more counter space than you, but I still find that a pull out cutting board comes in handy for more than just cutting bread.


                    1. I've lived in a mid-1960's home for many years. The location is great, the house has a lot of good points, but the original kitchen was terrible. As in your house, I had to lay my baking on the stovetop to cool. In our very first remodeling project, I had a window converted to a pass-through with a top wide enough to hold a baking sheet. Then I got a wooden bread board just the right size to cover it, which gives me a nice heat resistant surface. I had been using a similar bread board (different size) across the sink or stovetop before.

                      FYI, I have 3 feet of counter space on each side of the sink, 2 feet of counter space between the refrigerator and the stove, and 1 foot of counter space between the stove and the wall with the pass-through. It's a galley kitchen, built for the days when cooking was a one-person endeavor. (Been remodeled, but the basic layout has not changed.)

                      1. My son had a very similar situation, right angle, all the counters and fixtures on two wall runs, then open floor. It had enough, almost ample, floor space, but not a single counter run longer than 24 inches. His solution was to move his too-large-for-the-space existing dining table to the dining room, and bring in a new one, a drop-leaf model, that subbed as a great kitchen island.

                        With the leaves down it was about 2'x4', a very usable island size. With the leaves up, there was enough room for the boys to gather for homework. Large locking wheels kept it in place, whether against the wall to keep the room open during the day, partway out to make room for all the boys or pulled over near the cooking area for food prep.

                        It added a big work area, but didn't overpower the open room the way his regular dining table had. It looked a little like this Ikea hack, but with leaves on either side:


                        And of course, his wasn't a hack, but purpose built as is.