Joy the Baker

Ode To A Kitchen

March 3, 2014

in the kitchen

                                                                                                                             photo by Leela Cyd

I’ve never really told you much about my kitchen.  Strange considering most of the creations that appear on this blog originate in this little room.

My kitchen is small and humble.  White-walled.  At first glance you’d probably shrug your shoulders and think something between ‘meh’ and ‘well this would be charming if Joy would consider doing her dishes’.

When I tell you that I’ve created two cookbooks, hundreds of Joy the Baker blog posts, and cooked for catering events in this kitchen you’d probably want to pat me on the back and pour us both a shot of bourbon.  Sooo… yea.

The dishes pile up quickly.  The oven is small and earnest.  The refrigerator holds two bottles of ketchup and little else.  It’s hip, and really… it’s never encountered a cook like me.  Flour and butter everywhere!!

I’m leaving this little space soon and headed to New Orleans.  It’s always a bit of a brain-bend to leave the space where you’ve created so much.  There’s something sacred about those spaces.  I want to share it with you before we go.

ode to a kitchen1

On the main kitchen shelf are a few of my favorite everyday staples.  From left to right:  Homemade Bourbon Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Salt, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (from the Indian market because they have the best and cheapest spices), Jacobsen Salt Co, Pasolivo Lemon Olive Oil, Turbinado Sugar for coffee times, Apple Cider Vinegar, Grey Sea Salt (I’m a baker that really likes salt), my best friend Rachel’s tiny pepper grinder that I borrowed then stole, lastly garlic.

  ode to a kitchen

This stove owes me nothing.  It has baked, broiled, braised, roasted, and asked for nothing in return.  It has also burnt a lot of toast… like a lot.

This is one of those petite ovens that can’t accommodate standard sized baking pans.  Three years ago when I moved into this apartment I treated myself to three new, mini-sized baking sheets.  I’m down to one baking sheet that’s not blackened beyond recognition.  I’m nothing if not totally fancy.

ode to a kitchen

Next to the stove is the mixing station…. also know as the walls that have been splattered with tomato sauce from the stove and flour flying from the KitchenAid mixer.  Things get messy.

ode to a kitchen

Above the sink is this frosted window.  It’s best for starting off into space while the dish water gets warm.  It’s best for daydreaming while water for tea boils.  It’s best for growing plants in water.

My mom got me this Crabtree and Evelyn Hand Cream for Christmas and it’s smells light fancy grandmothers and feels like luxury.

ode to a kitchen

The coffee counter doubles as the cats jumping counter.  I have a No Cats On The Counter Policy at my house. Strictly enforced.  I happen to live with a furry land shark so…. he gets away with a lot.

Also you’re not a food blogger if you don’t have paper straws and little wooden ice cream spoons.

ode to a kitchen

ode to a kitchen

None of the food pictures on my blog came from my actual kitchen space.  The kitchen is just where all of the measuring and zesting happens.  This little corner of my living room has turned into my office and photo area. Just one cookbook and lots and lots of blog posts in this little corner spot.  These windows have been my lucky charms.

Also Jon who helped me hold up melting ice cream for my upcoming cookbook…. also a lucky charm.

ode to a kitchen

                                                                photo by Leela Cyd

It feels sad to say goodbye to this space.  Where there is an end there is a beginning, and I’m excited to see what creations emerge from my new kitchen space.  New light.  New sounds.  More doughnuts.  Lots of burnt toast.

I’m glad you and I could say goodbye to this little space together.

This week on the blog will be notes from a road trip.  You and I are saying goodbye to this kitchen, hitting the road, and then unpacking a new kitchen… except you don’t really have to unpack any thing at all.  I’m not one of those bloggers who makes advanced posts, invites guests bloggers, or has fancy contributors.  This blog is still just me as the one who makes cookies, takes pictures of them, does the dishes, writes silly words, and tries to answer emails.  It’s just regular.  Sometimes regular is driving across the country… so let’s just do that for a bit before we get back in the kitchen.

Here’s how!


133 Comments Add A Comment

  • Oh Joy, what a lovely post – your writing is so evocative! I never thought of the emotional attachment to your kitchen – but now I’m tearing up a little!
    Love your writing, love your blog. . . .love you :)

    ps. am lusting over your shirt/dress – looking good!

  • I admire your resourcefulness. I have always loved great things coming from humble places. I too am moving into my own small humble condo but I will have my own kitchen and plan to make good tasty food in it. Joy you are so aptly named because you bring joy with all you do. I pray your trip cross country is really fun and a great adventure and your next chapter of life in NOLA is full of God ‘s blessings. NOLA is blessed because you are there. Looking forward to seeing what life holds for you in your new kitchen!

  • I suspect your “small” oven and fridge are standards where I live.. my fridge is 23X23 inches, freezer included (it’s just along the other cabinets) and my oven is 23X18 inches..so I see your description and get very confused.
    I have admired your beautiful small kitchen from the first time I have seen it on AT or Kitchn, and I’m sad you leave it but also excited and a little scared for what comes. I mean, what if you’ll have one of these giant fridges that are taller than yourself, and a dishwasher?!? horrible.
    I would be so alienated :D

  • I find your kitchen simply and pretty as I like it. I really like the corner of windows, the light and the view….a warming atmosphere !

    I like in your post your vision : Where there is an end there is a beginning
    It’s so true and positive for a lot of situation ! I keep your sentence in my mind !

  • Dear joy, as you head off on this adventure I just want to say, my fiance thinks you’re hot. And not just because when he saw the cover of your book you were holding a delicious cake.
    I agreed and I told him I thought your cooking and your heart was pretty hot.

  • So I just wanted to tell you how an incredible inspiration you are for me.
    I’m still hitting this blog everyday (to be honest, maaaaany times a day) and it is the best concentration of words, comfort food and love I’ve ever seen. Thank you for everything, you inspire us and give us the strength to be courageous ourselves.
    Have a good trip, kisses from Italy

  • I am highly impressed with your resourcefulness. I have always loved the reality of great things coming from humble places. I am soon to move into my own small and humble condo but I will have my own kitchen and I plan to make beautiful and tasty things in it. Joy you are so aptly named! and I pray that your trip cross country is fun and your next chapter in NOLA is the continuation of God’s blessings on your life.

  • I totally understand your feelings about leaving your house. Moving is bittersweet, buuuut…I am so excited (in a totally non-creepy way) for your move to NOLA. Good luck!!

  • Joy! A thousand congratulations for everything you achieved in this beautiful kitchen and home! And so many wishes for a not tooooo stressful roadtrip. I hope you ease into your new home and good luck on the next chapter!X

  • Hi Joy – thank you for sharing your charming kitchen. I’ve moved many times in my life and my most cherished kitchen has been a tiny, galley, unfitted kitchen with a gas oven and a huge window from which I produced the most delicious food when I first started to cook properly. Wishing you all the best in the next leg of your life journey and looking forward to reading all about it. Don’t wait so long to share the next kitchen with us though! Selma x

  • Loved this post. I too have a humble kitchen and have had small kitchens in the last 3 houses I’ve lived in. I pine for counter space and more power points but sometimes I get a sense of achievement in creating something spectacular with some really harsh limitations. Limitations that I wouldn’t have in a top of the range, sprawling kitchen.

    I can’t wait to see your new kitchen and I hope you come to love it.

  • Wow. This is so bittersweet. I’m really glad you shared your kitchen with us before you leave it forever. It’s so weird to realize that the first time we’re seeing the whole thing (not just a shelf or two) will also be the last. I wish you amazing light in your new place! Crossing my fingers for you.

  • Joy I am can feel the bittersweetness in this post, but I know that NOLA will be amazing for you and I am so excited. Over the summer I moved, and while it was only 1 mile, leaving a kitchen where I too had written 2 cookbooks and 2.5 years of blog posts was very bittersweet…but my new kitchen has way better lighting :) I cannot wait to see everything you make in your new kitchen & wish you the best this week as you’re traveling!

  • good luck joy! i’m a little sad you’re leaving this kitchen too now – it seems so empty in your iPhone shots! thank you again for having me over so i could see it in person – hopefully i’ll be in new orleans at some stage. enjoy the road trip! xx

  • hi joy, i have been following your blog for a looong time and i can feel your sadness abt leaving your house and also your excitement for nola. i wish you all the best and lots of love from singapore.

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