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How to Make Great Meals in a Small Kitchen

Arthur Schwartz, author of Cooking in a Small Kitchen, reimagines the beauty and endless possibilities inside a small, cramped space.

By
Lei Anne Rabeje,
June 6, 2018
Episode #202

After a long day at work, it’s tough to come home to a small kitchen and feel inspired to be the next Master Chef. And with services like GrubHub, Seamless, and UberEats, it’s easy to replace the classic home-cooked meal with cartons of take-out food and pizza boxes. But Arthur Schwartz’s Cooking in a Small Kitchen brings back that spark to home cooking–even inside a cramped New York City apartment.

Cooking in a Small Kitchen was first published in 1979 when Schwartz was still an assistant food editor at Long Island Newsday. At the time, all he had in his kitchen were some pots and pans, a portable dishwasher, and a small counter space. In that small, cramped kitchen, Schwartz successfully launched his career in the food world, as a restaurant critic, author, teacher, executive food editor, and, most importantly, a cook.

Since then, Schwartz has moved around and built his own kitchen, but nothing beats his experience in the small kitchen–and 40 years later, he’s back to the same 10-by-10 feet space he started with.

“Now that I’m 40 years older, I really appreciate a small kitchen because you don’t have to walk a lot, you just stand in one place and everything is there,” said Schwartz. “After having an enormous kitchen at one point in my life, I’m back to having a small kitchen.”

It doesn’t require a lot of tools to become a successful home cook–and, according to Schwartz, all you need is a black iron skillet, a wooden spoon, and a spatula. With these three tools, and with Cooking in a Small Kitchen by your side, anyone is bound to become a successful home chef.

Tune in to the second episode of our three-part series on Cookstr Classics to listen to Schwartz’s recollections as he began his career in the culinary world and hear his advice on cooking with limited space and tools.

Picador Cookstr Classics is a series collaboration between Cookstr and Picador. It brings to the forefront some of the beloved cookbooks that many of us have grown up with in the last few decades and preserves a piece of history in the culinary world. If you enjoyed Arthur’s stories, check out Cooking in a Small Kitchen for more insight into his culinary journey in a cramped space.