Monday 22 May 2017

7 Family Kitchen Essentials

‘Family kitchen’ is just a polite way of saying ‘messy kitchen’, or is it in my house, anyway. There are always letters from school cluttering up the side, abandoned hair bobbles and clips (the few that actually return home) on the breakfast bar and dirty cups and plates that have been dumped on the worktop. It is a lived in kitchen. Like, really lived in. Sometimes, it’s clean and sparkly and lovely but most of the time, it’s lived in. I thought I would write a post sharing some of the things I consider to be family kitchen essentials. They’re the things I think make life easier or prettier in a family kitchen. I’ve left out the obvious like wooden wine racks to store All The Wine you need to devour at bedtime.

1. A stool
This is, without doubt, the best investment we have made. I think the stool we bought was about a tenner from Ikea and it has paid for itself in lie-ins and laziness ever since. Ebony has been able to go downstairs in a morning and get herself a yoghurt out of the fridge or a piece of fruit from the fruitbowl since she turned three. When Ebony was a toddler, the stool gave her some sought after independence and now it allows me some much-needed sleep.

2. Washable paint
Why do toddlers smear pasta handprints on every damn wall? I don’t know the answer to that but what I do know is that washable paint changed my life. The pasta washes right off! And the beetroot. And the tea (the tea is Laurie’s, I don’t give small children tea). Washable paint is the future. Trust me.

3. Recycling tubs
I’m a big believer in teaching kids how to look after the planet, it helps to alleviate some of the guilt I feel for overpopulating the damn thing in the first place. I took Ebony to the Museum of Science and Industry over the school holidays and we went to a little exhibition about recycling. She was fascinated by it and really enjoyed learning about what happens to the things we recycle. We have boxes for recycling in the utility room and a food compost tub in the kitchen so that Ebony can recycle things by herself. She can work out what goes where and do it herself.

4. A breakfast bar
We live in an old terraced house so we don’t have a big kitchen diner (though I wish we did). We put a breakfast bar in when we did the kitchen two years ago and I love it. In all honesty, I’d rather have a huge dining table we could spread homework books out on and sit around as a family (we do have one of these, just not in the kitchen), but a breakfast bar is better than nothing. It’s somewhere Ebony can sit and chat to me while I’m cooking, somewhere she can eat her dinner whilst I’m tidying up and somewhere we can sit and grab breakfast in the morning. It makes the kitchen feel more sociable and I think it works in a family space.

5. Recipe books
We have two shelves full of vegan recipe books in our kitchen. I love cookbooks. I love trying out new recipes and sampling new foods. I can remember baking and cooking with my dad in the kitchen when I was little, heaving the huge old cookbook out of the cupboard and then using the scales to measure out the ingredients. I want Ebony to have memories like that, too. Ruby Roth’s cookbook is one of our favourites, it’s designed with kids in mind and Ebony loves it (buy it here).

6. A child-friendly knife
This was on my list of things to buy for Ebony, but I never managed it. Now she’s old enough to use a kitchen knife so it’s not such a big deal, but I wish we’d bought a child one sooner so she could gain confidence in the kitchen. You can buy one here for £11.99. I will definitely be getting one for Ember when she’s a little older. I really want to teach the kids to cook so they know their way around the kitchen as teenagers. I didn’t really learn to cook until I went vegan so I want to make sure they can feed the selves properly.

7. An art gallery
When I was growing up, my masterpieces were proudly fixed to the fridge with magnets. Now, my parents sellotape them to the kitchen cupboards (Ebony’s masterpieces, that is). Our fridge is hidden in a cupboard so there’s nowhere to display the endless sheets of crap Ebony brings home, but I’d love to create a little art display area for her work. I think a big frame filled with artwork would look great and it’s on my list of things to buy for the kitchen. We’d be able to change the artwork on display (not that we’d ever get round to it) which would be particularly lovely.

This is a collaborative post.

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