When you sit back and think about all the things you’d love in a kitchen, what comes to mind? Natural lighting, tons of space, an Instagram-worthy pantry, never-ending countertops…the list probably goes on. And while it’s fun to daydream about what you could have, we want to shift the focus to what you do have and how to help it reach its potential. That’s why we asked four food-centric women to share what they love about their own kitchens. Here’s what they had to say.
6 Secrets We Learned from Real Women Who Love Their Kitchens
1. They Don’t Scrimp On Workspace
“My kitchen is long and skinny, with just three square feet of built-in counter space. That certainly wasn’t going to work, as I spend all day in my kitchen testing recipes and often more than one at a time. The best investment I made was a stainless-steel prep table, the kind you’d find in a restaurant kitchen. They come in lots of lengths and widths, so I was able to buy what feels like a custom-size freestanding countertop that runs the length of the room for just about $150 from an online restaurant wholesaler. It has more than tripled the amount of space I have to work with, it has a sturdy shelf for added storage, it doesn’t stain, it can withstand hot pans and I can take it with me when it’s time to move on to a new apartment. One more thing to love: The wholesaler shipped it right to my door.” —Caroline Lange, recipe tester and food stylist
2. They Fill It With Good Ingredients
“Keeping my fridge stocked with fresh, healthy, high-quality ingredients is half the battle of eating well. I work out of my house most days of the week, so being able to open the fridge and have delicious, wholesome foods prepared and ready to go really makes it easy to opt for something healthy for my body and mind.
“One of my favorite ingredients I always have in the house are Happy Egg Free Range Blue & Brown Heritage Breed Eggs. These premium eggs elevate any recipe with a difference you can see and taste, giving you farmer’s market quality in your kitchen. Plus, they come from hens that roam free on more than eight acres of pasture, something that’s important to me considering most eggs at the grocery store come from hens that never go outside. They are the best-tasting eggs I have ever eaten, and I use them in so many different ways.
“I like to serve them sunny-side up on top of my go-to rustic kale salad. These eggs have true blue and chocolaty brown speckled shells and a rich amber yolk that adds a decadent and delicious layer of flavor to my salad that is to die for. Plus, I find the boost of protein and healthy fats from the egg keep me satisfied for hours.” —Dani Spies, ambassador of the Happy Egg Co® and founder of the health and wellness blog Clean & Delicious
3. They’re Creative With Storage
“Some people may call my kitchen cluttered, but I adore it, and everything has a place. Living in small rental kitchens challenged my spacious Midwestern storage sensibilities, and I was forced to think creatively about utilizing the space I had each time I moved. I focus on maximizing unused areas—like the hooks I screwed into the base of my cabinets where I hang my mixer attachments, or the utensil crocks that I nudge into the corners of my countertops. I also learned that you can never have too many small bins or other containers that help to keep my valuable cabinet space more organized. It may be stuffed to the brim, but I’m never happier than when I’m baking there.” —Erin McDowell, recipe developer, food stylist and author of The Fearless Baker
4. They Keep Everything Visible
“I couldn’t live without storing all of my dry ingredients in mason jars. I can find what I am looking for at a glance and can always see what needs replenishing. No more searching for that half-empty bag of cinnamon. Instead, I just jar it up and even toss a label on it. Try it for yourself. You will thank me later.” —Katie Wayne, food stylist and recipe developer
5. They Make It Inviting
“The breakfast nook in my kitchen is our family’s happy place. When we first bought our house ten years ago, we replaced a pantry, a cedar closet and a mud room with one open space, then put in five windows and a skylight that floods that corner with light. I channeled our favorite New York City cafés and the old-world texture from visits to Europe to create a little breakfast banquette where we eat all our meals as a family. It’s also where I pull out my laptop and work, quietly, in the sun, while my kids are at school. We’ve shot most of my books and almost all the images you see on my Instagram in this very corner, because it’s where I’m most inspired to create.” —Sarah Copeland, author of Every Day Is Saturday, Feast and The Newlywed Cookbook
6. They Put Their Most-used Items Within Reach
“I like to do my prep work on a big cutting board that I keep right in the center of my kitchen island. Under my cutting board is my beloved knife drawer. It holds and organizes all of my favorite knives, so whenever I am at my cutting board ready to work, I simply pull open my drawer and have my most used (and loved) kitchen tools on hand, ready to go. I love how one simple, strategic drawer can make my kitchen space so much easier to navigate.” —Dani Spies, ambassador of the Happy Egg Co® and founder of the health and wellness blog Clean & Delicious