I Had No Kitchen for One Year: These 6 Products Helped Feed My Family

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When my husband and I did a big renovation on our kitchen, dining room, and living room, we essentially closed off half of our house and lived in our bedrooms and a small family room for almost a year. As a family of four, it was close quarters, especially since we also used the family room as our makeshift kitchen. With our refrigerator standing in our entryway greeting us aggressively as we walked through the door ("Hello! Hungry? Thirsty?"), we set up a few cooking essentials on a couple of card tables. Here's what helped us to have meals at home without a traditional kitchen.


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An electric hot plate was the hero of our cobbled kitchen. Teamed up with a couple pots and pans, you can make many of your favorite items: pasta, rice, oatmeal, grilled cheese, and scrambled eggs.

With no oven available, a microwave is a must. I admit that we ate our fair share of frozen meals because it was so easy to pop them into the microwave — and this way, there isn't as much washing. (More on washing below.)

I recommended this coffee machine in my kitchen must-haves roundup, and I stick by it. However, if you want to keep things simple (perhaps due to space or you're still figuring out which fancy coffee machine you want to make a long-term commitment to), get yourself a nice and simple dependable brewer. Your morning coffee is not to be messed with, even if you're without a kitchen.

You always have something to eat or drink when you have a blender. Think smoothies or smoothie bowls. (Or even soup, especially if you have the beloved Vitamix — those power blades can make hot soup in under 10 minutes!) If a Vitamix costs more than what you'd prefer to spend, buy a basic blender to fit your needs.


A toaster oven allows you to bake cookies, roast chicken breasts, heat frozen dinners, and, of course, make toast. It's your own mini oven. (In reality, you'll probably just use it for toast, but it's nice to have options.)

Admittedly, without a kitchen sink, dishes will be a bit of an issue. Where to wash them is the big question. For the basics, I recommend stocking up on disposable plates, utensils, and cups. (And make it eco-friendly.) When it comes to cleaning pots and pans, set up a small washing station wherever possible. You can pretend like you're camping and get a couple of tubs: fill one with soapy water for washing and one with water for rinsing. While it may not be the most ideal, it's totally doable.

As this is all distant memory to me now, I have fond feelings for how my family came together and made the most of makeshift kitchen. It may have been cramped, it may have been inconvenient, but we were still able to have our meals together — and for that I'm grateful.


Laurie Gunning Grossman, Hunker’s editorial director, caught the California boho minimalist bug. So, she bought a cream-colored couch. And she also lives with two kids and two dogs, so we’ll see how that decision pans out.

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