Big Girls Small Kitchen is a food website for cooks looking for accessible, affordable ways to navigate their small kitchens. It’s written, edited, and photographed by me–Cara Eisenpress.
Not long after Thanksgiving in 2008, my co-founder and old friend Phoebe Lapine and I took stock of our surroundings. We were living in New York City, working entry-level jobs, and making time to hang out with college and high school friends almost every night of the week. In spite of a new career and a decent social life, all we wanted to do was cook. My terrible and tiny kitchen, which I shared with two roommates, was making this hard. I spilled bags of lentils almost daily, found myself clueless at how to entertain friends in such a limited space, and wasted money by buying ingredients at the grocery store that later went bad in the fridge.
There had to be a better way, not just to cook in a small kitchen but to embark on a twenty-something city adventure that also embraced homemade food. And, as I experimented with ingredients, recipes, and techniques, I began to discover how healthful breakfasts could co-exist with raucous dinners out and how great parties could transpire from small budgets. I made and ate a gazillion grilled cheeses. I threw dinners for friends. I catered. I brought in sweets to work. And since the fall of 2008, I documented the meals and the lessons right here on Big Girls Small Kitchen.
Because here’s the thing I found out: to make really good food you don’t need a lot of space. You don’t need a lot of contraptions, and you don’t need a vast marble countertop. You need some pots and some pans, a couple cutting boards, two sharp knives, a decent amount of patience, and the desire to eat well of your own accord.
I hope that the guides, recipes, menus, instagram images, and newsletter you’ll find here will show you how to make the most of your small kitchen, your grocery store, and your culinary imagination, because you really should cook! Maybe even start right now with these 11 easy dinners or these 9 recipes you might as well master.
The Book, In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World distills the BGSK worldview into a beautiful, bright pink book published by William Morrow in May 2011. Grab a copy!
I love to cook. I love homemade breakfasts, perfectly packed brown bag lunches, and deeply flavorful dinners shared with family and friends. I owe that to growing up in a family that also loves to cook. In a kitchen not too far from where I live now, we scrambled eggs, added yeast to flour for homemade pizza dough, and baked cookies for our classmates. In college, I missed having a kitchen so much I talked my way into a series of campus jobs that let me escape the dining hall and find refuge by the stove.
Today, grocery shopping and onion chopping reliably make me smile. My Brooklyn kitchen still isn’t large, but it’s always the place I want to be. I cook pesto pasta, chicken fritz, vegetable soup, and curry for myself and my husband, Alex. Secretly though, I could probably subsist on French fries.
I’ve written for publications beyond BGSK, including Bon Appétit, First We Feast, Tasting Table, Serious Eats, and Gastronomica, and I used to edit articles and produce videos at Blue Apron. You can hear a recent radio interview with me on WFUV and watch me cook one of my favorite stews in this video.
Please email me to ask before you repost any content or images from Big Girls, Small Kitchen. I tend to be happy to share, but I like to see where my content is going. Plus, I love to hear from you!