Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Expanding the Kitchen

I've heard a rumor that the more gadgets you have in your kitchen the better cook you are. (OK, maybe I started that rumor, but we'd all like better eatin', wouldn't we? And wouldn't it be great if all we had to do to improve our chefdidness was buy more crap!!)

Anyway, around the house we cook 95% of our meat on the grill as well as roast vegies and toast bread. In order to carry on that tradition when I'm on the road I've been looking for a small portable propane grill that I can add to The Van. Something functional yet reasonably stow-able since - well - being the size of a standard American bathroom, The Van has a limited amount of stowage space.

I'm a believer in good old-fashioned, nearly indestructible cast iron, but I finally had to admit the venerable material doesn't seem to have very many advocates anymore, certainly not enough to set the manufactures of things like this all a-twitter, and after a few years of optimistic (OK, maybe stubborn.) searching, I finally gave up and settled for something with an enameled steel grill instead, probably my least favorite grill material but at least it came in a package that seems like it will work. (I'll hold off on any sort of review until I've given the new grill a sufficient workout.)

Combined with my stove and cast iron dutch oven (The real kind, designed to work with coals as well as on the stove-top, with lipped lid and legs .) I think I have most of the grilling/heating/baking bases covered now.

Now, . . as for storing the thing. . .

There is plenty of height in the cupboard where the stove and it's fuel live so I suppose I could have saved myself a little work and just set the new grill on top of the stove. They actually nested together pretty well as long as the grill was on top. (The other way around the the stack was pretty unstable.)

But I'm basically a pretty lazy person and regularly unstacking and stacking items used frequently is not my definition of fun, or even acceptable.

So naturally there was a project there.

After a bit of figuring and measuring I cut some bits from scrap I had laying around the shop, including some decent quarter-inch ply for the main parts.
Then puzzled all the pieces together with glue and some pins and gave the assembly a semi-gloss finish that will match the inside of the cupboard and clean fairly well with a simple wipe of a damp rag.  

Then I added a bit of shelf liner to keep the stove from sliding around as I drive and hung the new shelf in place.    This leaves the original shelf for the new grill, while the stove nestles nicely into the new shelf.
This view, through the drop-down door on the other side of the cupboard, accessible when The Van's sliding door is open, gives a better idea of how I mounted the new shelf. As you can see, it still leaves space over on the left for the propane bottles, and after all, what good are either the stove or the grill without the propane??

So there it is, both the grill and the stove have their own dedicated space and I don't have to do any stacking or unstacking in order to create my culinary masterpieces. (OK, you can stop laughing now. It's just that I've also heard a rumor that positive thinking creates positive results and I need all the help I can get en la cocina!!)

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