Friday, January 10, 2014

The Rinse Sink

Learning to live small small was a bit of an adjustment for us when we first arrived.  We had been living in a three bedroom single family home, and a two bedroom apartment with a large kitchen before that.  Cooking in the small kitchen means a hard and fast "one cook at a time" rule is always in effect.  Using a small fridge means adjusting the shopping schedule to account for less cold storage.  We've noticed refrigerated foods here have shorter shelf lives, anyway.  No dishwasher means sink washing dishes every day, which isn't a big inconvenience, but must always be planned for.

One small change that makes a big difference in the routine (and the efficiency) is the small rinse sink.

Wash and Rinse Sink
Wash and Rinse Sink
We've already commented on the some of the energy and space saving innovations used here, but we've yet to mention this water (and counter space) saving development.  Think about it, rinsing dishes takes less water and volume than washing dishes, especially if they were washed thoroughly.  Using a smaller (and shallower) sink for rinsing makes a lot of sense.  The small sink is especially handy for our European equipment because kitchen tools like cutting boards, spatulas, ladles, knives, and others seem to be a bit smaller than their American counterparts.  

Extreme Rise Sink Closeup!
Extreme Rise Sink Closeup!
The sink setup not only saves water with each use, it also continually saves precious counter space.  In the photo, the whole sink setup is seen with the wash sink, rinse sink, and drip drying surface.  When sink washing dishes is an everyday routine, a good system (with a hands-off drying rack) is important.  The reduced counter space taken by the whole setup allows the cook (or dishwasher) easy access in the narrow kitchen while freeing up corner space for the hot water kettle or additional prep space.

Of course, the small sink can't completely submerge everything in the kitchen.  Our large roasting rack and pan has to be carefully rinsed with the faucet head, and cutting boards have to be rinsed using the "dip and splash" method.  These minor setbacks, like everything, have been something to learn to live with and plan for.

I'm glad we are getting a chance to live small (as we would say in suburban Iowa - here, it's just called living) because it gives us the the chance to appreciate some of the luxuries we had (and hopefully will have again) while realizing that life can go on without them.  If we were philosophical bloggers, we could venture into expanding that metaphor into all of the American/European/Suburban/Urban/House/Apartment differences we've experienced here.

...but we're not. Whew!

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