Trevor Gordon and his wife Maddie may have once lived in an actual house, one that doesn’t sail or drive, but that’s long in the past now. They live on a 36-foot sailboat docked in Santa Barbara, California, which sounds glamorous, sure, but it’s still a tiny space with a shared bathroom that’s on a dockside and nowhere to wash clothes, and a kitchen that’s barely big enough for two elbows, let alone four. If they’re not in their boat, they’re in the mountains, living in their 1970 cab-over camper perched on a ’97 Ford F-250. With an even smaller kitchen area. So they know their way around tiny kitchens, especially one prone to move.
Trevor and Maddie teamed up with their friend Mary Gonzalez, who lives and bakes in a thirty-foot travel trailer in the hills nearby to write and photograph the book, The Tiny Mess. If, like them, you regularly put together meals in any kind of small kitchen, from a boat galley to a tiny home, to a trailer, you are going to want to check this book out.
It’s full of recipes and stories from adventurous, curious, intuitive, and versatile cooks. Functional cooking. Simple but thoughtful cooking. The best kind of cooking, in cramped spaces. There’s even a dude who makes tidy meals of sushi in his van. Dozens of recipes that can be made pretty much anywhere fill the pages, as do lovely photographs that inspire the urges to cook, travel, and Marie Kondo your living situation to the basics. There are tips about the best kinds of kitchen gadgets in small spaces, and advice about how to make things work in a space-challenged environment. Patience, typically, is the suggestion.
“Our pantries are filled with food, not appliances,” they write. “Our cupboards are full of spices and sketchy condiments that most everyone else refrigerates. Our fridges might technically be coolers, but they are packed exclusively with perishables because that’s all we have room for. Our counters are stained with stories of meals gone by and roads long since traveled.”
Here are some stills from The Tiny Mess’ Instagram account, for more travel/cooking inspo.
Pick up a copy of The Tiny Mess, here.