Co-op Inspiration

Last weekend, I got to spend another delightful evening at our friends' co-op (the same one that inspired our Pantry Makeover). Although I didn't get a photo of the inspiring bulk storage section (mostly because it was on the empty side since it was right before re-stocking day), I did get a few kitchen organization ideas from their space, and I also got to eat some delicious food in the company of some of Madison's finest.

Here is their spice arrangement. Although it may be hard to tell from this photo, this wooden shelf extends from the ceiling and hangs down over a wooden island in the middle of the kitchen, where much of the prep work goes on. There's space on the top of the shelf for one level of spices, neatly labeled, and then there's a second level that hangs down from the shelf. The spices on that second level are all in glass jars and they are so neatly suspended because their lids have been screwed into the bottom of the shelf. So, when you want to use a spice from the bottom level, you just unscrew the jar and voila! The lid stays screwed to the shelf, so you never lose the lids, and you have such a handy storage option. Ingenious, eh?

I was also struck by the simplicity of their dish-washing arrangement. This works particularly well for the group living style of the co-op, but surely some element of this could be worked into our own homes? You see, the dish racks ARE the dish shelves. They are one and the same! That means you never really have to put away the dishes, because once they're put up to dry, they've already been put away. So simple, yet so clever.  Both the dish and the cup shelves/racks are within arm's reach of the sink, so it's all in close and convenient proximity.

Besides the cleverness of the kitchen set-up, the food at the co-op (especially when prepared by our friend KG!) is pretty unbeatable.  On this particular night, the menu included roasted tofu, collard greens with a garlic-chile-pepper vinegar, a cauliflower-kale-carrot saute, and some deliciously Indian-spiced mung beans with red cabbage, all served with rice.

The food came together beautifully:


  1. How do I get in on this co-op food? Yum!

  2. oooh, i love all these clever kitchen ideas... do we think they developed over time or are they the product of one singular genius?

  3. I prefer to imagine a singular, cooperative genius. so much more romantic.

  4. Like a hive consciousness? What, is this a communitarian romance? You Russian.

    Yeah, really good ideas. And great looking food.


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