What is the best gift for a kitchen remodel
December 6, 2012 4:57 PM   Subscribe

We're getting a kitchen renovation. What are your best coping items?

So I'm not really asking for me, I'm pretty much set. But for Christmas I'd like to give my mother something nice to help us all through the "trying" time of having our kitchen destroyed for six weeks. Any ideas?
posted by boobjob to Shopping (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When mine was dismantled, I basically made do in cooking with a crockpot, and a panini grill. Between those two items, we were able to eat pretty well while packing up 90% of the rest of the appliances and such.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 5:00 PM on December 6, 2012

Toaster oven, microwave and electric kettle. Plus a mini fridge.
posted by fshgrl at 5:12 PM on December 6, 2012

Maybe as a bonus treat, some reservations or home made "vouchers" for a nice local restaurant would be a welcome break from kitchenless cooking.
posted by lucidium at 5:21 PM on December 6, 2012

We re-purposed another room. The contractor's crew put down protective flooring in the dining room and moved the refrigerator there. Together with a microwave, coffeepot and minimal plates/utensils on some appropriate shelving that the crew set up, and a table pad on the dining room table for protection from unexpectedly hot items, we did very well. This also allowed midnight snackers and early risers not to have to traipse to the garage which was the contractor's other suggested site for this set up. I think they first checked the dining room wiring to make sure it could handle the load.
posted by beaning at 5:25 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agree with repurposing another room. We did exactly the same with two borrowed dorm fridges, toaster, microwave, and electric skillet. The biggest issue was washing dishes, carrying them to the basement utility sink which wasn't an ideal solution. PS - I only cried once!
posted by raisingsand at 5:33 PM on December 6, 2012

Response by poster: We live in LA so were pretty much repurposing the patio as the kitchen, any tips regarding that would also be appreciated
posted by boobjob at 6:08 PM on December 6, 2012

Best answer: agh! do not put appliances outdoors! a neighbor down the street (also in L.A.) set themselves up an outdoor kitchen and the refrigerator shorted out and burned down a couple of trees and part of their house and much of their fence. It's been really foggy and damp lately and that condensation is more than enough to wreak havoc with the electrics. Be careful!

Gift certificates to some local restaurants would make a great practical gift, too.
"Fancy" paper plates and cutlery? Swanky paper napkins?
posted by sexyrobot at 6:53 PM on December 6, 2012

As gifts to see her through this, I'd recommend buying an panini grill etc, only if she doesn't already have one and is sure to use it-this is a bad time to bring in new items since the usual tools to backup her use of them may be packed away (hot pads, stove utensils, etc). If she likes to cook and would miss doing it for 6 wks (hopefully not longer), could you locate/arrange for a kitchen she could use for weekend cooking? A friend borrowed a neighbor's kitchen every Saturday, baking desserts and cooking soups/casseroles that could be reheated in her microwave/toaster oven -provided her own groceries and shared with a bit with them of course. Otherwise restaurant certs, quality/quantity of disposable cutlery, gifts of bringing home deli take out/salads, quality cheeses/breads/fruits, etc. Doing dishes with a smile at least once.

What are the plans for Christmas or New Year dinner?
posted by beaning at 7:10 PM on December 6, 2012

Best answer: Electric kettle was crucial - it's amazing how many things hot water was useful for.
Also a dish-washing setup in the bathroom; fortunately we'd done our bathroom remodel first, so we had a decent-sized countertop in the bathroom to work on.
posted by aimedwander at 7:42 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: No big dinners or parties planned for the holidays, just looking for subsistence kinds of things/activities.
posted by boobjob at 9:10 PM on December 6, 2012

These ideas may not qualify as "nice" presents, but living in a construction site is about dealing with dirt, dust, and noise. For instance, a dust-buster or flat mop helps clean up. Hand salve helps when drywall dust dries out your hands. Noise stopping headphones will help her if she has to be at home during the day.
posted by slidell at 11:46 PM on December 6, 2012

I camped for several months with just a two burner portable gas stove and a good quality coolbox, which I refilled with ice.

For the two burner, I had three things: a cheap wok-style frying pan; a saucepan; a small toast rack I could fit onto the burner. We also had a general purpose serving bowl, and the usual cutlery and crockery (although plastic, in our case). We boiled water on the stove, but it's reasonable if you have them to just use an electric kettle. Similarly, it's not hard to find a place for a microwave and your fridge.

Seriously, with these things you can pretty much do what you need on the top of your stove. Casseroles, curries, stir fries, pasta, small cuts of meat, fried fish. You could get an electric skillet. Or a remoska (which should be available in the US) - a small electric oven that has a devoted fan base for its cooking abilities, simplicity and efficiency.

You can add a gas BBQ to this list, especially if the weather remains mild in LA. If you have one with a lid, get a pizza stone and you can make bread or cook pizzas, or you can just use it to oven roast pieces of meat or vegetables. I'd put a good Weber gas BBQ high up on my wish list.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:10 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the UK, Ikea will loan you a 'mini kitchen' that has everything you need in a single unit : you just have to get your contractors to plumb it in with some temporary pipes. It comes with a sink, fridge, electric kettle and electric hob IIRC. I imagine someone will have something similar in LA?
posted by pharm at 1:36 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Some pretty vinyl table cloths and drop cloths for wherever you're going to be setting up your temporary kitchen. You WILL spill something when you have your microwave, coffeepot, and crockpot set up in your living room. I know this from personal experience.
posted by checkitnice at 3:43 AM on December 7, 2012

Gas BBQ sure came in handy for my aunt/uncle's place while they were remodeling their kitchen over the course of a few months. If that's even feasible, I would consider it.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:02 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

We made it a point to use disposable plates/cups/forks etc. all the time.

We had school-age kids, so we made one box containing all their lunch supplies: peanut butter, jelly, knives, bread, ziploc sandwich bags, granola bars, chips, cookies, etc. and kept it all in one easy place.

We only had access to the fridge and a microwave, and we had to survive both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We discovered that all those "complete thanksgiving dinners" that are advertised at the deli/grocery are not served hot. You still have to heat them up and/or cook some items. We found it much easier at Christmas to get a spiral-sliced ham and heat up a dozen slices at a time. Plus, with ham you can serve cole slaw and potato salad which don't need to be cooked. Stovetop stuffing is just hot water with butter melted in it, similar to instant oatmeal.

We also discovered entire sections of the grocery store that had pre-fab meals that only need to be heated. Not always the best flavor, but we got tired of sandwiches and fast food, so cryo-paks of stew or barbecue worked out sometimes.
posted by CathyG at 10:11 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

What about a neat framed thing saying "Coming Soon" with a picture of the kitchen to come (whatever you've got from your plans, renderings, etc.)? You could hang it in the door to the kitchen or wherever is blocked off. It could communicate to visitors in the near term and potentially be memorabilia in the longer term. You could play with this theme, if you're good with Photoshop (or paper and scissors).
posted by slidell at 5:55 PM on December 7, 2012

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