Fresh and Local : The Urban Kitchen

By Penny & Ed Cherubino

September is a time when many people move into Boston. For some it will be their first experience with an urban kitchen. If you are fortunate enough to have a large kitchen and pantry, you may not have storage and space issues, but you will almost certainly have some lifestyle changes to make.

When we sold our suburban home and moved into our Boston pied-à-terre full time, we went from a very large eat-in kitchen in a single family home to a tiny kitchen in a large condo building. We had to both downsize and change the ways we approached buying, storing, and making food. 

Pest Control

Pest control is a fact of life in cities. While you can’t control what your neighbors do, you can make your own food storage rodent-proof by using glass and metal containers for your pantry items.

We’ve solved two food storage issues by lining a hallway wall with shelves that we filled with glass jars of staples, spices, cereals, and snacks. This ensures the items are not attracting mice and frees up space in our kitchen cupboards for canned goods and cooking gear.

Pet food should also be stored in rodent-proof containers. Leaving pet food and treats accessible is not a good idea in an urban home. Litter boxes should be cleaned out each evening since rodents are more active in the overnight hours. 

You can schedule a peremptory consultation with an exterminator and have them seal around pipes, scout out other access points, and make specific recommendations for your home. Your building may already have a company under contract to do this work and might be able to provide this service as a part of that contract. Check with your management team.

Every Last Crumb

Urban living also means cleaning up after your sloppy eaters both two foot and four foot. We had one dog who loved to hide her dog biscuits under sofa cushions. We learned to check her hiding spots daily to be sure we didn’t have that little terrier telling us we had a mouse in the house.

After each cooking session and after eating, we sweep all the counters and the floor to be sure nothing is left behind. Get in the habit of scanning your rooms before retiring for the evening to be sure no one has left food out.

Shopping More Often

We don’t have a car, so we shop almost every day. Even if you do have a car, you might want to do fewer large grocery shopping trips if they mean carrying load-after-load from the nearest parking space and up flights of stairs.

Once you attune your routine to many smaller shopping trips, you’ll find you may be spending less money and you will certainly waste less food. Daily shopping means you pick up what you need for the next day or so.

It makes you more likely to check what you have on hand, so you don’t have to carry more than you need. In doing that, you can plan to use up what’s already in your refrigerator and buy only what you need to fill out upcoming meals.

You may also find yourself shopping at more small local businesses, farmers markets, and having food delivered via local services. All of this is good for our community and will also help you become a welcome part of your new neighborhood.

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