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Adding Work Space in a Pinch

Fine Cooking Issue 46
Drawings: Heather Lambert
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Whether you’re rolling out pie crust, making pasta dough from scratch, cooking for a crowd, or sharing the kitchen with a friend, there’s often a moment when you need one more work area than you’ve got. At times like that, slideout surfaces can be your salvation.

Under-the-counter cutting boards aren’t a new idea, but the versions shown here take the concept a step further. These are truly useful counter extensions, acting as pinch-hitting surfaces for chopping, stirring, kneading, or rolling. Two tips to keep in mind: Choose a thick, solid material, and the right hardware and design to support it.

Full-extension, heavy-duty drawer slides will help keep this thick butcher-block stable and give the maximum amount of surface for chopping.

A marble pastry board glides in and out with ease in Fran Gage’s San Francisco kitchen. A top drawer with its sides cut down (as shown in the cutaway) and heavy-duty, full-extension drawer slides support the marble. “I use it for rolling out pastry dough, tempering chocolate, and pouring out hot syrups to make candy,” says Fran, a pastry chef and author.

A pull-out surface can become a floating island, allowing you to work where it’s most convenient. This example is modeled after a base pull-out cart made by Wood-Mode Cabinetry. The pull-out could also-double as a cart for shuttling food and plates to the table.

To find out more about Wood-Mode’s base pull out cart, visit one of its showrooms.  A listing can be found on its Web site, wood-mode.com, or by writing to the company: Wood-Mode Inc., 1 Second St., Kreamer, PA 17833

A counter below the counter

When Lesley Degner of Winnipeg, Manitoba, redesigned her kitchen, she asked her architect for at least one lower surface (she’s 5 feet, 3 inches tall). He came up with a 30-inch-high, extendable, solid surface board that slides into a standard 36-inch high peninsula just below the top drawers. Fully extended, the board provides 3 feet of extra counter space (several more feet remain inside the peninsula to allow the board to cantilever), which Lesley uses to make her own pasta or as a buffet area for parties. Even when pushed all the way in, the board still protrudes about 4 inches, “making it the perfect place to open wine bottles,” Lesley says.


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