This Global Kitchen | Day 8: UAE
Howdy, y’all! I’m Lauren, an American who used to live in a skyscraper in South Korea but currently lives in the desert of the United Arab Emirates with my husband, and dog, Laszlo. Welcome to my kitchen in the Middle East. It might feel like you’re underwater since the entire room is blue tile, top to bottom. Although I may be baking cornbread, don’t worry there are always chocolate-covered dates and hummus in the fridge. It’s the classic story of southern girl meets Middle East! Let’s get started on our tour shall we?
As you can see, it’s a good-sized room with counter space, plenty of cabinets and THREE DRAWERS!! They are the only drawers in our whole house. I never thought I’d be so grateful for drawers.
We love hosting, cooking and eating delicious meals and this kitchen has provided a perfect opportunity for all of those to happen.
As much as I wish I had an open kitchen, full of light and an herb garden, I will say this tile kitchen with the drain in the floor makes it SO EASY to clean!
The tea nook is my favorite place in this room. It's full of vintage tins I’ve collected over the years and every tea you can imagine from all over the world, plus all my favorite mugs from local artists we’ve met throughout our travels (and of course our office themed mugs!). The water isn't great for drinking here so we have these water jugs that produce instant hot and cold water and it is the greatest gift! I drink a lot of hot tea throughout the day thanks to that guy.
You may have noticed this beauty underneath. I know for a lot of people it is really strange, but this is not as odd to me to have the laundry machine in the kitchen as it is for others. In our first apartment in the USA, we had a stackable washer/dryer in our tiny kitchen, so it feels normal to me. Also! If I was ever in a laundry emergency in Italy I would be fluent! Just kidding, I only know that the bottom light means finished. I just let the rest go. The strangest thing about this washing machine is not that it washes AND dries, whilst taking 6 hours to do this, but that it doesn't have a lint filter. So every few washes we have to use pliers to remove a piece at the bottom and let the water all drain out. See how useful that drain in the floor is! I have no idea if the lint filter + this water draining are related but it’s my best guess. Again, you have to pick your battles and my clothes get clean so I don’t question it.
The rest of the kitchen is pretty standard. We have a dishwasher, stovetop + oven, sink, refrigerator. Our oven has a lid that closes so you get some extra counter space which is always useful!
Speaking of refrigerators! As much as we love our life overseas, we miss our friends and family back home SO VERY MUCH. So, having photos of them is a must and in bulk! If you mail us anything - it goes on the fridge (wink wink). These Instagram magnet squares make my heart burst with joy as they remind of us our travels and our people.
We added this Ikea shelf to hold our trash cans underneath and add a bit more counter space. I have tried desperately to offset the blue in here and these beautiful illustrations from my friend, Brandi, helped do just the trick. I love this area, it's beautiful, functional and holds all my cookbooks which I know most expats would see as frivolous because they are so heavy to ship but I NEED those paper pages to write notes on and cook from! Cooking is a big form of creativity for me so I prioritize things like useful, lifestyle books in our suitcases.
Before you go, want to peek inside our ‘pantry’? We chose two cabinets to dedicate as our pantry and this is ALL the food we have in the house (minus the fridge food). We try to keep as little as possible so we cut down on waste, space and things going bad since we travel so much. I'm a serious meal planner so we tend to only buy what we need for the week and end up using most everything and saving so much on groceries.
Thanks so much for hanging out in our kitchen. Laszlo and I would be so happy to host you anytime for a chocolate-covered date and ice tea!
My Must Haves for My Expat Kitchen:
My multi-cooker! It can literally cook more things and better than me! It’s a pressure cooker + a slow cooker all in one. I will move this thing to and from every country I EVER live in. We’re soul mates.
My FAVORITE tea travels with me everywhere also. I always make sure to pack ziplock baggies full of it so I can have a little taste of home and feel more grounded no matter where I am or what time zone I’m in. I use iHerb to get it delivered wherever I live.
My Favorite Expat friendly Recipe:
Fruit Iced Tea
by Lauren | TakingRoute.net
Now, I wouldn’t be a good southern host if I didn't offer you a glass of tea! As much as I love a good sweet tea, those are hard to find in the rest of the world so I’ve learned to drink unsweetened tea and actually like it! Tea is just such a universal love language as most cultures have a tea they drink, and since it's 100+ degrees here most days I keep a pitcher (brought back in a suitcase stuffed with underwear and socks inside it) of iced tea and lots of local fruits to sweeten and flavor it. So, here is the world’s easiest fun drink you can make:
- 4 bags of English Breakfast tea (regular black tea, yellow label, etc works but this gives it a great flavor)
- Local fruits (I love oranges, lemons, limes)
Boil water, steep your tea until desired flavor, chill. Serve stuffed full of fruits. Enjoy with a friend!