{Feed the family well} Kitchen work triangles

chokecherry jelly
Thank you to my SIL for the chokecherry juice! My kids LOVE chokecherry jelly.

As my kitchen is reassembled (very very slowly) with its new and old parts, I have spent quite a bit of time working in my mil’s kitchen. I spend time there because I seek a kitchen, because I care about food quality very much. I’m making jelly and jam and syrup and evening meals over there.

Our kitchens, and your kitchen is included in this statement, all have the same basic elements: sink, cooktop (stove and oven), and refrigerator. And pots and pans and seasonings and bowls. But I find myself very frustrated while working at her place. If my mil’s kitchen and my kitchen have the same elements, then WHY DO I FIND HER KITCHEN SO DARN HARD TO WORK IN?! And while I can’t locate any of her utensils because I don’t live there, I think her kitchen is difficult because she doesn’t have a “work triangle.” This thought came while I was making chokecherry jelly at her place.

The sink, stove/oven, and fridge create a work triangle. I find this ironic because her career centers on ergonomics in the workplace. In her defense, there are no building codes for kitchen work triangles, and she didn’t buy the house for its kitchen work triangle, but consider the following:

Julia's work triangle
mil's work triangle, um "work ell"


•   No single leg of the triangle measuring less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet.

•   No work triangle leg intersects an island/peninsula or other obstacle by more than 12″


If you get a chance to have a kitchen makeover (by choice, or like me, by the force of water leaking) AND you value food issues that require home cooking and control, look at the work triangle. I never knew I had it so good until now.

2 thoughts on “{Feed the family well} Kitchen work triangles”

  1. Our triangle is awful, but we didn’t realize how bad it was until after we’d bought the house.

    Our plan had been to redo countertops (we have the second cheapest you can get and they’re a PITA to keep clean) as soon as we got in, but once we realized the triangle was bad we realized we’d need to do a major remodel… so we did nothing.

  2. I have your triangle, but I actually like your mil’s much better. It has a nice working surface right in between of your kitchen destinations. Great to place things on and do your cutting, chopping, mixing, etc, which I never have enough room for in my kitchen.

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