From Marcolo at GardenWeb,
Ice. Water. Stone. Fire.
That’s the recipe for every home-cooked meal ever made. Every one. Of course I’m not talking about baloney sandwiches or nuked chicken fingers. I mean, meals you actually cook. I don’t care if you’re making hamburgers, spag bol, shumai, boiled dinner, mac & cheese, or fish puking up its own tail (Ever see that? It’s called en colere, it’s completely gross yet strangely cool)–you’re following the same four-word recipe.
ICE. This is your fridge or freezer. Your pantry. Your stolen shopping cart full of cat food. The un-insulated back porch where your grandmother stores that stuff she uses to make that stuff you like. Wherever you store your uncooked food–that’s Ice. It all starts here.
WATER. You start a cooked meal by taking food out of Ice and bringing it to Water. Water is the sink you use to prep. There, you wash the food. Maybe you mix it with water. At minimum, you rinse your hands and utensils. At least, if you want to stay alive, you do. There was a woman here a couple of years ago who insisted she never used water to prep. She doesn’t post anymore, because dysentery.
STONE. Then you bring the food to Stone. As in, you know, granite, soapstone, marble. Or wood. Or formica, or whatever else your prep surface might be. You chop, you julienne, you trim, you pull little wriggling things out of your broccoli and show them to your annoying niece until she screams and leaves you the hell alone in the kitchen finally. Whatever. While you are doing this, you frequently bop back and forth between Stone and Water, as you clean your hands or rinse the wrigglers off your knife. The NKBA says this bit of Stone should be a minimum of 36″ wide by 24″ deep. But you really want bigger.
FIRE. Next it’s on to Fire–your range, oven, cooktop, whatever. Obvious. This is where the magic happens. You sear a steak, bake a pie, or watch a soufflé rise to fluffy heaven until your damn niece comes storming back into the kitchen slamming doors. Anyway.
So, are you doing a layout? Memorize this recipe first. Because this is the primary order you will be working in your new kitchen. Set it up so you don’t have to backtrack fifty times a day every time you cook. Also, do not make yourself dodge people getting glasses out of the dishwasher, or rinsing off whatever the hell they got on their hands which, P.S., they already wiped all over your upholstery. Make sure you have clear, unobstructed lines between Ice, Water, Stone and Fire.
What? No, that doesn’t mean they all need to line up in a row. They’re usually in a triangle of some sort, though not always.
This is why we may recommend a prep sink for you. It’s not because we get a commission on them, although we frikking well deserve one at this point. It’s because in your particular layout, your main sink is not located where it needs to be. It may cross paths with other kitchen invaders. Or it simply fails to follow the order Ice-Water-Stone-Fire in a really glaring and inefficient way.
And from NKBA,
3. Distance Between Work Centers: In a kitchen with three work centers*, the sum of the distances between them should total no more than 26 feet. No leg of the work triangle should measure less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet. When the kitchen includes additional work centers, each additional distance should measure no less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet. No work triangle leg should intersect an island or peninsula by more than 12 inches.
* The distances between the three primary work centers (cooking, cleanup/prep and refrigeration) form a work triangle.
4. Separating Work Centers: A full-height, full-depth, tall obstacle [i.e., a pantry cabinet or refrigerator] should not separate two primary work centers.
5. Work Triangle Traffic: No major traffic patterns should cross through the work triangle.
6. Work Aisle: The width of a work aisle should be at least 42″ for one cook and at least 48″ for multiple cooks.