I have to say I am very fortunate to have a fairly large kitchen. Bittman wrote a column about tiny kitchens and how it shouldn't impact the end result. Before Rory and I moved in together I had a small kitchen with a two or three feet of counter space and that's about it.
In all honesty, when Rory and I get our own place I'll be lucky to have a kitchen as nice as we have now. Other than out oven acting up (and it's now fixed) it's really a great space. I get awesome heat out of the burners and there are granite counter tops. There could always be more cabinet and counter space, and the lighting could be better but in reality we're pretty good. We'll probably be lucky to have a kitchen as nice as we have wherever we move after we're married.
But I have to agree, all you need is a working stove, oven, some pots and pans and a good knife. I complain about some of my gear now, and in all honesty can't wait to register for some high-end pots and pans, but I could get by with what I have.