Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just thinkin' about my kitchen

Lately it seems the ‘designer’ kitchen has come into vogue. This is the kitchen outfitted with granite slab counter tops, top-of-the-line ranges, fancy (read: expensive) appliances. And of course nothing less than stainless steel covering everything and glimmering in the classy way only stainless steel can. These are beautiful kitchens and certainly a pleasure in which to work. Does this mean, however, that a simple, maybe even out of date kitchen is less efficient or can’t produce meals that are just as tasty and enjoyed by all? I don’t think so.

my kitchen. best to ignore the textbook, mail, cell phone...
 Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a kitchen like that. A kitchen is a kitchen I guess so it doesn’t matter that mine wouldn’t be at home on the pages of a magazine. But still – I like pretty things. No matter how basic or even out dated my little kitchen is though, I still love it. I take care of and keep it clean and maintained and I cook in it almost every night of the week and almost every weekend morning, I am brewing coffee or making oatmeal. It is my kitchen. My own little space.

One of the things I love about my kitchen is the long bank of windows over the sink that provides a panoramic view of my sunny backyard (or rainy or cloudy as the weather dictates). I love my backyard. I always knew that, whenever I had my own home, I wanted a kitchen window looking out onto my backyard and the birds and squirrels that passed through it every day, and a big tree, green grass, and a shady patio. I have all of that and it makes washing pots or rinsing vegetables a little more pleasant.

view from my kitchen windows
In my kitchen window sits a little wooden Dala horse. I have had him for years and can’t even remember where I found him. But he is friendly and cheerful and sometimes makes me think of my Scandinavian friends.

I have lots of cabinet space, too. I think for a while I felt that perhaps I didn’t have enough cabinet space in the house. Now I realize instead I might just have too many things. When we moved in May, I rearranged most everything in the kitchen about 2 or 3 times to make sure they were properly placed. I’m still getting used to this new kitchen but I think everything is where it should be.

my Dala horse
I love, too, that the footprint of my kitchen must be twice that of the kitchen Kevin and I had for 4 years before we bought this house. We lived in a condo in Dallas near the college that had one bedroom, one living space and a very small kitchen. I liked that condo and had grown accustomed to it and its layout. But I always felt cramped in the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home, as they say; but no more than 2 people could really comfortably gather there and I didn’t like that (or the lack of counter space!). Here the kitchen gets its due. I like that it’s large enough for me to cook and several friends to gather and talk and take in the energy and smells of this V.I.R. (that is: Very Important Room). Although we have yet to invite a large group of friends to our home, I have already imagined the number of people who can spend time with me in the kitchen, and it will be so nice when that time comes.

My kitchen has blue counter tops. This is certainly one of the very least stylish things about it (along with the linoleum floor that has a patch missing in front of the dishwasher and thus has been covered by a big blue rug). I sometimes think I might just ‘go with it’ (the blue counter tops, that is) and add a sunny orange glass tile back splash, icy blue paint above the tiles, and sheer-ish curtains to my windows. I want to take up the linoleum and stain the concrete below in a rich mottled brown. I think these update might be sufficient.

We’ll see.

my clean stove which is also very old; note the distinct lack of stainles
No matter how basic a kitchen, I think one very important trait is cleanliness; a clean, tidy kitchen is a welcoming kitchen. I try to keep my kitchen clean. When I clean up after dinner - actually this has somehow become Kevin’s sole duty, no matter who makes dinner - I think the one thing that really completes the task even after the leftovers in in the fridge and the dishwasher is humming, is a perfectly clean counter top and range. Otherwise the kitchen is not clean and you’ve done a partial job. Clean counter tops and a clean stove welcome the next cutting board and the next Dutch oven.

No matter the colors or lack of granite in my kitchen, it is just that: MY kitchen. And I love it all the same.

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