Monday, August 17, 2009

My Two Kitchens

Once upon a time, I had a vision of suburban kitchens, a grand sprawling vision, supported by my mother-in-law's kitchen in the house where devoted partner grew up. There was an ample island and a breakfast nook which actually fit a circular table 6 feet in diameter, making it a room-sized nook. Sure, when I looked at that kitchen, I had different ideas of placement and utilization, but the size was just about right. So when we started looking at houses for rent, I was a trifle disappointed that the kitchens were significantly smaller than my expectations. Don't get me wrong, the average Manhattan kitchen is still dwarfed, but the average Manhattan kitchen is a 3'x2' L off the living room making the average Manhattan toilet bigger than the average Manhattan kitchen.

The house we have moved into, though, did have one of the smaller kitchens of all of the houses we looked at, and since my one deal breaker in this whole process had been ENORMOUS KITCHEN, one could wonder what changed my mind. While I should not be showing any pictures of our house at the moment because it is not fully unpacked, this is a good indication of the space I'm working with in my kitchen:

So, a decent sized kitchen, but not an Architectural Digest-type kitchen. But this house has a hidden secret. Apparently its builders were very very very dirty people. Because nestled in the basement is a laundry room the size of my dining room and kitchen put together - with its own shower and toilet. A veritable palace of clean clothing. But in the room itself was one washer, one dryer, and some cabinets. That was it. And so, the laundry room was planned out from the beginning as a second kitchen; a prep kitchen if you will.

Having interned in kitchens this past year, I learned it was common to have a prep kitchen where most of the work got done, and a service kitchen where the food made it to the plate and out to the waiting guest. I chose to model my kitchens on this theory. Downstairs will be where my work table is, and all my appliances, and most of my specialty equipment. I will be able to make and roll pasta, prepare batches of puff pastry, make chocolate, all without leaving the room. I have already debated getting an induction cooktop in case I really need to make things hot downstairs. Upstairs will be the oven and the stovetop and the place where dinner finally gets assembled - the disparate pieces perhaps having been made below and simply finished upstairs - this was how I ended up in a house with a smaller than preferable kitchen: I got two kitchens. Here's a sneak preview of the downstairs kitchen shelving:

So this is going to be a much different kitchen experience from what I'm used to. Devoted partner has developed a solution for the upstairs kitchen pot storage problem (the problem being there was no good place to store pots where they would be easily accessible) and it involves this awesome piece of apple green pegboard:

Sadly, I didn't take a picture of the pegboard color tryouts which were funny, but since the only orange available was traffic cone orange, I settled on apple green because all of the wood paneling in house does lend it a bit of a darkness I wanted to dispel. Once the pegboard is up, there will be almost nothing left to put away, and almost every item that is associated with cooking will have a designated home. I consider this a monumental accomplishment and I simply cannot wait to cook something a little more sophisticated than grilled chicken. I will supply pictures of the finishes products as they arrive.

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