A cook’s working kitchen

One of my favorite past times is browsing through house designs. I frequent sites like this, this, this and this and I imagine what it would be like to live in one of those fabulous homes featured in them. ALL THAT SPACE. ALL THOSE GORGEOUS FURNITURE. NO MESS. NOTHING OUT OF PLACE. I go through kitchen designs and I imagine myself prepping meat and veggies on those shiny work surfaces, using bowls and plates that match the walls and the cabinets, and cooking on state-of-the-art appliances. You know, stove tops where splatters seem to magically disappear.

There are times when my living room and my kitchen look like those featured homes. The funny thing is that those picture perfect moments are very, very fleeting. Not one room in this house is organized and orderly and mess free 24/7. Especially the kitchen. We have granite countertops and they are shiny because I clean them everyday. But, most of the time, it’s hard to see the shiny surfaces because they’re covered with a hundred different things.

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In those house design websites that I frequent, you won’t see anything on the counters and the island except for a few pieces of carefully chosen bowls with perfectly fresh fruits. Everything is pristine — so pristine that it seems sterile. Not that those kitchens don’t exist at all in the real world. They do. I know they do because I’ve seen kitchens like that. Showcase kitchens that aren’t really used in houses with a “dirty kitchen” where the domestic helpers prepare the food day in and day out.

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Much as I dream of making my kitchen look like it came out of the pages of a catalog or an interior design magazine, I can’t.

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Because I use my kitchen every single day. Several times a day. Much as I wish I can put everything away in drawers and cabinets after every use, I can’t. There are objects that I want to be within reach every time I cook. Like the jars of salt and sugar, the pepper mill, the basket of vegetables, the rice cooker…

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And I think about those picture perfect kitchens and I realize that beautiful as they are, they are as impersonal as hotel rooms. Real kitchens bear the personality of the person or persons that use them.

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Our kitchen isn’t picture perfect. Well, sometimes it is for, like, 15 minutes every month or so. Apart from that, our kitchen looks like there is something going on every minute of the day. Because that’s how it really is. Our kitchen isn’t something for display — it is something for actual use. And we actually use it — and everything in it. Including the mini food processor that makes so much noise that Sam wants to be warned before it is turned on so that she can at least cover her ears if there is no time for her to hie off to her room, shut the door and shut out the noise.

Much as I wish I had an even better kitchen with hot tap water and a modern dishwasher, I really can’t complain about what I have. This kitchen has been good to us. We have spent a lot of together times hovering over that island — baking, cooking, bantering. It is this kitchen that keeps this blog alive.

Maybe, someday, we will have it remodeled. Every house needs remodeling after a while as part of its maintenance. Maybe, someday, we can tear out the plumbing so we can have that hot-cold tap water and a dishwasher. Or, maybe, we’ll move elsewhere with all of that. For now, this is our kitchen. It’s not pristine but, heck, it works for us.