This started out as a post about the things I’ve been making in my kitchen today–split pea soup and granola–and then it sort of turned into something else. Sort of like how I meant to make flashcards and made a chocolate cake instead.
I’ve been cooking all afternoon. It seems that I operate in extremes, from Taco Burger to homemade granola in no time. I’ve been living mostly on Greek yogurt parfaits with museli, honey, and grapes lately (you wouldn’t believe how many grapes Ricky and I go through in a week–we buy them in huge quantities at Costco). This afternoon, I ran out of museli. That led to homemade granola. The soup was mostly for Ricky, since I had my eye on the granola and managed to eat enough of it while it was cooling as to be totally un-hungry by the time the soup was done. It’s good soup–the recipe is from the California Pizza Kitchen cookbook–but I’ve never made it in the summer before. I will say, though, that the farmers’ market produce made a surprisingly big difference here, in spite of the fact that the two major ingredients–barley and split peas–are hardly seasonal. The carrots that I used–pinkie-finger-sized and green-topped–actually add a wonderful flavor of their own rather than just sinking into the background.
Anyway, I finished all of that off and then did the only sensible thing: I started a rather elaborate recipe for a chocolate zucchini bundt cake which involved–
1) melting chocolate
2) grating three cups of zucchini
3) brewing coffee
4) major and minor kitchen electrics and a lot of mixing bowls
I don’t really know who’s out there reading in cyberspace, but WordPress tells me that a number of people are. Some of you, at least, have probably never really seen my kitchen. I rarely take pictures of it because, well, I hate it. That’s maybe not entirely true–I have acquired new appliances over the last few years, including a dishwasher and an oven that can actually handle a standard cookie sheet (the Magic Chef I had for the first year was a whopping 20 inches wide). I like those, and I actually like my kitchen cabinets, too–they’ve managed to hang around for the last 60 years, and I have no plans of taking them out when I finally do get around to renovating. The hardware on the cabinets is exactly the same in my kitchen and in my mother’s Spartanette travel trailer, so I guess that if I ever want to move my house I can be well assured that the cabinets won’t spill open.
But the lighting is terrible–the glass dome fell off the ceiling fan about a year ago and smashed on the floor (quite near a cat, actually). The tiles are hideous. Maybe they don’t look so awful here, but they’re peach and blue and just way too country-clutter for me. The counter is greenishpurplishbluishgrayish–some indistinct non-color that still manages to clash with absolutely everything. Not only that, but it actually stops 24 inches short of the length of the wall and is replaced by a slab of scrap laminate that I cut to put on top of the dishwasher (it took the place of the old stove, to the right of the sink). Half the tiles are missing above the dishwasher because they had to be knocked out to gain some extra depth. Even I have to admit that the tiles are better than the black mastic and peeling yellow paint I’ve been looking at for the last two years. All of this is slated to change–hopefully soon–but these little things (and they are little, since my kitchen is itself so little) do usually keep my camera out of the various corners of my kitchen.
I took this picture of my kitchen to document the massive mess I created this afternoon. It’s had almost the opposite effect on me, though–it’s made me a little more hopeful for the outcome of my renovations. This kitchen certainly isn’t a design ideal. It’s small, and all the cooking that I do happens on the small span of counter top that you see here. But when I squint a little, and focus only on the cabinets, the window, the aluminum pitcher filled with metal spoons and the aqua shades shared between my beloved mixer and the glass bottle full of dish soap on the window sill, I think I can actually see some potential here. I know that the things I’ve been planning–a new white sink, white counter, white subway tile, and track lighting–were going to be an improvement, but I’ve never had very high hopes for this kitchen. I love to cook, and, although I’ve certainly been able to make it work, it’s a somewhat limiting space for making anything much more than toast. But I think maybe I will love it after all. We’ll see.