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A Chef’s Kitchen

After belly flopping into the Chicago apartment classifieds the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a disturbing undercurrent: the “chef’s kitchen.” While this sounds very posh and all, it inevitably means two things. See if you can guess.

Is it the thoughtfully laid out floor plan, making everything easily accessible with minimum effort? Or a sink that easily accommodates all the dishes that predictably accompany cooking? Or a dedicated pantry space to properly store food staples? Or how about a space that makes the chef in question feel wanted instead of exiled to a hole?

Nope. A “chef’s kitchen” simply means granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. Preferably new.

Now, I’m not arguing that the above kitchens aren’t nice looking. A couple of them are actually quite beautiful. And I really wouldn’t complain about cooking in them. What troubles me, however, is the way serious cooking is equated with granite and stainless, preferably new. As if good food couldn’t come from an outdated Formica topped kitchen with mismatched appliances.

I suppose it’s a side effect of the “foodie” movement. (And don’t even get me started on the word “foodie.” Or “chef” for that matter.) Food as an idea has become trendy. In many ways that’s a positive development. People who used to fill their grocery carts with boxes and cans are now filling it with vegetables. Or even forgoing the cart altogether in favor of a market basket. the people responsible for bringing us food deserve a little of the lime light. Food is beautiful, necessary, photogenic, and decidedly sensual.

It’s also just dinner. Good food doesn’t have a thing to do with granite and stainless. New or not. Any kitchen can be a chef’s kitchen. The only requirement is someone cooking in it.


Posted 12 years, 1 month ago at 9:08 pm. 2 comments

The prince of spring

To beat the midafternoon blues, Babytidian and I have been tossing the I Spy quilt in the yard and settling where ever it lands. Well, I settle at least. Babytidian never seems to quite settle anywhere anymore these days. He’s happiest when exploring, whether that’s in front of the bathroom cabinets, in the compost bucket, or behind the couch. Being a bit like a baby Cort├ęs, however, he’s mostly conquered all the inside frontiers (except the compost bucket, that’s still gleefully undiscovered territory). And I suspect he gets bored of the stillness of the house. Outside, on the other hand, is always moving. Birds swoop and sway on branches. Old leaves continue to float down while new ones unfurl. And there are always new flowers to see and grab.

On our most recent expedition, we discovered that the clover was blooming. Almost without thinking about it, I began making a clover chain. It was as if something deep in my brain registered all the stimuli, and that was the only acceptable response. Like how you automatically reach out to pet a cat when it brushes against your legs. Or how you lift a flower to you nose even if you know it doesn’t have a scent. It’s just what you do. So, when seated in a blooming clover patch, you make clover chains. In this particular patch, there were just enough flowers to fashion a baby head sized crown. When Babytidian trundled back by, I set the crown on his head. To my very great surprise, my hat-hating baby left it there and continued on his quest to touch the highest heights. Though his regal glory did become a bit lopsided, it remained on his head for a good thirty minutes, not even faltering during a fierce tickle battle with Daddy. I found the crown later that night, finally discarded on the kitchen floor.

Posted 12 years, 2 months ago at 9:37 am. Add a comment