How I Taught My Brother To Cook

Improvisational Tuscan-Provençal-Catalan Cookery (and other good stuff to eat)

It Ain't A Real Kitchen If Its Pretty

As far as I'm concerned there is only one kind of kitchen, the one meant for business. It isn't designed by an interior decorator, but by necessity over time. They don't have color schemes and they aren't candidates for "kitchen Beautiful" magazine. There is probably grease build up in areas of the walls and ceiling that you just can't reach to clean and maybe can't be bothered to. The counter probably has cuts in it and well as dings and the floor may have cracked tile or worn linoleum. Chances are there are no vases with flowers in there and at the most a picture tacked to the wall. The sink most likely has some dirty dishes in it awaiting the next available time to wash them. The tools are at the ready like soldiers though, waiting for their call to duty and they know it will be a tough tour. When things get fired up in there, the chopping against a board is resounding as is the banging of pans on the stove, in the oven and in the sink. Expletives are shot out like buckshot at the moments of need regardless who's is in hearing distance. The final result however, is something that can't be rivaled. I can't work in a "pretty" kitchen. Its too damn stressful. Messes get made in kitchens. Thats what happens in there when everything is going full bore. Our Aunt Rose used a wood fired stove for all her cooking and baking. It was a farmhouse kitchen and it was meant to be strictly functional. Out of this rough hewn country kitchen came some of the best food anyone could eat. That was a kitchen. Mine is a kitchen. It is meant to be used and put through the rigors of constant use. These are what real kitchens are.

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Comment by Debbie on March 2, 2009 at 4:39pm
Our kitchen is well "seasoned" like a well seasoned wok or cast iron pot. If it were possible we would add a few more feet either way, a gas stove and a brick floor with a drain in the middle, otherwise it is at best, functional. I agree with Patrick, we wouldn't/couldn't have a "pretty" kitchen, as the kitchen is a functional place; the purpose being to cook. The kitchen's main function is to be cooking or preparing food. Our dining room is right outside the kitchen, separated by only a doorway and a large open "window". We can converse, socialize, etc. without leaving each room. The kitchen is the most comforting room in a house, where family and visitors congregate. The kitchen is the "hearth" of the home, should be basic and by all means meant to be used.
Comment by John Barrows on March 2, 2009 at 4:46pm
My kitchen is where I am at home. It has to have a look that I'm comfortable in, because I am a visually oriented person. I can't operate if I'm visually upset. Pat and I are the same in that the kitchen must be a practical kitchen. Its tools must be organized and at the ready. The words I use are "utilitarian" and "industrial". I can't bear the look of "designed" kitchens - mainly because they look like they're not for actual use, and probably aren't. Given what we hear on this site, most people "don't have the time to cook". I recently heard a sob story about a young woman who was laid off from her job. She used to eat out every night with her husband after work. Now she buys prepared foods and warms them up for dinners (paying four to five times more than what the raw ingredients would cost - or more- even though she now has plenty of time to cook). Her rationale? "I don't want to feel like a housewife," she said. "I'm a professional!"
Comment by Debbie on March 2, 2009 at 4:56pm
Well, this "Professional" needs to take a look at alternatives. Just because you may cook a meal, doesn't make you a "housewife"; step down off that "high horse" and realize that cooking is survival; also cooking can be fun. Many "Professionals" are cooks/chefs/etc. If she would take a different approach to cooking, open her mind and try to experiment with cooking, she will relax, enjoy, and possibly find a new niche in life! Unfortunately, she sounds like one of the "spoiled" in our society.

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