Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Around The Kitchen

I really enjoy reading about kitchen design. During my days at design school I didn't really spend much time on kitchens and way back then it wasn't even really all that much of a design arena. However, today there are so many exciting innovations to consider when you have a kitchen on your "to-do or re-do" list. And Kitchen Design has developed into an accredited design profession so there are so many more resources available to us.

Beyond the generally acknowledged plans for the kitchen work area such as the galley kitchen and the triangle workspace there are so many other features to consider. We have the color palette, countertop materials and finishes, flooring materials, lighting, and cabinetry to choose. And probably the most important selections for any cook to make are those for the the kitchen equipment. You know - those things that make a room a kitchen. Like your refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, stove and ovens and microwave. There are, of course, hundreds of other "fixed assets" that used to be the "extras" such as the built in warming drawers, wine cellars, pantries, freezer drawers, hot water dispensers, and built in butcher block cutting boards.

The Distracted Cook's kitchen was designed and built about 25 years ago and believe me, it looks like it. Now it doesn't have any avocado and turquoise appliances, but it is still stuck in the dark ages. I have already worked through two dishwashers and I am just waiting for this one to blow up any day now. Better put that on the list of things to start studying. This kitchen has served me well, and I have been able to serve from it with great delight and success. But I sometimes wonder if I could be a really great cook if only I had some of those great new inventions. If not really great, maybe just a bit better?

So let's take a look at what we have here. First off, there is that wonderful, deluxe cooktop that was the big deal when it was new. You know the kind. It has the electric indoor grill that you can switch out for the deep-fryer. And it has four electric cooking elements, two of which I have managed to render almost useless. Don't ask how. But I will tell you that I now have some replacements in there and they are looking a bit sad already. This was the Jenn-Air to have back in the day. However, they do not make one that same size now, so to replace this one would entail taking the Mexican tile surface off of the cooking island and putting a new top with the correct size cut-out on it. Hmm. Well if I do that, maybe I can just put a gas one in there, right? Gas is supposed to be best.

Well of course I can, if I want to jackhammer my brick floor to lay a gas line. Or I can have a column installed right there in the middle of the room to run it down. Or I can move the whole thing over to a wall to bring the gas line down. Why is this so complicated. What would you do? What I have done so far is cook off the two working elements and melt the grill! Yep, I read the instructions (after all these years) and it said to preheat the grills. So I did and one of them just upped and melted! So here is what this looks like now:

See that grill over there with the big hole in it? That's what preheating did for me!!

Now The Distracted Cook is certainly not going to claim that being ADD is what melted that burner, but I do recall turning it on, going into the pantry to find something (hmm...I wonder what) and coming back out to find the grills glowing red hot and one of them just oozing onto the heating element. Wow! I vowed right then and there to never preheat that thing again. And to tell the truth, I haven't much used either one of the grills since then.

You might be thinking "Why didn't she set the timer for the preheating of the grills?" and you would be on to something really enlightening. The reason is that the timer on the cooktop doesn't work any longer. Why, I don't know. And the lovely, beautiful microwave that I used to have that had a timer on it is gone. Gone?  Yes, it is gone. It was really lovely. Stainless steel, high powered and I loved it. But one day the door just stuck shut! Yes, that is right, just stuck shut. With my cafe au lait stuck in there! That was just too much. I was sad about a broken microwave, but to have my favorite mug stuck in it was just too much. I finally pried the cover off the front of the thing and released the switch by hand so I could retrieve the mug of coffee. And that was that. Out that microwave went to the recycle bin. So, now there was no timer. And so now there was a hole in the Jenn-Air grill! And so -- I went and bought a timer!! Yes, and it works. When I remember to set it. You see, that is one of those things that The Distracted Cook has to work around on a daily basis. But it is getting better. Because I have devised a great many kitchen tricks. And I am going to share those tricks with you. As soon as we get back into the kitchen. Maybe tomorrow?

Right now I am going to go "pop" a cup of coffee into the replacement microwave which came from Dr. Deeds' office. It is NOT as lovely as mine was, but it does work. Alas... no timer!!

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