A handy guide to using our kitchen!
Hi, and welcome once again to our kitchen! Since you were last here a couple of years ago, a few things have changed, which I’m happy to point out so we don’t have any new “surprises” while we’re gone. Let’s start with a general overview, shall we?
The whole kitchen
As you can see in this bird’s eye photo, you’ll recall that there are no cupboard doors. Everything is still open to view, so there is no guesswork in finding a pan or a bowl or a wine glass! And there should be no guesswork in returning the pan or bowl or wine glass to its original place after washing it! Am I right? This has been an “issue” in the past, but my wife and I are much calmer about it with the passage of time.
Now, let’s zoom down to —
As you’ll remember, this is a two-basin porcelain “farmer’s” sink. The drain stoppers don’t work, even though they’re still new. If you wish to fill a basin with water, simply grab a couple of heads of garlic from the hanging basket over the sink and rub them vigorously over the drain. Works very well!
Using hot water: The hot water starts in the on-demand heater in the basement in the opposite corner of the house. It then courses through red-colored plastic pipe two or three times around the perimeter of the basement before rising up into the kitchen a few minutes later. Turn on the “hot” water, meditate or sing a short song for two minutes, and you will have hot water. Let’s move on to —
The dishwasher is a favorite appliance of mine, but it helps to know its foibles. When placing tableware and knives and utensils in the basket in the lower rack, put the pointy ends facing down. This is not a “foible,” it’s to prevent unnecessary lacerations, like with the two-pronged meat fork from your previous stay here. I can’t say it enough: pointy ends down!
The top rack is obviously for glasses and mugs and small bowls and such. There is one long-stemmed wineglass that fits in only one place in the top rack. This is on the far right side, which has the most clearance, in the space nearest your abdomen as you face the rack. It must go there. If it goes elsewhere, it will come out clean, but in at least two pieces.
You’ll remember that when the dishwasher is running, you should not take a shower. Really, just don’t.
Now, into to the pantry —
We designed our kitchen to have a walk-in food pantry that’s always open to view for easy access to many kinds of delicious foods in a variety of colorful packages.
Pantry, left and right. Easy!
While you’re house-sitting, you’ll recall that each shelf has a kind of theme. There is a liquor shelf (this is mostly for guests, as well as us), a can and jar shelf, a shelf for baking ingredients, a shelf for crackers and coffee, one for cereal and miscellaneous nuts and unrelated items, one for soup and rice and some other unrelated items, one for empty plastic containers and their lids which don’t always fit, and so on. You should be able to find nearly anything you want in our pantry! Bags of walnuts are always elusive, but keep looking!
Large jars on the counter
These are mostly antique glass jars that aren’t labeled because you can see what’s inside. Most of the contents are various shades of brown or ecru or off-white, except for the very obvious black beans (not shown). It’s easy to confuse the couscous with the corn meal. Be careful!
Here’s where our kitchen tour enters a kind of “Adventure Land!” Curiously, almost all the really interesting things are in the fridge door (not shown) and the more pedestrian items on the main shelves. Note that invariably there will be half a dozen or more unlabeled jars and containers and plastic bags with unknown foods inside, generally various shades of gray or tan, but sometimes ecru or taupe or very dark brown. We use the tried-and-true “Open ‘n’ Sniff” method of discovering what may be lurking within.
The plastic drawer, which many would use as a meat drawer, is instead a cheese drawer. It also contains non-cheese food items that may have a cheese-like color. And cold cuts.
The spice rack and shelves
Everything’s pretty easy to see, except for thyme. We have thyme, but you will never find it. There’s always one such herb or spice that’s in everyone’s kitchen but can’t be found, and in our kitchen it happens to be thyme. It could well be that you actually used up all our thyme during your last visit.
Learn to cook without using thyme, and you’ll be all set. But if you’re going to be a dick about it and insist on thyme, you’ll need to find it or buy it.
Grand Finale: The Middle Drawer!
Once again, you may have need for a zester, or pizza cutter, or rolling pin, or ice cream scoop, or seafood doohickeys. While most of the regular cooking utensils are in bean pots and such to the right of the stove, the more odd-ball items are in this Middle Drawer to the left of the stove. They include some antique kitchen gizmos that we bought at yard sales and such because they were kind of cute. But of course we have no idea what their purpose is. No matter; ignore them. The main idea here is, whatever you’re looking for in the Middle Drawer, don’t give up! Keep at it! We know it’s in there.
That should do it. Please enjoy yourselves, and cook up a storm!