Dreams of the perfect kitchen

Dreams of the perfect kitchen

Having to open the dishwasher door in order to open the corner drawer next to it, I turned and found the food processor, which was no longer required and taking up the space needed for the cutting board.

The tall kitchen table, never used for meals but for dumping packages of paper towels, the baby food blender and mail, is crowded with junk. The smooth cooktop range is all spattered up again from making a simple, quick omelette.

Pantry storage, with flours, beans, rice and canned goods, is in a living room closet because the kitchen cupboards barely have room for the few dishes and glassware we were able to unpack after the last move.

The kitchen in my house has heard its share of harsh cursing. The cursing is generally accompanied by dreams of the perfect kitchen.

We’ve often said if we could build a new home from scratch, we would build a kitchen and fit a house around it. Sure, a fireplace would be nice, and a deck, yada yada, but the real requirements are in that single room, which should be the size of a JCPenney store.

There would be two ranges, both gas. I’ll never understand the popularity of smooth electric cooktops. I’ve had three in a row now, and they’re maddening. Everything sticks to them, they’re impossible to keep clean, and if you so much as butter toast near them, they attract crumbs and smears like a magnet.

One of the dream ranges would be a commercial-grade six-burner job with two ovens and an exhaust hood overhead strong enough to suck a Buick out and into the next block. I used to think it would have to be a black, brass trimmed French Lacanche, but that’s over the top. A stainless fronted Viking would do just fine.

The other would be an Aga Cooker from England, the full-sized one with six ovens and two burners, in royal blue. Agas are made entirely of cast iron and must be assembled in place over a reinforced floor. Once lit, they’re always on. The burners and the ovens are always hot and ready. There are no controls; each oven is a different temperature from searing to warming and is ready for different dishes. The hot burners are covered by big, shiny hinged covers, and you can simply lift one of them and make pancakes directly on the iron burner surface. They never need to be cleaned because whatever splatters on them is constantly being slowly burned off.

There would be enameled cast iron pots in just about every color, dozens of razor sharp knives and an embarrassment of heavy French copper, a vast island with enough counter space to cook 10 dishes and five pastries simultaneously, two walk-in pantries — one for food and one for equipment, a stainless restaurant-grade prep table on wheels, a full-sized wine chiller, and certainly a giant glass front Sub-Zero refrigerator and two dishwashers.

Countertops are harder to decide on — maple butcher block mixed with white or black marble, most likely, and absolutely nothing mottled. You can never see if they’re clean, and it seems like no matter how much they get scrubbed, you can still feel dried-on gunk under your hand. I want to see where the dirt lurks, not hide it among jeweled patterns.

The floor should be one solid surface: no planks or tiles to catch fallen debris. An entire wall should be windows, with skylights overhead and pinpoint nighttime task lighting.

In one corner a cavernous fireplace with an oven for breads and pizzas and room to roast a good-sized chunk of animal.

I would never want to reach for a spatula, wooden spoon, tasting spoon or whisk and not have it close at hand. There would be a dedicated cupboard just for spices and an herb and vegetable garden just a few steps outside.

You may as well dream big. But I’d settle for a little counter space for Christmas.

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