Kitchen Dreams

Although I usually discuss Matters Musical, I thought today I'd take a detour...straight into the kitchen.

While trolling through the New York Times, looking for something witty and/or interesting to post to my Facebook page, I stumbled upon a review of the newest show at the Museum of Modern Art.  “Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen” just opened at MOMA, and I sure do wish we could bring it here to the MAG. My mother, Jan Hickman, was once the nutritionist at Cornell Cooperative Extension, and she taught us, from very early on, how to wash our clothes, iron our shirts and cook our food.  From her, I not only learned to love the process of cooking, but also the wonderful gadgets that inhabit our culinary lives:  the slicers, dicers, and storage bins that make our time in the cookery so much better. I'm never happier than when I'm prowling through a kitchen store, looking for the next cool thing that will make dinner preparation that much faster...or at least a little cooler.  And I'm a Kitchen Gadget Wuss compared to my husband, who is still looking for the Perfect Slotted Spoon (while buying every other slotted spoon that comes his way, just to try it out). When we married, we registered at a national kitchenware store, desperately hoping that someone would get us that barnyard animal wafflemaker (someone did, by the way).  Our daughters are also excellent cooks; the other day, the younger one called, saying that she was baking a cake.  It wasn't until I got home that I discovered that she hadn't simply opened a box and added an egg and some water;  she had actually baked a cake.  From scratch. The MOMA show not only speaks to our family passion, but it also resonates with one of our deepest desires.

NYT writer Roberta Smith notes that a German designer once commented that “America has fat kitchens, Europe has thin ones.”  If that's true, then our kitchen is severely malnourished.  Bad countertops are loosely laid across even worse cabinets, and our wall cabinets were salvaged, so they're an inch too shallow.  It is, without a doubt, one of Rochester's Worst Kitchens. We'd love nothing more than a new cooking space, but we're not dumb.  We've priced out the ingredients we'd need to whip up a new kitchen, and then looked at our bank books and the tuition fees and the orchestral dues...and our kitchen stays put:  dingy, rickety, and severely undersized.  But that's okay, too.  We can whip up a fabulous Thanksgiving feast for 10 or an elegant intimate dinner for 4 in that room--with a lot of planning and choreography, of course--and it all comes out just fine.  It's almost a badge of honor for us:  "You made that in there?!?" We make due with the room we have, and are happy for the wonderful things that fill it, and the time we all spend in there together.

But I still dream about those granite countertops on the craftsman cabinets...


Click here for the NYT review of the MOMA show, "Counter Space."