Kitchen dreams

I  am dreaming of a new kitchen. I know exactly what my husband, who loves to cook, and my daughter, who loves to bake, need; I also know exactly what I desire in terms of space, function and storage.

Very certainly the most used space in our home, our kitchen does need a makeover. And that is a fact, not just the by-product of this housewife’s whim or flight of fancy. After 10 years I think I finally have a better understanding of the way life and food flow through our kitchen; in bits and pieces and through the years, habits have surfaced, quirks have unfolded, likes and dislikes are evident, needs are sparklingly clear and they are as diverse and as personal as the recipes I have grown to love.

I now know that my husband really, really loves to cook and that my daughter loves to bake (I suspect even more than I do). He is a multi-tasker who can entertain and cook a three-course meal simultaneously, and he can watch TV while doing that, too. I feel, as I’m sure he does, that a cook-top range incorporated at the end side of the island would be ideal so that he will not be too far away from the people he loves to feed.

I know and love that our house is always filled with people with healthy appetites, some of who love to cook just as much as they love to eat. That being so, gatherings both planned and impromptu come aplenty. We love to feed people, we love to eat, we love that there is always happy company to be had with all the happy meals prepared.

I know that, even as I cannot cook anything more complicated than eggs, fried rice, and de lata, I am a sucker for big plates and pretty cups and saucers. I like heavy cutlery and everything in our house is big — our cups are the size of size of deep, high soup bowls (our friend Nani says he always feel like he can make hilamos with the amount of liquid one cup can hold), our glasses are short and stubby but the circumference is just a bit smaller than our cups, and most of our platters are super-sized. We have all these huge plates we got from Cardinal Ceramics eight years back — huge Christian Tortu square platters that can double as chargers and that I found in Dapitan at only P80 apiece, especially long solid-colored rectangular and stainless ones I bought for a song and stuffed in my maleta from trips to Japan and places like Target and Kmart in the US. And then I walked in Gourdo’s one fine day and the collection grew even bigger. Everything being so huge, I now realize that our kitchen sink is far too small. It is a regular-sized one but is divided into two sections. I now know we need just one big sink, and that it has to be deep. That way, none of my big platters will get chipped.

The fine china we got as presents we somehow never really use because they are far too precious, in an almost purely sentimental way, and I am terrified of ending up with one broken or chipped… so I just keep them forever and ever. One day I know we will use them, but not just yet. I need to store those guys, not necessarily where I can see them every day.

Over the past two years I have added dainty cups, normal-sized ones. I think even my husband’s friends who are all the size of giants in my daughter’s eyes appreciate the smaller size when they take their coffee, hot chocolate or tea. Big men that they are, they also know that these hot drinks stay hot in the teeny containers, and are better enjoyed in smaller doses.

I realize that we love using trays and so the new and improved kitchen must have ample space for them, where they can be neatly stored out of sight but are easily accessible when needed. I also need a place for my all my linen, the coasters and the candles that function both for purposes of ambience in addition to keeping the flies away when we dine out in the backyard.

Baking will be much simpler if all baking ingredients as well as supplies are kept in one place; that way my daughter and I need not run from one end of the kitchen to the other the way we find ourselves doing now.

I need shelving space that will not collapse under the weight of all the heavy tableware we use on a daily basis, shelves that can be adjusted at a moment’s notice, too. Our drawers are all the same size, big and quite deep and the cooking utensils get all tangled with the measuring cups and spoons in a confused mess. More shallow ones will work better, and will definitely make for a more organized storage setup.

I know exactly where to go to make my full-fledged kitchen dreams come true. For many months now we have been frequenting the Ethan Allen showroom on Pioneer St. They are sole distributors of the Siematic kitchen and they have this thing called an appliance garage that stylishly keeps out of sight stuff that you do not really need on a daily basis, like my baking supplies. It is just lovely. The Siematic guys have thought of everything, in terms of function and design and the marriage of both, and as steep as the prices may initially seem, all signs say it is well worth it. To make things even easier they have in-house designers who can dream up your dream kitchen for you, based on your specific needs.

Today, still very much in a kitchen mode, Juliana and I visited the home section of Rustan’s Shangri-La with the sole purpose of getting kitchen towels and a decent picnic basket for Richard to bring during his taping; I stuff it with energy bars and healthy snacks because he gets a headache when he does not get to eat on time. I did not find the kitchen towels I wanted as they were out of stock, but I had a grand time with the cutlery and the ice trays and plastic food containers.

I remember when Richard would send money to his flight attendant friends and ask them to please buy — whenever they were in Germany — the WMF utensils that he really likes. Now, many years later, WMF is readily available in Rustan’s. I do not know exactly when that started to happen but it is finally here. What fun! I got the cheese set and cake set, two things we lacked in our home.

We also chanced upon a line of adorable high-gloss bakeware under the brand name Silicone Zone that Juliana and I could not resist; potholders that multi-task as trivets and jar openers; ice cube trays and cardboard-thin cutting boards that will not take up storage space. I think I really like this brand. I also found some very pretty white linen napkins from Portugal that were priced way below what they should have been, and there were as many dainty crocheted liners that would look good on any tray as there were pristine white linen tablecloths in different shapes and sizes. This housewife and her daughter went home very happy with her kitchen purchases.

As I share my kitchen dreams with you I am seated on the bench of our dining table, looking out to our garden that, for some time now, has stopped looking like one. It actually seems more like an open space with grass cutting through rectangular slabs of cement and tall, lush Eucalyptus trees along the perimeter. Once upon a time it was Zen-like and minimalist, but not anymore. Two too many gardeners have planted a tree here, a shrub there, such that it now looks hodgepodge and everything but Zen. I do not know why both the late Roque and the Manong Florencio we now have love to plant papaya trees. We have far too many papaya trees, not that it is a bad thing. I just don’t know why they have to be where they are now.  Our garden, too, needs a makeover; maybe even more than our kitchen. That is another dream in the making. I know I want it lush and green, with bamboo trees along the wall in between the giant Eucalyptus ones and graceful curves and serene spots that even our dogs would find too pretty to mess with. I want a flowering plant somewhere within it but if that is not possible then clean and green works fine for me.

The kitchen and/or the garden, two of my little household dreams waiting to happen. Being a housewife, even without the actual cooking and gardening part, can really be so much fun.

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