THE KITCHEN FOR THIS 1826 HOUSE was originally located in a separate, 2-story wing. That wing, as I mentioned in Part 4 of our House Tour, was gutted in 1975 by non-preservation-minded owners. These same owners turned the dining room into a kitchen. When we came along in 2002, we restored the dining room to its former glory. And where did we locate the kitchen? Why, behind the door at the end of the long entrance hall. Would you like to see the room?
There were two good reasons for placing the kitchen in this room. First, it is completely private; and next, a “secret” passage behind the room leads, rather conveniently, to the dining room. This passageway would allow the footman who attends us during meals to travel quietly between kitchen and dining room.
That footman exists only in my dreams.
Oh, to have a footman.
The wallpaper is more bedroom-like than kitchen-like. It was hung in the 1990s by a previous owner who used the space for — guess what — a bedroom. Because the paper was in fine shape, I did not bother to remove it.
After cooking in tiny New York City kitchens for 30 years, functionality is all that I require.
As you can see, I store my over-sized stockpots and Dutch ovens above the bank of cabinets. And for ease of cleaning, I keep the counter tops free of clutter.
I do not have a proper work-island. But I do have a wooden “work station,” obtained (for a song) from a store that sells unfinished furniture. On the station’s top is the marble slab I use for all of my bread- and pastry-making projects. To the left is the large wooden cutting board I use for vegetables. (I use plastic, easy-to-sanitize boards for dealing with meat, poultry and fish.)
Attached to the station are lots of hooks and nails. These permit my measuring cups, saucepans, sieves, and other essentials to be kept within easy reach.
Also within easy reach are the glass measuring cups. They are suspended from the towel rack on the work-station. (I learned from a rather unpleasant experience to never “nest” glass measures — they can stick together.)
Please note that I label my canisters. This way, my make-believe sous chef won’t accidentally fill the all-purpose flour bin with granulated sugar.
Personally, I don’t think a kitchen can have too many drawers. I prefer them to cabinets for keeping odds and ends organized — and out of sight.
Another drawer holds the rings I use for English Muffin-making. It also holds a grand assortment of biscuit cutters, funnels, and my few cake pans. I use plastic tubs to keep the smaller items corralled within the drawer.
Well, as I said, you can never have too many drawers.
Above the counter is a bank of cabinets. The doors on these are from the 19th century. They were salvaged from cabinetry that a previous owner dismantled — but mercifully saved — from another room in the house.
During other winters, the lights keep my African violets in a constant state of bloom. Earlier, I mentioned a passageway behind the kitchen. This leads to a 19th century pantry on the left, and a mud-room (and back door to the garden) on the right. But if you continue straight ahead, through the white door, you will stumble into the dining room.
And by the way, that non-public passageway is a great convenience during dinner parties. While guests are busy enjoying cocktails in the parlor, I’m able to set the table, light the fire, and fill the soup bowls without being detected.
Please forgive me for exposing my drawers.
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