The kitchen-to-be, in all its  unfinished glory.

The kitchen-to-be, in all its unfinished glory.

I don’t like to brag, but for 12 years I have occupied the Absolute Worst Kitchen in the world of professional food writers.   It’s not that it’s small, like most contenders for Worst Kitchen.

It’s not so much a kitchen as an undefined space, a walk-through horror show that happens to be used for cooking.  There is a horrible old composite countertop that typically has 1.5 square feet of free space.  There is a horrible stained lineolum floor with huge patches torn out of it where you can see the floorboards underneath.  There are foot-wide holes in the plaster ceiling where the lath pokes through, dumping age-old dust, dirt, and other unspeakable particles onto the range shelf while I’m cooking.  There are no cabinets.  There is no dishwasher.  There are no places to sit.

The two things that make it function are my 36″ 6-burner Blue Star range, and an 8′ -wide floor-to-ceiling expanse of wire shelving that is my pantry and batterie de cuisine.

Anyway, I’ve had this kitchen for as long as I’ve been a food writer, which is not a coincidence (see earlier thoughts on situational irony).  But we’ve finally decided to try and do something about it.

Since a full-scale kitchen renovation with contractors etc. is out of the question, Randy’s doing most of the work himself, in the huge room on the western end of the house, which we’ve optimistically called the “new kitchen” ever since he laid the floorboards 4 or 5 years ago.  We’ve bought the appliances (zero-radius stainless-steel apron-front double sink, 600CFM Windster range hood, Kenmore dishwasher, pull-down Delta Cassidy kitchen faucet that cost more than the dishwasher), the lumber, and the soapstone for the countertop.  We’ve had plumbing, electrical, and gas roughed in.

There’s been one major calamity – the uncovering of lead paint on the posts and window frames.   So R has had to add “lead decontamination,” “boxing in posts/beams” and “building window frames” to “appliance installation” and “learn cabinet-making”.

My job has been to keep the children out of the construction site, find places for everything that was stored there before, continue recipe testing in the now-even-more-cluttered old kitchen, and cry when appropriate.

It’s a big job.  But someday it will be done, and we’ll have our friends over again, and there will be merriment and good food, and it will be a kitchen for the ages, or at least one fit to serve four long-term optimists.

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