My mother, although multi-talented, had an aversion to the kitchen and has often said that I learned to cook at an early age “out of self-defense.” When she made chicken à l'orange by smearing a chicken with powdered Tang, I quickly developed a necessary passion for creating tasty things to eat. Somewhere in the family photograph album is a picture of me at the stove, age ten, happily stirring marinara sauce.

I developed a lifelong fascination with food; good food. There was even a foray of working as a chef’s assistant at a French restaurant during my mid twenties, just for fun. I had always loved watching Julia Child and knew that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was to be revered. It wasn’t until I read her biography (long before the Julie & Julia movie) that I really became fascinated with her work. From that book, I decided to prepare her recipe for mayonnaise.

Upon tasting it, I wept. . . .

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Happy Kitchen

When you have a teeny tiny kitchen like I do, workable space is at a premium. My kitchen measures 10' x 6', the wraparound counter tops take up 2 feet of that space, so the floor space of my kitchen is actually only 8' x 4'.

When working in such a limited space, one must become pretty clever at creating the most efficient use out of what you've got. Fortunately, I was able to use a brilliant idea of Julia's.

She liked to have things incredibly organized and handy, so her husband, Paul, installed pegboard on one wall of her kitchen where she could hang pots, pans, and utensils.

Here is her impressive wall of culinary armory.

I took a look at my kitchen and noticed that I had an unused wall. I wanted to do the pegboard thing, too. After shopping around online for pegboard, I found panels of galvanized steel pegboard in various colors. My kitchen is basically yellow and blue so, naturally, I went with red pegboard.

Being that my kitchen wall is made of concrete, I had to make a trip to the "man store" (Ace Hardware) for a quarter-inch drill bit -- And borrow a drill from a friend. But after some careful measuring, I was able to successfully mount the unused wall with pegboard.

Yes, the color scheme may look a little bit like a daycare center but, after all, it's my kitchen and I like primary colors.

Cabinets were cleared out of pots and pans and I even treated myself to some new stainless steel utensils. I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to walk into my little kitchen and have all my babies surrounding me like this; all visible, within reach and ready to leap into action.

Tall people will also appreciate this layout. Julia stood six-foot-two and I nudge the underbelly of six-foot-three. No more stooping down, crouching in cabinets for that elusive sauté pan!

So, again, thanks to Julia. Not only for her work as a cookbook author, but for ideas to make my kitchen a happier place to be.

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