Sunday, September 30, 2007

Beginning a new blog

2 John 1:6 "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."

I have another blog which I am very used to, but I am a bit baffled by this one. I think I have it so that I can be a Daring Baker. I need to talk to someone about this. But we will see what happens.

I will begin by showing a picture of my stove, which is in my "French Kitchen". My husband and I designed it ourselves. It all began when I spotted an absolutely beautiful stove on the internet. My very clever husband found out what it was and how it could be bought. We have the wonderful privelege of living only 200 miles from the only store in America that sells the Lacanche. We drove right up there to see it. It didn't take long to decide that we wanted to have one, dispite the fact that it is expensive and our entire kitchen would need to be remodled.

We were told that the stove would be delivered in seven months. This was good, because we were going to need all the time we could get. The entire kitchen had to be torn out, right down to the large slanting boards that have space between then. We had already removed the ceiling, due to a plumbing accident in the second floor bathroom. All the old cabinets were carefully removed, mostly to be re-used, and some bits to be turned into new parts to the kitchen.

The kitchen measures 18 feet by 11 feet. When we removed everything we could see that at one time the space had actually been three rooms. The previous owner of our house was an interior designer for the largest remodel company in town, and I think that she "cut her teeth" on our house. I had been in the house as a child, so I knew that many changes had occured in the fifties, but her changes took place in the seventies. What I wanted was an old look. The typical French kitchen does not look slick and shiney, but well used. So when I say that I have a French kitchen, I don't mean the knew high-end American kind of French kitchen, but something that one could possibly find in France.

In order to get the stove in we had to take a window out and put in a smaller one. We found the perfect window at Rejuvenation House Parts. Not only was it the right size, but the glass in it was wavey, just like in our house. The window was $20, and the installation was $600. We decided to also get a Meile wall oven, and we used some of the wood from the unneeded cabinets to make the place to hold it, below the counter. That was where the refrigerator used to be. There was no place in the kitchen for the refrigerator, so we put it in the back room. It's hardly far away at all, and the kitchen is so much better without it.

This is a picture of the new window.

After a great deal of hemming and hawing we decided to put in travertine for the floor. I really like it, but the person who installed it did not do his best work in our kitchen. He stuck down blocks of stone that really weren't up to snuff. It's really hard to get the bad tiles up after they have been layed in cement. But it is such a nice feel walking on the stone with bare feet, and it never creaks like all the rest of the floors in our house.

My husband found the hardest bit in the remodel was reinstalling the old cabinets. It was unbelievably hard to get it all level. We told the problem to a remodler who lived a few house down, and he recommended a young man to come and help. He was just what we needed. It took the two of them six hours to get the cabinets set right. Then the next step was the counters, but it seemed to take the woodworkers quite a long time. The stove came and Thanksgiving came and still no counters. My mom decided that she needed my help for making thanksgiving dinner for about 35 people. So with the lacanche sitting towards the middle of the kitchen with no water or counters, we set up a church table close to the stove and the back door and went to work. I used a huge Chinese tea kettle that Riley had bought for me in Hong Kong (so I wouldn't melt it again) to get water from the back yard. We had two very big bowls of water, one for washing and one for rinsing. There was also the kitchen tables to work on. My daughters and I had a blast cooking like this. It felt so much like the old days. We made five pies, a fabulous stuffed turkey, candied yams and sweet potatoes, and probably something else. My Lacanche proved to be the absolute best stove in the whole world. Really!!! My pies were so perfectly cooked that my brothers weren't sure I had cooked them correctly because they weren't burned in spots like Mom's pies.

A few days after Thanksgiving we got the thick wooden counter and hot and cold running water, the stove put in place, and the Meile oven and dishwasher installed, and a French porcelain sink and Swiss faucet. It is so much fun to have a kitchen of ones own design. Though I have to confess that it is not yet finished. There's Laura Ashley wallpaper to go up. I've had it for 20 years, always meant for the kitchen. It's called Rectory Garden. And there is only a sheet of tin behind the stove. We can't decide on what we really want there. The woodwork needs painting, and there is no molding at the ceiling. I really do need to get on to finishing it.

One of my favorite things in the kitchen, besides the stove, is a painting by a French artist that hangs on the west wall over the baking area. It's by Therese Albert and the subject is a French scene. We inherited the painting and the kitchen was the only place with a wall big enough for it, but it's just where I really want it.