Encyclopedia of Me Monday: K is for...

An inordinate amount of time is spent in my kitchen, certainly not because of its charm or efficacy, or because I have such stellar skills to practice there. In fact, the kitchen here is cramped and slightly dark, designed poorly with a door to the backyard right in the middle which takes up much needed space. It's barely big enough for two people to sit down and eat together, and preparing any kind of complex meal is a challenge with about 12 inches of bare counter space. But it's the place we seem to end up most often, whether to make coffee, grab a handful of cookies, let the dogs in or out (that ridiculous door), or just lean against the counter talking.

I harbor dreams about bright, spacious kitchens, with one of those cooking islands in the middle, copper pots hanging overhead. I imagine people gathered around, sipping wine, sneaking bites of whatever gourmet feast I'm preparing for them.

But whenever I'm tempted to blame my lack of culinary prowess on the size of my kitchen, I recall a television special a few years ago with Julia Child and Wolfgang Puck, cooking together in Julia's home kitchen. These two world reknowned chefs prepared a five course meal in a kitchen no bigger than a breadbox - a galley kitchen with not more than a square foot of empty counterspace anywhere. They were literally bumping into each other at every turn, and by the time they were done, not an inch of space wasn't occupied by a dirty bowl, pot, or dish.

Yet, they laughed, and talked, and sampled, and finally served a glorious meal.

So no excuses in my kitchen, which is grandiose by those standards.

Then again, I'm not Julia Child.

The kitchen is often called the "heart of the home," and for all it's shortcomings, I have to admit my little kitchen often serves that purpose.