Don’t say cooking – that’s too obvious. As a confirmed bachelor I always believed that my kitchen had to be a triumph of function over form. It was never about the look, or even the feel, but much more about how many gizmos and gadgets could I shoehorn into a space. It wasn’t as though I was short of space. Most old farm house kitchens have amply proportioned kitchens and I filled every inch with something stainless steel that did something and then covered the lot with a grey marble work top. Job done.
When I had the kitchen done (shh – a long time ago) I was more than pleased with my pristine stainless steel operating theatre because looking back, that’s about how comfortable it was and pretty much sums up what went on there. I guess it didn’t matter much because the only thing that really happened in there was the surgical removal of the odd tin lid. Beyond that most of the wonderful gizmos in my shiny operating theatre remained untouched.
Popty Ding and the Blessed Delia
Untouched that is, until l decided that food had to be about popty ding meals. I’m not Welsh but I wished I was when I found out the Welsh word for microwave was popty ding – for real – Google it! Anyway, back to my kitchen musings – so I took up cooking. Someone thoughtfully (I didn’t think so at the time) bought me a cookery book from a celebrated, shall we say sainted TV cook and I suddenly learned that cooking was do-able and perhaps more important, enjoyable.
So there I was, me, my redundant popty ding and an increasing number of Delia books on the side and I’m beginning to think about this food lark in a different way. It’s about a little bit of showing off and a lot about looking after people so the next inevitable step was a dinner party. Well, perhaps not a dinner party but do come round for a bite to eat I said.
So menu planned the big night arrived. Three guests a simple menu, cold starter, pre-cooked desert so only a main to worry about and that’s when it dawned. You see my surgical operating theatre, about function and not form was just not good as an entertaining space. With the table laid in the dining room (yes, old fashioned houses have rooms specially for eating) and my guests settled in for the night in front of the log fire, there I was in my surgical surroundings – on my todd. Now, surely this wasn’t the way it was meant to be?
Back to the Drawing Board
After my road to Damascus catering experience I felt that it was time for something new. Time to replace my early 80’s surgical steel with something altogether more modern. So forget the function – let’s think about form – it’s got to be something high gloss white and very sleek I think but then they (the kitchen designers) said think about the practicalities and before I knew it we were back to the function thing again and quite right to. The whole point of a new kitchen (the old one was still as stainless as the day it was installed – that’s what stainless steel does) was to reflect the new way I wanted to use it. Entertaining space had to be created. The dining room was still the dining room, (call me old fashioned but I like to eat without having to confront a sink full of posts and pans every time I look up) but the kitchen became a gathering space for people to sit, stand and lean whilst I was cooking.
You need more than gloss white kitchens to make the kitchen the centre of your home. Lookout for some insightful designers who ask all the right questions before coming up with your design.