Tuesday, October 15, 2013

someone's in the kitchen with steven

Now that we have our squirrels and coconuts sorted out, let's get down to some real business.

Blogger pal John Calypso has been challenging the rest of blogdom to show everyone our stuff.  It started with our computer set-ups and moved on to our laundry facilities.  (I suspect he is in league with the local burglar union.  He's got a little list.)

And now it is kitchens.

Before we shift too deeply into this topic, John has given us the impression that the way we live just may be a reflection of our personalities.  And there is a kernel of truth in the assumption.

But, in my case, I need to toss in a gain of salt as big as Gibraltar.  I am a renter.

Not only am I am renter, I live by the put-everything-in-the-Escape-within-an-hour rule.  As a result, even though I have lived in this house for four years, almost nothing here is mine.  If I moved out today, it would look almost exactly as it looks in these photographs.

Having said that, there is a story about the house and the kitchen.

My first rental was on the beach.  In a three-bedroom home.  With a large kitchen.  I thoroughly enjoyed having that amount of space to chop and cook local produce.

When it was time to move on, I looked at probably two dozen places around Melaque, Barra de Navidad, and La Manzanilla (affectionately known as San Miguel de Allende West around here).  One thing I wanted was a large kitchen.  And, as you have undoubtedly discovered from other Mexican blogs, large kitchens are as rare as tender beef in this part of Mexico.

I almost did not rent this place when I saw how small the kitchen is.  (The whole unit is smaller than most apartments in The States.)  But the kitchen did not matter once I saw the garden and my access to the laguna and its wildlife.

It turns out I was far too quick in my summary judgment of the kitchen.  It meets my cooking needs perfectly.

After all, what do I need in a kitchen?  A cold place to store perishables.  A pantry to store non-perishables.  Counter space to prepare food.  A cooking surface to -- well, cook.  And a sink for washing up.

I have all of that.

The only things (other than food) that belong to me are the pots and pans I brought from The States. That was my smartest import. Mexican cookware is almost as thin as aluminum foil.

The greatest oddity in my kitchen are the cabinets.  Most Mexican homes have open shelving to store goods.  And for a good reason.  Closed doors can lead to the growth of mold.  You would not believe some of the funky odors that can be created when dinnerware is put away damp in a closed, dark space.

And nasty creatures love hiding in those same dark spaces.  I have learned not to stick my hand in the cabinet and to search around blindly for what I want.

I was raised in a family that always had a full pantry.  After all, you never knew when financial or political situations would interrupt the food supply.

I have continued that mindset down here.  The kitchen has a modest -- but adequate pantry -- where I can store canned and dry goods. I have learned one lesson, though.

In Oregon, I could keep soup cans on the shelf for a decade past their pull date (and live to tell the tasting tale).  That is not possible here.  A can stored for more than about six months will begin to rust through.  Those cans I throw out.

So there it is.  My kitchen.  Perfectly functional.

The sad part is that my comings and goings keep me from cooking as much as I would like.

And it does not look as if I will be spending much time in the kitchen here for at least another half year.

Maybe that is why it has proved to be adequate.

No comments: