January 11, 2004
Cooking Without Countertops

Given the supercold weather and the fact that the fridge, cooktop, and microwave are all functional, we decided to try to do some cooking this weekend. I made chickpea, red bean, and asparagus marsala with brown rice and lentil pilaf for dinner last night, and this morning I cooked some Irish oatmeal (the kind that takes 30 minutes, not five). Both were excellent, though the oatmeal had some unwanted sawdust in it on account of the fact that nobody vacuumed out the vent fan in the microwave. I should have tested that before turning it on over a boiling pot.

So far two things about the cooktop puzzle us: (1) One knob is different from the other three. I think it's because the burner can either be small or large, but it's not clear which half of the knob corresponds to which size. An experiment is probably in order. (2) A light is (still) illuminated on the cooktop, even though no burner is on, and the surface is completely cool. The light seems to correspond to that two-size burner.

It was a bit tricky cooking without countertops (and without running water in the kitchen—or anywhere in the house for most of Saturday), and running back and forth from living room to bedroom to kitchen with pots, plates, and utensils was kind of a pain, but we were so excited to be able to cook at all that we hardly noticed.

One other thing I hardly noticed: Al. Small as our kitchen is, there's actually a place for him to stand in there that's not in the way when I'm doing the cooking. Our kitchen in Mountain View was considerably larger, but it had a work square rather than a work triangle—which meant there was no room for stationary visitors. In this kitchen, anyone who wants to hang out can lean against the cabinets on the dining room wall, next to the pantry. We're also thinking about getting a bench for the hall outside the kitchen, which could house anyone who didn't want to stand—and which could also serve as a useful spot for lacing up or removing shoes.

Posted by Lori at January 11, 2004 07:38 PM