Have your kitchen appliances been wired in or are you still “camping”?
I don’t know how you’ve coped with a slow cooker as your only appliance.
I am looking forward to moving into my new kitchen. It is a farmhouse kitchen: the bench is brushed stainless steel, the sink is large, the oven can handle a shearers’ roast and I have a scullery. I have always wanted a scullery. A scullery is a little room with a sink in it. It’s where you hide all the cooking mess, leaving the kitchen a gleaming showpiece, a false tribute to your efficiency.
My scullery has a special cupboard to house Bertha. When I told the kitchen designer I needed a space for my bread-maker, she said that she’d make a little nook on the bench for it. I said, “No, you don’t quite understand. My bread-maker weighs 83kg and it stands almost a metre high.” The designer drew up a special nook like an enlarged broom cupboard.
Bertha, a spiral dough mixer, was an impulse purchase on a wet day. I was kneading dough, my wrists were sore and I thought, “I can’t keep doing this”. I rushed to the computer and googled “dough mixers”. Soon I was talking about dough mixers with a very funny man in Auckland.
I explained that I wanted to replace myself with a machine. “Yeah, good one. The DM-A20 Spiral will be just the job, but you do realise you’ll never have clean fingernails again? Bread dough cleans your nails, you know.” “Um…” I said. “Does the mixer come with a complimentary nail brush then?” He laughed. I ordered my spiral mixer. He promised he’d have it on the courier that night.
Two days later the phone rang. It was our neighbour Barry. In a puzzled voice he said, “I’ve got a giant cake mixer in my yard. Has it got something to do with you?” The courier, unable to find us, had dumped my mixer in the nearest yard. I’d hoped to keep my outrageous new kitchen appliance a secret, at least until I’d used it. Secrets are just so hard to keep in the country.
I will never be able to eat other people’s home-cooked bread again, now that I know the dirt under a bread-maker’s fingernails finds a new home in the bread. And, no,
I don’t have a machine for bread, or many machines for anything at all. I do have an espresso pot but I don’t think that’s a machine – it has no moving parts.
It’s interesting what people put into their houses to make them homes. When Mia moved into son Robert’s flat, the first thing she bought were shoe racks. The flatmates’ piles of running shoes, boots and jandals disappeared. Orderly rows of high heels took their place. Just that one change alerted visitors that here lived a woman and that this wasn’t a flat. This was home.
Before Mia, the three flatmates’ style was typical: three saggy couches facing a wall-mounted TV and a sound system of tall speakers and stacks of CD player, amps, computers, CDs and DVDs. It all looked like a model of the New York skyline. Mia next bought a table and chairs. “Who needs a table?” moaned Robert. She was in the process of sedentism, which means settling down, making a home.
I had sold a cosy cottage in Thorndon, moved to Auckland and decided life was too short for any more sedentism. Leave it to the young, I told everyone. I’ll rent somewhere, or lurk in a relative’s spare room. But within days of arriving I’d begun to look in fabric shop windows. I’d visited garden centres. I’d started to long for a garden and a nice sunny spot in a lounge with a comfy chair and a good reading lamp.
I stayed in a friend’s sleepout in Kingsland for a month. Within days of moving in I’d curtained off sections with striped cotton ticking material. I’d bought a couple of vases and borrowed a glass-topped table. I realised I wasn’t cut out to be a nomad.
Now I’m settled in my new city cottage and my idea of a fun way to spend this weekend is to make curtains. Oh, so I do have a machine, a sewing machine. I’ll invite a friend around to help me deal with the metres of fabric. We’ll have a wine or two – but no bread, definitely not home-made bread – and we’ll transform two bay windows.