Traditional Texas Food
Articles about Texas' most famous foods
by John Raven, Ph.B.
My Dream Kitchen
Not long ago one of my faithful readers emailed and wanted to know why I have not done an article on my dream kitchen. To be truthful, I had not thought about it. I will now correct the oversight.
My present kitchen has 22.5 square feet of floor space. That is about the size of a decent office desk. Three sides are cabinet, stove and refrigerator space. The Keebler Elves would have a hard time getting things done in there. However after ten years of practice I do quite well in the limited space.
My dream kitchen would be a bit larger, say 20' X 30'. One side would be open to the giant living room. Two of the remaining walls would be countertop and cabinets. The third wall for the appliances. Stove, refrigerator, microwave, two conventional ovens and maybe a convection oven. Notice there is no dishwasher. I have no use for those things.
I want a food prep island in the middle of the room. It will have a double sink and the pull out drawer type coolers like Martha Stewart has. I'd like to have some space at the counter that is lower so I can work sitting down if I am tired.
The most important appliance, the stove, will be fueled by gas. You can change the temperature on a gas range instantly whereas the electric takes time to heat up or cool down.
Four burners on the stove will be enough for me. I seldom use over three. I would like to have a range with the grill that has the side vents to remove the fumes. The range top must be simple to dismantle for cleaning. Even an expert such as myself lets things boil over every once in a while. Above the range will be a big vent-a-hood with the power to suck the paint off your Chevrolet. It will be silent when it runs. I detest all conversation in my house having to cease when the vent is running.
The principal use of dishwashers is to store dishes between meals.I want two built in ovens and a big microwave oven with a browning attachment. You can't just fry everything.
For the ice box ( refrigerator to you young people) I need the big double door variety. Ice box on one side, freezer on the other side. It would be nice to have one of them things in the door that makes ice cubes. The ice box/freezer will have shelves and bins that are easy to remove and clean. I don't want to have to get a screwdriver to remove a shelf.
The array of cabinets will have places to store all pots and pans and the hardware required to run a decent kitchen. I do not want one of them pot racks hanging overhead for me to bump my head on all the time. It is also a good place for the flies to rest.
There will also be a double sink in the cabinet counter for washing dishes. There will be lights under all the upper cabinets so the counter is lit in all areas.
Together in Electric DreamsNow for the fun things. The small appliances.
Number one requirement for a person of my advanced years is a coffee maker. Nothing fancy. Where I live the water is full of minerals and a coffee maker will clog up in a couple of months. I just buy the least expensive one I can find and throw it away when it gets too slow.
Next comes a good food processor. The food processor can save so much time when you are slicing or dicing in quantities. I want one that has enough power to mix breads and one that does not require a mechanical engineer to change operations.
The food processor's older brother, the blender, is a must have. The blenders will chop or dice things much finer than the FP. You can also make some great "smoothies" in them for your heart healthy diet.
I bake a lot so a Kitchen-Aid mixer is a must-have. I want the big one with all the attachments. You can get attachments to grind meat, stuff sausage, roll out pasta and open cans. I do want one of the plastic shields that will keep it from throwing flour all over the kitchen when I am making bread.
A regular size electric can opener would be nice. I want one that cuts the can from the side rather than from the top. I have a hand cranked side cutter and it is great. There are no sharp edges on anything after you open the can.
A portable hand mixer and a portable blender that you can stick in a pot would be real handy.
A four slice toaster would pretty much round out my small appliance stock.
On the prep island would be a nice selection of quality knives in a proper holder.
I'd have a big drawer full of assorted tools. Tongs, forks, spoons, and the like. Throw in a selection of sieves in another part of the cabinet.
Of course I'll have a nice assortment of pots, pans, baking pans, roasting pans and whatever else catches my fancy. I do have a cast iron skillet that has been in the family for a hundred years or more. I might hang that on the wall as a trophy.
I'll round it out with a variety of serving platters and bowls.
That about describes my dream kitchen. If I had one of the kitchen planner programs I could draw you a picture of it but I ain't so I'll just send a photo of my present kitchen and you can marvel at the fact that I can ever get anything done in that broom closet.. Happy Holidays to all.
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