I’m cooking this week for a crowd of high school kids at the Foley Center, the headquarters for the Christian Appalachian Project, in Martin, Kentucky. Really I’m just serving and taking directions from the real cooks who are running the kitchen, and that’s just fine with me. I’m not ready to be in charge of making breakfasts, lunch, and dinner for 60 people, whether they be preschoolers, high-schoolers, or out-of-schoolers.
Yesterday I cooked the pasta; this morning I baked the biscuits, helped with the making of egg casseroles (cracked and beat 9 dozen eggs), and baked a poke cake using ingredients I wouldn’t be caught dead having in my own kitchen. But hey, I’m probably going to try some of it because a little bit of something bad once in awhile isn’t going to kill me.
Okay, so, I try to eat healthy: Buy organic, grow a lot of our own food, and scrutinize ingredients on food boxes at the grocery store. But I’m not a purist. In fact, as I’m writing this post I have a handful of gummy worms by the computer; they were sitting out on the counter in a giant bag, free for anyone. And they taste fun. But this is not going to be a food rant post.
Last night we were baking the garlic toast and getting last minute instructions on how to serve the food. The first batch of twenty-eight pieces of bread got a little, er, dark while we were talking. We had set the timer, but the convection oven cooked them faster than expected. We put them on the bottom of the server, piled the perfectly cooked pieces on top, and hoped we wouldn’t get down to those bottom well done pieces of bread.
But we did. The lady who was slopping food on plates with me jokingly began asking all the kids if they wanted the burnt toast. Of course, no one took any. So I started giving them a choice between dark or light. Suddenly we got some takers. When we called them regular or crunchy, we got more takers.
Now this was not a scientific experiment, but just a lovely lesson on how important words are.
Because those burnt words might taste bad going down… but they taste worse when someone throws them back at you.
Somewhere about last April, I boldly pronounced that the next big project would be to move the kitchen stoves around. Yes, well…
It is January. I’m aware of that. One thing I’ve discovered while writing this blog: even though I write about what is going to happen, that doesn’t mean I have control.(In more ways than one…) I always have big plans in my head! Sometimes Mr. H.C. refuses to listen to those plans; sometimes bigger events happen that always serve to remind me who Is in control.
I’m certain that I whined a lot about the stoves. I had many good reasons to whine:
The Apple Hill stove was still in the living room, while all other utensils, food, pans, etc. were in the bright, pretty new kitchen.
The stove in the cottage was Clara’s ELECTRIC stove, and I know that people will disagree with me about this, but I HATE ELECTRIC stoves because they always burn everything.
We also had to relocate Henry the cat’s food and water; nothing like having to search for your dinner bowl…
There was a large hole in the kitchen where the stove was to go, and it ruined all my photos of the kitchen.
My wonderful gas convection oven, which has never burned anything in its life, was sitting up in the city house cold, unused, and alone.
Switching stoves was definitely an ordeal, but we managed to get them both moved last weekend without dropping either stove on anyone’s foot, without either stove sliding off the dolly, and without anyone hurting his back. And we are filled with relief that we don’t have to switch refrigerators!
Safely inside, still strapped to the dolly. If you look closely, you can tell that it’s not gonna fit…
The thing about this beautiful black range is that it just isn’t regular. It borders on being a built-in, and even though it has the same dimensions as most stoves, there are just a lot of quirks. It was 5/8 of an inch off, and something had to give. It was either cut the soapstone countertop or cut the cabinet or cut the wall. The wall won — the cabinet is now recessed 5/8 of an inch into the wall.
The dry wall was cut out, and the stud at the corner was notched to enable the cabinet to slide back 5/8 of an inch.
Once that side was done we pushed the stove in place, but it wouldn’t go far enough to the back wall. Turns out, the gas hookup had to be lowered. Twice. The floor even had to be cut out around the pipe to get it low enough for the back of the stove.
See the flooring cut out?
I’m blessed to have an even-tempered, patient husband who did not once throw a tool or utter any curses (at least out loud). All told, it took nine and a half hours — we unloaded the stove from the truck at 10 AM and Mr. H.C. turned on the gas around 7:30 PM. (Yes, the pizza delivery guy knows where we live.)
Henry in a prison of his own choosing…
Henry the cat, however, was not even-tempered. The noise of various saws and drills and air compressors drove him to the basement where he sulked all day, hidden behind some boards. This was so unlike our usual placid kitty, we actually thought he had suffered a kitty stroke. It’s not as if he’s never heard power tools before… Mr. H.C. finally took down a box and a blankie and set it near the heater vent. He curled in, and we shut the door to keep out the noise.
It’s a good thing he’s skinny. I had to slide over a ladder and he stepped out on to the ladder rungs to get out.
To busy myself while all this was going on, I cleaned the stove! And I have another gorgeous tip for all you people out there who love organic cleaners. I love to clean with vinegar and baking soda, but I don’t love the smell. (Drum roll, please…)
Put your orange peels in plain old white vinegar and let it sit on your counter for a few days. It smells so wonderful, you can hardly tell it’s vinegar! Well, okay, not quite. But it sure beats the smell of the plain stuff. It smelled so good, I’m going to use some of the next batch for cole slaw dressing. And I’m also going to try it in Olive Oil. Have any of you ever been to a Vom Fass store? Delicious Vinegars and oils in pretty little bottles and very pricey! Yep, I’m makin’ my own Extra Fancy Orange Vinegar!
Back to cleaning the stove — the baking soda and orange vinegar did a perfectly serviceable job of cleaning the top. I had actually cleaned the oven about a month ago in anticipation of moving it, so all I did with the oven was give it a wipe down; but the baking soda and orange vinegar fizzed off the caked-on brown stuff on the glass of the oven door, too. It is so clean, it reflects the floor!
It didn’t take long for it to collect pans, teapots, a utensil jar, and a pretty new towel…
And here’s another shot from a different angle:
Yes, I cleaned and oiled the countertops just for this picture.
Our first meal was baked salmon. And next week I’m baking this Coconut Lemon cake from Foodie with Family for someone’s birthday…I think he deserves it!
Spring brings such a great variety of green colors that all seem to go together so perfectly.
The greens of nature under an apple tree.
Inside, it’s another story — greens don’t always meld together indoors as they do in nature. In the natural world, colors just seem to harmonize; the best color matching is always a close copy of God’s own perfect design.
I learned a new word the other day. Metamerism
Metamerism. (met-TAM-er-ism) It is the effect that light has on color, specifically the type of lighting used to illuminate color and how it affects our perceptions of shades and matching.
Benjamin Moore Blooming Grove
When I think of color and light I tend to get off topic (see post 15. The Color of Light) because the physics and metaphysics of light, color, and sight is amazing to me. How do I know if the beautiful shade of Blooming Grove green in my kitchen is the same color you see?
I don’t. It all comes down to our eyes and the light.
The varieties of light make colors change. Fluorescent lights, incandescent lights, LEDS, those squiggly bulbs…they all make the same color look different. That’s why decorators tell you to paint a giant swatch in your room. The same color that you love in your north-facing kitchen will look different in the south-facing bedroom. That same color will even change in morning light to afternoon light. Think of the sunlight on the trees and how it changes their colors.
And for another example, look at this photo of the kitchen in the late afternoon sun.
Whose kitchen is this anyway?
The green on the door and the green on the wall are the same, but look how the light has changed the colors. The wall looks yellowish-green because of the sun streaming in the window. And not only the greens, look at the different shades of white on the walls and ceiling that the shadows and sunlight produced. The walls, ceilings, and cabinets are all Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk, though they are different sheens. The sheen of paint –semi-gloss, matte, satin — also affects the color we see because different sheens reflect the light differently. I think (no scientific proof behind this at all) that our eyes adjust to some of this. We see the different shades, yet our brain knows they are the same color.
The ceiling and the cabinets and the crown moulding are all painted with Sherwin Williams Steamed Milk.
I’m thinking about colors again because as we are winding down the kitchen project, we find ourselves looking around, wondering what the NEXT BIG PROJECT will be. Granddaughter Olivia voted for the Dining Room/Living Room combo because, as she says, “You walk right from the kitchen into THIS.”
Under construction… and yes, that is a clothes dryer right next to the stove! It’s good for hiding dirty dishes.
See the green wall on the left in the above photo? That is the dining room wall. The Dining Room/Living Room is an upside down L-shape and open to the kitchen. So it matters that the colors in the Dining/Living area co-ordinate with the bold green of the kitchen. I vaguely thought of this once, but now I’m thinking of it more… I don’t want Blooming Grove Green anywhere else in the house, except possibly as an accent in the mudroom. I’ve looked at the next colors down on the color chart from Blooming Grove; Apple Froth is a possibility, but it might be a little, well, frothy…(I do like the name, though.)
There is a great website for those who love color called Design Seeds. If you’ve never heard of it, definitely click on that link above. I am totally jealous of this idea — I wish I’d thought of it! Here is an example:
This is called Fig Hues from Design-Seeds. I love these colors, but Mr. H.C. doesn’t like blue…
She takes colorful photographs–from nature, architecture, food, animals — and separates the colors for a palette. Here are four palettes that I particularly like for the living/dining area.
Tropical Greens. All these greens melding in nature — this is what I had in mind. I think the one shade of olive brown would have to be cinnamon though (for our leather couch…)
Planted Hues. Not sure about the light rose color here; it might work with our furniture. We have antiques.
Forest Tones. This is my current favorite. I love how all the greens go together, and there is the rust of our couch in there too.
Bamboo Tones. These three greens are quite nice together and the creamy color is very similar to the off-whites we’ve been using.
And so now, readers, we are doing some audience participation once again. Which of the above palettes is your favorite? Make your choice of the above palette by June 2nd, and, using your best words, say why you like it most. The loveliest worded entry will receive a FREE BOOK on decorating. (I get to pick the winner — it’s my blog after all…) The book is a copy of either Perfect English Farmhouse or Perfect English Cottageboth by Ros Byham Shaw, and you can read my post on these books here. (One of the books belongs to my son-in-law, and he gets first dibs.)
Please enter only once.This is a “like-new” book. I read it — hey, if you read my last post, you know why I’m having book giveaways…No one is responsible for this give-away but me, and no one is making any money on it, and I bought the book with good hard-earned money, and I’m paying the postage for the winner to receive it. :-)If you live outside the United States, it doesn’t decrease your chance of winning, but it does seem likely that you won’t get your book as quickly. (My son sent me a postcard from New Zealand in December, and I received it just a few weeks ago in April.)Choose your favorite palette below.
June 4, 2013 Oh, it was so hard to pick the winner — you all had such good comments, and lovely phrases. Thank you each one for commenting, and I wish I had a decorating book to send each of you. Full of Grace-DJ is the winner of Ros Byham Shaw’s book.