Monday, April 27, 2009

The Joy of Cooking

It may seem very funny, but I like to cook. I am not a fancy chef or anything like that, but I like to try my luck and experiment with different foods and things. It is always a nice ending to a busy day of work to get home, take things out of the refrigerator that I am going to make and lose myself in the work of preparing a meal. My normal habit has me opening a bottle of wine and putting on some Mozart on my iPod while I get everything ready to cook. Now I got to admit this is something that drives me buggy about being single. I don’t like cooking alone. Granted Zack is in the family room which is only 20 feet or so from the kitchen. But it just isn’t the same. It was always fun when Patty was alive and healthy for us to work together to prepare the meal and spend a ton of time talking about what had gone on during the day. Of course there are many other things I miss about not having a partner, but that is one that strikes home every single day. I have dealt with the situation and now a lot of time that I am cooking I will call some one on the phone and spend the whole time chatting with them while I cook. It is a poor substitute to having a partner, but for now it will have to do. This evening I made pasta with a semi-homemade meat sauce and an onion, pepper and tomato salad. It wasn’t anything fancy but it took me about 30 minutes to get everything ready. Even though I am alone in my cooking it is still enjoyable to do. I haven’t done a lot of experimenting recently so I think I am going to have a plan a big dinner one of these coming weekends. We haven’t used the dining room table since Thanksgiving as we did a kind of a buffet for Christmas and everyone just ended up hanging out in the kitchen/family room. So we need to have a big dinner for which we use the dinner room table. So as I get my house totally in order, I hope to start having a lot more dinner parties and bbq’s. It will be fun to have more people over and enjoy meals together. As I think of my desire to cook, I keep thinking that the time to redo my kitchen is fast approaching. Let me put in mildly – I HATE MY KITCHEN! It has a wonderful 1980’s style to it. The layout sucks and all the appliances are electric. One year before we moved into this house we totally redid the kitchen in our old house. It wasn’t an over the top remodel, but it we took the kitchen down to the bare walls and put in new cabinets and counter tops. We probably should have replaced all the appliances but we kept them as most of them were pretty new. It made the kitchen a great place to cook and just hang out. Now I need to do the same thing in this old kitchen. Unfortunately, it will cost a lot of money to do that and though I could do it now, I just don’t want to spend all that money while the economy sucks. My plan for the kitchen will be a complete remodel, essentially ripping the kitchen down to the wall studs. I would be changing the foot print of the kitchen so this would necessitate redoing the hardwood floors throughout a good part of the first floor of the house. Currently all of the appliances are electric and I would at least want to put in a gas stove. I don’t mind electric ovens as much but I would really want a gas range. Of course putting a gas line into an existing kitchen would take a fair amount of work. The main utility area of the house is just a short way below the kitchen in the basement. However my office sits directly below the kitchen and the ceiling is finished, so there would be a fair amount of re-work that would have to be done downstairs to make that happen. I would use a floor plan similar to what my brother and sister-in-law used when they re-did their kitchen in 2006. That floor plan would put an island in the middle of kitchen area and put the appliances in a much more useful order. Slab granite counter tops would also be a requirement. Ok – I know I just keep running the price up by all the things that I want. Right now my existing countertops are granite tile which are not good. The grout between the tiles is continually getting stuff on it and it is a real pain in the butt. I know I won’t attempt the kitchen remodel until I get a few more house projects completed. The work on my irrigation system was supposed to start today but it was delayed due to the weather – we had 3 inches of snow here our house this morning. Our day was pretty much a standard Monday. Lots of work stuff for me and lots of school stuff for Zack. He had Sylvan after school today and I had a conference with the academic director at Sylvan. The conference was the routine monthly conference. Nothing extraordinary came out of the conference. Zack is making some progress and I can see some of it in his writing at home, but he does still have work to do. After dinner tonight we have just been hanging out. I recorded a movie on DVR for Zack last night - “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker”. So while I type I am watching that with Zack. He will be heading to bed soon and then I will be getting back to work on various things around here. All-in-all it wasn’t a bad Monday. We hope you all had good Mondays too! Thanks and peace to all. – J.

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