Tag Archives: kitchen

admiring: josie double old-fashioned glass

The glass situation in our house was getting pretty desperate. We were down to one meal’s worth of glasses – if the dishwasher wasn’t run, then the next meal found us scrambling for some type of drinking vessel. We’d resort to various coffee cups, a china tea cup, or occasionally even mason jars or a random glass candle votive that resides in the same cupboard.

We held off buying more glasses because we really loved our first set of drinking glasses – they were sturdy pint glasses with a nice shape, and coordinating juice glasses. Over fifteen years their ranks have dwindled, we’ve replaced juice cups with the occasional IKEA set, and so we ended up having about seven random glasses in the cabinet at any one time. I wanted to wait on any kitchen purchases until our new kitchen was done – less to pack up, and a clean slate to slowly build up lasting pieces that we would have and use forever. But let’s be real, glasses don’t last forever. They get dropped or chipped, and at some point – perhaps the point where you consider drinking directly from the milk carton – it’s time to replace them.

I went to Crate&Barrel, because they have a great selection, and it’s really easy to see everything in one place and make a decision. Somehow it still took me an hour. I wanted to start with sets of eight and then maybe add four to each set. I wanted two sizes – a pint glass and a juice glass. But then I also wanted stemware, and what about that new cocktail cookbook I just got, and the occasional smoothies, and the more than occasional ice cream, and I really have three mismatched stems for wine, so there’s that too… It was easy to get carried away.

Which is why I’m really excited about what I ended up buying.

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A few people noticed them in this Instagram photo. It’s the new Josie Double Old-Fashioned Glass. I loved the weight of it, and I loved the detail on it, although it was the opposite of the simple, clean lines I was looking for. It reminds me of a pretty mint julep cup, and I could see it with tiny flowers in it, or sauces, or jams.

josie-double-old-fashioned-glass

I started to think that maybe it was a glass that could do a lot of things – it could work as a juice glass at breakfast, hold milk for the girls at dinnertime, look pretty with a nice summer cocktail (like the photo from the website below)…

josie-glasses (1)

…and look really sweet with a few scoops of ice cream.

I tested out that theory the other night and it worked!

Ice Cream Cup

Perfect. (Plus I loved the name – my grandmother’s name!)

I picked up eight, and I think I might go back for four more. They really are super versatile. I also got eight of these pint glasses – they have a great heft to them. Good for ice water at dinner, or perfect for one of the zillion local summer beers we have to look forward to this season.

kitchen zones (that have nothing to do with triangles)

I spent quite a few minutes this spring sitting in waiting rooms – lots of doctor appointments and x-rays. I won’t say all of those minutes were super productive (um, Candy Crush), but I did manage to scribble and fill half a notebook with kitchen and addition and garden ideas. One of those turned into a list of kitchen tools that we use on a regular basis. I made a list (and was surprised at how very long it was). I challenge you to do the same and see if you find it’s the same way. It’s really incredible how much lurks beyond the cabinet doors.

I see our new kitchen as having three zones:

Galley Kitchen
(High-Functioning) Island / Buffet
Pantry / Dining Room Server

I focused first on the galley area, which conveniently divides into three different zones:

Food Prep + Clean Up
Assembly
Cooking

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I group Food Prep and Clean Up together on purpose – first, because I like to do those two things together as much as possible, and second, because everything really comes full circle between those two zones. Additionally, if my blog posts were required to have some sort of thesis statement instead of being a random collection of thoughts and images, mine might just be a personal theory that the Food Prep + Clean Up is the main reason why people “don’t like to cook / never cook / think cooking is hard”. I get it, because that is exactly what I thought. I had to be very intentional about changing my thinking (and habits) in those two areas.

Cooking (and baking) is messy. You can confine yourself to recipes that have “Easy’, Ten-Minute-, No Mess-, One Pot-, No-Prep-” title starters if you’d like, and maybe they’ll even work for you. But those recipes are usually assembly recipes – putting together a few already assembled parts. It’s starting with whole ingredients and ending up with dinner that makes the big mess – there’s chopping and pouring and measuring and mixing and roasting and plating and dozens of other -ing verbs involved. Even if you don’t pre-assemble all your ingredients in little glass bowls like I obsessively do, it still uses tools, and tools require cleaning. In those early days of trying to wean myself off of food assembly, the transition to cooking was a huge mess. Dinner would get on the table, but the rest of the kitchen looked like a crime scene – if the crime committed was dirtying every single bowl and spatula and skillet in a fifty mile radius. Dinner would end and then we’d have to face the music – or simply go upstairs and ignore it. Ignoring it meant there was no room to make breakfast, and the cycle would continue – we’d arrive home tired and hungry, and the prospect of tackling the kitchen for half an hour before we could even start to make dinner was discouraging. A messy sink is the gateway drug to takeout.

I’ve tried to fight through the messy sink syndrome while cooking, but the results are never pretty because the Most Important Step of all is overlooked – Food Prep. Food Prep is often that hidden little time-suck gem at the start of a recipe. It disguises itself in the ingredient list and can look very innocuous – one yellow onion, chopped, two gloves of garlic, finely minced, 8 oz of tofu, drained and pressed, or the worst kind – one cup of roasted tomatoes (see page 214), and page 214 requires five different ingredients, a preheated oven and 45-50 minutes of roasting time before you can even think about starting on dinner. I’d start to do the math in my head, and because I didn’t want to eat dinner at nine o’clock that night, I’d be lured into combining the food prep step with the clean up the last night’s mess step. I’d get water boiling on the stove, oven preheating, skillet warming – all while unloading the dishwasher and reloading it. Onions and garlic would need to go in first, but then I’d realize they just need a super quick hit before burning, and meanwhile I’ve still got to find, rinse (in a loaded sink), measure and chop the next steps, and before I knew it the garlic was burning and the water was boiling over and I was resorting to quick stashing everything onto any open surface in an effort to salvage dinner.

Lightbulb moment. The kitchen has to be clean when you start. The ingredients need to be assembled. The tools need to be out and ready, before you begin. I make myself do this in a very simple way. I pull everything on the list out onto a clean countertop. I prep every single item in the recipe and place it in a bowl at the ready. I arrange it all on the cutting board, snap a photo (you know the drill Instagram buddies), and then I start. Sometimes recipes have downtime in them, but instead of cleaning or frantically prepping for the next step, I can set the table or enjoy a glass of wine or hand wash some of those tools I’m done with, or read a book or two to the little one.

Sometimes recipes are as simple as prepping ingredients and then cooking with them. Some have some middle steps that require assembling the prepared ingredients into another form – baking always does. Knowing how I like to organize the act of cooking and baking helps me better think through how I want the work horse of the kitchen to be laid out – from left to right – getting out ingredients from pantry and fridge, food prep and cleanup in the first zone, assembly in the middle (including the island, not shown yet, for larger baking endeavors), cooking at the end. Understanding exactly which tools and appliances / fixtures we use during each step will help us better plan the storage aspect of the kitchen as we move into more detailed drawings.

Kitchen 1

i’m doing it again

Back in the first days out of surgery I started sketching more on the kitchen / addition idea, and I swore that I’d stop trying to get everything just exactly right and start sharing more of the practice. That is not an easy thing for me. I get started and then I want to tweak it more and more, and get everything just exactly right, and then add even more detail… so I’m doing it again.

Snapping myself out of it right now, avoiding the wordy post, exporting one image and calling it a night. Here’s where I am on the kitchen model. The hold up has been on the island component because I have so many (coolish) ideas for it, but it’s just ridiculous to try and model it in the evening hours when I should be doing other things. (Like adding skillets and kitchen knives into the model.)

Kitchen 1

Click images to enlarge – they are so much easier to see that way.

I started cooking this past week again, so stay tuned for the return of the “let’s eat” posts and another giveaway! And since I’m standing at my counter again, I’ve been thinking through (and stepping out) the spaces between my imaginary layouts in my head. Here are a few of the items.

Kitchen 1 copy

1. Extra deep countertops! This is something both of us would love to have. If we gutted the kitchen, we could probably take advantage of a little more space where we initially furred out the walls to mask the old chimney bumpout. Every inch counts in a galley kitchen. I’d love to have 30″ countertops – as shown here – and with no upper cabinets, the reach isn’t a big issue.

2. Dishwasher would go here, maybe with a panel to match the other cabinets. I’d like the appliances to be in the backdrop – everything except that killer stove and hood!

3. Integrated knife storage – I love my Bodum knife storage so much – I’d like the exact same insert / concept, just concealed into the countertop itself. It’s brilliant.

4. Drawers, drawers, drawers. No cabinets doors anywhere. I’ll do a post on drawers soon – when I use to design more high end kitchens we did drawers with integrated storage solutions and they are so much easier to use than base cabinets.

5. Wood shelves and pegs. – It’s hard to see in this view, but you’ll see them soon in other views of the room – shelves with oven essentials, and pegs to display the cutting board collection that I haven’t even started yet.

6. Tile, tile, tile. A whole huge wall of it.

7. Integrated refrigerator/freezer and drawers – the thought of having drawers that can shift to accommodate birthday parties full of ice creams, and then shift back to produce storage makes me sort of giddy.

8. My dream range.

There’s more to the model, like the walk in pantry and storage, and those islands I mentioned, but I have to break this thing into little steps or I get mired down in the big picture. Here are some of the earlier posts on the subject – here, here, here, and here. See you tomorrow with that giveaway.