Home on the range

The Weekend Australian - Life - - LIFE - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

The dream kitchen has been in­stalled in the beach house in all its white and shiny glory. This will be our exit kitchen, the one from which we will be car­ried off to the great black yon­der.

Through var­i­ous mar­riages, hous­ing of var­i­ous sizes and stan­dards, bossy cats, skit­tish gold­fish, a blended bunch of chil­dren and now two grand­kids, I have dreamt of the ul­ti­mate kitchen, the one with an is­land bench as big as the con­trol deck on the Star­ship En­ter­prise and an oven ca­pa­ble of roast­ing a bi­son. And now here it is. Golly, where to start. There are pre­cisely shaped drawer com­part­ments for odd­ments from sticky-out tem­per­a­ture gauges and long bar­be­cue tools to scis­sors in three sizes and mo­jito mud­dlers. We have had to go on a buy­ing spree to stock up on all the clever, fid­dly things we didn’t know ex­isted, let alone needed. A por­ridge spur­tle, condi­ment gun or a spaghetti spin­ner, any­one? My chap is the chef and now he has a stove wor­thy of a pro­fes­sional, with baf­fling pan­els of knobs and wok burn­ers and ro­tis­series and who knows what else — cer­tainly I don’t, as the cook­ing “range” is ter­ri­fy­ing. Love that word range, so Amer­i­can, makes me think of Ben, Adam, Lit­tle Joe and Hoss, which is pretty funny as our kitchen style is the Pon­derosa. The sales­man couldn’t tell us why, any more than he was able to ex­plain the dif­fer­ences be­tween the Sa­van­nah, the Rus­tique and the Cape Cod. Heck, our Bo­nanza homage doesn’t even have a batwing sa­loon door or a hitch­ing rail for the horses.

We also don’t have suf­fi­cient match­ing wine glasses and pretty crock­ery to dis­play in the glass-fronted cup­boards. We have never had a trash com­pactor or a proper pantry … So much grind­ing! So many shelves! Who knew about things such as a built-in herb rack!

The ap­pli­ances are Ger­man and op­er­ate with split­sec­ond ef­fi­ciency. The dish­washer pings like a mad thing if the door is not firmly closed. The clothes dryer in the ad­join­ing util­ity room growls out an­nounce­ments when the cy­cle has ended. Ach­tung!

I don’t know what scares me more — that we are so grown up we ac­tu­ally have a util­ity room or that ma­chines have been in­vented that bark out or­ders.

So while win­ter is not yet upon us, we re­treat to the out­door kitchen and fire up the bar­bie. Yes, an out­door kitchen. It re­ally is a sim­ple af­fair, a bit like camp­ing but with a built-in wine fridge and be­spoke bench­top tiles from north­ern In­dia.

And soon, my chef tells me, there will be a three­r­ing paella burner on a cus­tom-made stand. Hold those prairie ponies, I think he’s about to go stir crazy.

STURT KRYGS­MAN

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