|One Woman's Renovation...
||[Sep. 23rd, 2010|10:33 am]
...is another woman's pot lid rack. One of my friends has, from time to time, had renovations going on at her house. A huge one is just finishing up. Every time this happens, I look at my house, ponder the cost (not just money--time, mess, chaos) and--unless something falls through the floor--slap a coat of paint on a room (or scrub a wall) and leave it alone. This is why her house is so much better looking than our house, but we're both happy with our individual strategies.
However, the acquisition of some new pots this year brought up the matter of the 60 year old kitchen--and not the kind of 60 year old kitchen (now usually in 100 year old kitchens) that has high ceilings and lots of space. It's perfectly adequate for "small" cooking (defrosting a frozen something, scrambling a couple of eggs) but less so for cooking that requires (or rewards) larger batches of stuff and thus requires space to store larger pots. Storage for one frying pan, one saucepan, one cookie sheet? More than adequate. The 20 quart stock pot? Not so much. Pots for slow cooking of soups and stews made with that stock? Hmmm. One form of logic says go back to early-adulthood cooking--the one frying pan, one saucepan, one baking sheet (oh, and a pie pan and a couple of pans for brownies or meat loaf) arrangement. It's more than adequate...sort of.
Earlier in the year, when our son moved to an apartment, I cleared out the hall closet (just across the hall from the kitchen) and declared it to be a pantry. Needed a pantry. Had needed a pantry a long time. Took a storage unit out of his former closet and put it in there, and now have a way to keep potatoes and onions (for instance) in the dark, but dry and ventilated. This also provided storage for the big stock pots (nested, sitting on top of the storage unit.) Recently (since the planned shelving wasn't getting built, due to needing to write the book first) decided to hang the All-Clad frying pan and its larger companion the saute pan in the pantry, above the storage unit on one side. The wood framing that supported the closet pole is strong enough to hold the long nails. The saute pan, however, has a lid. So does the smaller stock pot. So do the old Revere-Ware saucepans (large, medium, small--ranging in age from 60 to about 40 years old) which I'm not replacing. If I hang pans on a wall (there is only one candidate wall) the pot lids can't sit on them. And for some (the saucepans) the lids aren't always in use, and form a clattering tangle in the drawer under the oven or the narrow cabinet between stove and refrigerator, the best place to store baking sheets, cutting boards, and wire racks.
So, in the kind of backward engineering that drove my engineer mother to a mix of tears and laughter, I decided to start with a rack for pot lids. Not a purchased rack, because the racks I found online were as unsuitable for this kitchen as a hanging pot rack would be--taking up too much space along the one free wall where the kitchen table has to be.
Now four pot lids are in their new rack (a length of wood, spaced out from the wall with two smaller pieces of wood, screwed to the wall above and behind the stove.) More pot lids are still in other less handy places, but it's a start. Or maybe it's the finish...well, not quite, because the nail to hold the saute pan should actually be hammered into the pantry wall today.
Some will say I have too many pots. The definition of "not enough/enough/too many" varies with the kind of cooking you do. I've discarded as many pots as I've bought (though not equal for equal--I had two RevereWare frying pans, one inherited from my mother; their replacements are two quite different items.) I had been using two RevereWare dutch ovens several times a week; the replacements are heavier, with better heat-distributing and heat-holding, and I've used them every week since I bought them. Not all cooks cook the same way. Not all homeowners cook much. (My friend with the beautiful house doesn't like to cook.)
We eat a lot of homemade soup...so the possession of more than one soup pot is very handy indeed. Not necessary--but handy. This week, for instance, I'm making a big soup, for which the 8 quart stock pot will be used. Half of it is going to a family that was flooded out week before last. I'm also making bread, a loaf of which will go with the soup to X's family. In the history of the soup is the 20 quart stock pot in which the stock was made and the roasting pan in which the bones for the stock were bakedprior to going into the stock pot. (And for those who don't make large amounts of stock, which is probably most people, you don't get 20 quarts of stock out of a 20 quart stock pot. I get 7-8 quarts, in the end, and it takes days. Most people, quite sensibly, buy their stock in a store. But when you have cow bones...make stock. And since cow bones are big...you need a big stock pot.)
All this returns to the moment of joy....seeing those pot lids tucked behind the strip of wood that holds them. Not much, in renovation terms, but as with finally buying pots that didn't cost me hours of scrubbing every time they were used, it's still a joy.