Monday, January 24, 2011

If Only I Had an IKEA Kitchen.

Dear Globlets,

This is a post I wrote for my nonfiction class about my kitchen.

And it just so happens that I have a picture of it...



I wouldn't care if I had to put each piece together myself, I wouldn't care if there were pieces left over after assembling it, all I want is an IKEA kitchen. If a handsome Swede would like to assist me during installation, I'd be fine with that too - especially if he plays Eric Northman on True Blood (rawr!)
What was I saying? Oh, yes...

My kitchen is nothing like an IKEA kitchen, I am sad to say. It is old, it is yellow, it is outdated, and everything is coated in greasy dust no matter how often things are washed. Each day I walk through the doorway and reach behind Fridge A (primarily the beverage fridge) to turn on the light. Is it on? I wonder. Or is it just a yellow-orange filter that gives the illusion of brightness? I dare not enter without protective footwear; slippers are a necessity. I dodge recyclable items that have made their way further in from the corner of the room, and curse at my brother for not completing his assigned chore before there was enough paper, plastic, and glass to build a ten-foot robot with laser beams and X-ray vision.

A warm, furry body rubs against my shin. I look down and Lucy is looking up at me with two big blue eyes and a hungry, yet very picky belly. I ask her if she's hungry. She does not reply. I go to Fridge B and remove the raw chicken and organ meat-thing that I've lovingly mixed with a generous spoonful of white meat chicken florentine Fancy Feast Elegant into a glass bowl that is elevated like an ice cream bowl so that she may not strain her delicate neck as she leans in to nibble at her meal. I set it down for her. She smells it, looks up at me, and walks away. That bitch.

I return to search the contents of Fridge B for something less fancy for myself. I consider grilled cheese but then remember that I have class later and since I don't want to get a tummy ache (bless the food allergy gods), I think better of it. I yank out one of the ever-full Drawers of Fruits & Vegetables and grab a cucumber; cucumber because the lettuce has gone bad and I still want something fresh and crisp in my sandwich. After shoving the drawer back in, I take the old fashioned ham from The Drawer of Hams & Cheeses and set it on the wood counter behind me which is covered in minor sugar and hot chocolate powder spills. I can't rest my hand on the counter without feeling tiny granules imprinting themselves into my skin. Its edges are chipped and dented here and there from countless knocks of pickle and jam jars. My slippers successfully spare my socks from crumbs on the blue area rug on which I stand.

I see above me the dreaded Third Cupboard has been left open. I despise this cupboard. The twisty-knobby device that holds it closed has been used so much that it no longer locks properly. I push on the door firmly. It doesn't close. I try again. Failure. I hold the door in place and bang on it. If it had a mouth it would laugh at me, mocking me, I'm sure of it. So, I hold the edge of the now-cackling door and slam it shut. Just before I can scream, "Victory!" Second Cupboard opens and a cacophony of unpleasant howls and chuckles would fill the room... if cupboards had mouths.

IKEA cupboards wouldn't be so mean. They wouldn't need to be; they would close on the first try. If only...

I take out the mayonnaise and one egg from Fridge A. Fridge A was dragged here from Chile because my mom loves it so much and it will probably be dragged to Spain in a few years, too, once she moves there. It is, I must admit, a very nice fridge. It keeps things cold and beeps at you if you leave the door open - isn't that nice? On top of it, among some dusty clay pots from Pomaire, Chile and boxes and boxes and jumbo boxes of cereal lies a big black box that weighs a tonne and converts the voltage from 220V to the Canadian standard 110V. When there was no room for a second fridge in the kitchen, we put the fridge in my brother's room unplugged and used it as a pantry. Don't worry, we didn't keep the Wagon Wheels in there, but now that I think of it, the Mr. Noodles did seem to go pretty quick.

Fridge-pantries would not be necessary if I had an IKEA kitchen. The number of drawers and cupboards would amount to sufficient storage. If only...

The next thing I do is take the smallest frying pan out of what is supposed to be used as a pantry for food but now stores pots and pans. There used to be cans of artichokes and pineapple being forgotten due to its depth - shameful, I know. There was a lot of vertical space being wasted too, and in a non-IKEA kitchen, you can't afford to have wasted space. As it is, there is only one wall on which pots can hang, as the other empty wall, although it begs for hooks, is made out of something too weak to hold anything. A small splash of vegetable oil goes on the frying pan, followed by the egg. I cover it with a pot lid. My toast is toasting, unevenly of course, next to the kettle which I will have to wait to use because otherwise I will blow the fuse.

If I had an IKEA kitchen, the electrical system would be updated so that more than one small appliance could be used at the same time. If only...

I cut a chunk of cucumber, wash it, and slice it, narrowly missing the tip of my index finger multiple times as I do so. It's not that I'm careless with knives, it's that it's too dark to see what I'm cutting. I might as well be slicing blindfolded; I'd have the same chances of cutting my finger off that I do when I chop now. I'm surprised there haven't been more trips to the emergency room or dinners made not only with love but a kind of unique customization. Saying, "You've really put a bit of yourself into this one!" would take on a whole new meaning.

An IKEA kitchen would be much better lit. If only...

I slap the mayo on the toast, and then the cucumber and ham. My sandwich is nearly complete. I lift the lid from the frying pan and see the egg white is cooked and the yolk is almost cooked; it's runny just the way I like it. I gently drop it onto the open sandwich, sprinkle on some cayenne pepper, and carefully apply the second slice of bread. I slowly stab the centre and cut it in half. The thick yellow liquid oozes out, coating the middle of both halves.

Although my kitchen is anything but an IKEA kitchen, especially since it is suspected that back in 1906 it was actually a bedroom, we make do. Although the counter space is limited, the lighting (if it even deserves to be called that) is poor, the cupboards don't close and the drawers don't open, and there are things that have been stuck to the floor since we moved in, we make do. Despite the long list of things wrong with my kitchen, in it, hours have been spent baking everything from mango pies to peanut butter cookies to Chilean empanadas, and hours have been spent cooking everything from stir fries to broccoli-chicken lasagnes to Polish borscht. We make healthy meals. We try hard to make a proper dinner as often as we can, and when we do, everyone helps out. Even Lucy hairs get in the food sometimes - that's how much she wants to be a part of dinner-making.

One day, I will have an IKEA kitchen, a kitchen of my dreams, where everything has its place and is easily organized and cleaned. It won't be soon, I know, but until that day, I will make do with whatever kitchen I've got. I love making food too much not to.

4 comments:

Mommet said...

Why don't you submit this to Canada Writes? (CBC). Really. You should.

Ori. said...

I might, but not for the "Edible Nonfiction" challenge. http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2011/12/the-canada-writes-edible-nonfiction-challenge.html

This is just a little more than 300 words. >.<

Ori. said...

I could do this one, though:
http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/literaryprizes/nonfiction/
=O

Mommet said...

I was thinking of the main one, not the edible one. I didn't know they had variations because what I know of the contest I know from listening on the radio. I guess I should check out the website more often :p