It is appropriate but entirely coincidental that this post is happening on New Year’s Day. I am not a resolution maker, or a goal maker, although I often think I should be. Maybe it would help me to focus more and stay aware of my accomplishments. I frequently feel like I float through my days without much sense of what I have done; I feel it more acutely now that Lulu is in preschool five days a week and I have these huge blocks of “free” time that get wasted on Facebook and Pinterest and puttering around the apartment not knowing what to do with myself.
So, I made myself a weekly schedule, and Wednesdays are “Blog Day.” Meaning that each Wednesday you will be treated to a new musing on expat life, or parenting, or a recipe for some delectable but not-too-complicated-or-crazy dish. Because I am still, and will always be, a simple home cook using whatever ingredients I can find easily and cheaply in my neighborhood.
is the kitchen in which I cook. While it provides all my basic culinary needs,
Cupboards, counter and sink
Refrigerator (and washing machine)
it is no one’s idea of gourmet. It is, however, up-to-date with what Pinterest tells me is a current kitchen decorating trend: cupboards without doors. And as a bonus feature, we have the option of hot water from the sink—a luxury I have never had in the Middle East.
Without a doubt, this
Coffee and tea station
is the part of the kitchen that gets the most action. I cannot even express how much I love my hot water kettle, and the nearly constant flow of tea and coffee is an important source of warmth these cold winter days.
P.S. I realize this is being posted on January 2, but I did write it on the 1st. As usual, life intervened before I could get this up 🙂
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Arab, Coffee, Expat Life, Holidays, House, Introduction, Kitchen, Refrigerator, Sink, Stove, Tea, Tools
Friends, I am back. After days of cleaning, shopping, packing and moving, with minimal cooking and even more minimal internet access (which I have to admit was very freeing at times), we are settled and ready to create a new version of normal.
This is what we started with in the kitchen:
Yes, that is a dried fish head. It was probably left by one of the stray cats that wander around the rooftops and occasionally try (sometimes succeeding) to enter through our open windows. Yes, we are considering getting screens; they are on the list of “Things to buy if we are going to live here for more than a few months.” Other things on the list: a TV, curtains, end tables, and a new front door.
Back to the kitchen: after two days of scrubbing, bleaching, scraping, bleaching, more scraping, and the eventual deposit of appliances and dishes, here is what we have now:
I realize these are not great pictures. It is hard to get a full view of the kitchen given that it is only about 8 ft. x 8 ft. Not joking. Some of you may have noticed that no refrigerator appears in the photos; that’s because it is not in the kitchen, but rather in the “dining room” on the other side of the half wall. I’m sure that this is shocking, especially for those of you who don’t know us personally, but we are choosing to live amongst a section of the population that most foreigners (as well as the wealthy of this region) will never see. My kitchen is comparable to that found in the majority of the “average” Arab homes. Although there are times that I get jealous of my other foreign friends, who live here with kitchens and apartments that are like little slices of America, I am happy with the path that we are on. This is the place for us.
As some of you know, Hungry Husband and I are in the midst of a great transition for work. Right now we are living in a guest flat, and I profiled the kitchen for you a few weeks ago. Over the next indeterminable period of time we will be visiting a few different cities throughout the Middle East, meaning that hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to view and/or cook in some different kitchens as well as sample some new cuisines. I’ll bring you along as much as possible through my new “Guest Kitchen” series.
Our first trip was a little over a week ago. We went Over The River and stayed in a guesthouse. Because it was still Ramadan, we did not eat out at any restaurants (most of them were closed until the evening, by which point we were far too tired to go out), so although I am sure there are some specialties particular to that city, we didn’t taste any of them. I did, however, get a few pictures of the kitchen in the guesthouse where we stayed. It was pretty top notch in terms of equipment (except for knives—pathetically dull), and even had a dishwasher, which we did not use. I would put this kitchen in the top 10% of kitchens I have seen throughout the Middle East in terms of its creature comforts.
Of course I made roasted vegetables one night!
Lots of cupboards with tall shelves
Refrigerator, Dishwasher and Microwave! This kitchen was created for convenience.
The guest flat we’re staying in here in Hillside has a fairly fabulous kitchen. I’ve certainly never had a kitchen this big in my entire adult life, with a lot of natural light and pretty stone countertops and floor tiles.
I’m trying to not get too attached, though, in spite of this:
What's that say?
That’s right, a proper, well-functioning refrigerator that will never get frozen shut! With a separate freezer and doors that seal all the way around! Be still, my beating heart!
It also has the requisite multiple burner gas stove. Of course, we are still in the Middle East and so there’s bound to be a few quirks…in this case, that I can’t figure out how to get the oven lit. I can hear and smell the gas and think I know where it’s coming from, but I’ve clicked the lighter all around inside the oven and cannot get a lit flame to save my life—or to roast my vegetables, for that matter.
Probably the closest you will ever get to seeing me on this blog.
Still, there’s plenty of counter space, cupboards galore, and (for a transitional place) a workable number of accoutrements, including plates worthy of a home at The Greatest Chinese Buffet Ever. Which, apparently, is so great that it doesn’t even need to have its own webpage.