I told Blake when we were dating and engaged that I was not a good cook. He laughed it off and said that was fine, we could both learn to cook. Poor guy had no idea what he was in for the first six months of marriage. I could make cereal, sandwiches, and pasta. Monday night dinner? Spaghetti. Tuesday night dinner? Chicken alfredo. Wednesday night dinner? Spaghetti...with...pepperonis. Do you see where I'm going here? Guys, one of the first times I offered to help his mom in the kitchen, she asked me to toss a salad and I panicked. Am I tossing this salad correctly?! Once I was in Home Ec class, and a recipe for chicken fried steak had a misprint calling for one cup of salt and one cup of pepper in the dry coating mix, and I was too ignorant to recognize it as a misprint and it wasn't until after I had dumped A CUP of salt into the flour that my teacher exclaimed "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
My dabbling in cooking started with something that seemed easy to me, which was baking cupcakes from a box mix. Pretty soon, Pinterest came on the scene and I was suddenly a few links away from all kinds of cooking-for-horrible-cooks knowledge. Being poor, busy college students with zero cooking skills, crock pot meals saved our marriage and our checking account. All of you cynics can roll your eyes at Pinterest all you want, but it was Pinterest and the Rachael Ray show that finally taught me something (I was too embarrassed to seek help elsewhere at first). I'm definitely a visual learner. Eventually, I just got into whatever kitchen I could to figure out a thing or two, and one day I looked up and was a decent little chef. In fact, dare I say it, I started to love cooking. Every time I drop butter into a pan and it begins to sizzle and smell delicious, I'm transported back in time to my MaMa's kitchen and Sunday lunch waiting at her table while our mouths watered in expectation, and our waistlines begged us to reconsider our choices.
Have you watched Cooked on Netflix yet? You need to do so. Not only is cooking starting to make a cultural comeback, but cooking with real ingredients. Farm-to-table restaurants are all the rage, and guys, I love it. There are few things I love as much as real food. Finally figuring my way around a kitchen and around food has been a journey of self discovery that I feel I am only just beginning.
All of this is so you can understand my disappointment when the worst room in the house, by far, was the kitchen (the breakfast nook was terrible as well, but it's like an extension of the kitchen so I don't count it). Just. Let me show you:
|Here you can see the mudroom, the cabinets and shutters with a million coats of paint on them, and to the far left of the frame is the door that opens to the stairs to the attic.|
|More pink tile, a faucet that was rusted beyond repair, and more cabinets.|
Similar to the bathroom mistakes, the kitchen had a drop ceiling that made it feel like a hobbit hole (in a bad way, not in a charming way). The cabinets and shutters and door frames and everything had at least five coats of paint on them. There were stains in places that I dared not investigate. The pink tile and backsplash was bad taste (in our opinion), and that was going to be a feat of its own to remove. And guess what? FOUR LAYERS OF LINOLEUM TILE OVER A HARDWOOD FLOOR.
|Mudroom, and a small peek into the butlers pantry.|
The kitchen leads to another entrance to the backyard via what we are calling the mudroom, because that's our intended purpose for it. There is also a little butler's pantry that I am hoping to turn into a prayer room. On the left of the wall in this photo is the door that leads to the basement (don't get me started). Also, get this: there is a set of (at this point in time, very unstable) stairs that lead from the kitchen to the attic that are hidden when you close the door. Looking at it you would think it is a pantry, but no--the attic! Someday, when we actually finish the attic and convert it into a guest room, that is going to be really cool.
|The stove, and a glimpse of some awkward cabinet space. You would think there was lots of storage space on the top, but the drop ceiling left maybe half a foot of space.|
The stove was gross, but usable. We're going to clean it up and pray it works when the time comes, until we can afford a new stove. A brand new stove isn't exactly a priority when you are focusing on rebuilding an entire kitchen from scratch. Also, that place to the bottom right on the floor is where a refrigerator is supposed to go, and the floor was very unstable from water damage. We were hoping this was the only place from the hardwood floor that would be unsalvageable, because reinforcing it and sticking a fridge on top of it would be easy to hide. More on this later.
I was personally extremely relieved to find there was a dishwasher. A house sitting vacant for two years makes anything look decrepit, but as far as we can tell the dishwasher is fairly new.
I can tell you that we have come a long way on the kitchen, and it looks nothing like this anymore. I can also tell you that it isn't even close to being done. Let me give you a sneak peek: