Cucina, again

It has been three months and change since I had a kitchen of my own.  I’ve thrown away, given away or stored every item that I didn’t absolutely have to have, moved seven times, cooked toast on stove eyes, washed dishes in the bathroom sink, learned that you can’t shop for bread and milk on Sunday, researched everything you can imagine about European appliances, realized belatedly that you can’t run an American food processor on a travel converter, repeatedly relit a pilot light at night while standing on a kitchen chair in a cold wind, been to IKEA five times, waited three weeks over IKEA’s promised delivery time, discovered how to prevent and clean calcium buildup from hard water, spent four days trying to figure out how to get an appliance website to take my credit card, sent emergency text messages in Italian to my long-suffering landlord, negotiated to have 1980s plaid chicken tiles  painted over, taken an hour-and-a-half to boil water on a camping stove, learned dozens of Italian words, figured out how to light an Italian gas cooktop, eaten out, given myself a cut that probably needed stitches but didn’t get them, mopped up from burst pipes, hired an extra plumber, gotten yelled at by a deliveryman, taken dozens of cardboard boxes to recycling, sorted through a pile of extra parts and read instruction manuals to figure out whether I needed them, served my parents Thankgiving dinner from a kitchen without plumbing, swept up enough piles of sawdust to start my own sawmill, made unsuccessful attempts to purchase a vacuum cleaner to vacuum up said sawdust, and tripped switches more times than I care to count.

But now I have a kitchen.  I am so utterly delighted.  Now I think I’ll go have a moka and some Nutella on toast.


13 thoughts on “Cucina, again

  1. You painted over the chicken tiles?!?! Oh man…..

    Seriously tho, what a good looking room. A job well done, and done in your second language. Amazing.

    PS Is that knife seperator thingy in the drawer also from Ikea? I need one of those.

  2. Ah, two of my favorite NYC people! It’s coffee break time and I wish you were both here to share it with me.

    Julia, I have thought the same of you many times! I chuckled at your distribution of the bell curve comment, knowing that it’s not all laughs by any means. But as far as what happens to the kitchen, I confess I have no idea. I just had to have some way to cook dinner. I tried to get the minimum I needed to cook a good meal without immediately regretting some omission, and hopefully it won’t be a total loss if/when we move out. (You may have figured out that I don’t think very far ahead these days.)

    And yes, Monica, we painted over both the chickens in the kitchen and the safari animals in the half bath, though Sarie says she can still discern the outlines of the latter. Well worth having to split the cost with the owner, I think.

    And yes, that cool knife tray came from IKEA. I decided that if I had to get a whole new kitchen, I might as well get organized, and I admit I love it! Last night I had a look at some of the other countries’ IKEA websites, and you might be comforted to know that you can buy Swedish Christmas decorations (reindeer and all) in mainland China, which come to think of it, is only slightly weirder than watching throngs of Italians eating Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam every weekend at our local store.

    Silvana, I thought twice before posting all that stuff, because it sounds an awful lot like complaining, but really, mostly what it does is make me appreciate the kitchen that much more, now that it has finally arrived, been installed, and had the kinks worked out of it. The experience just wouldn’t have been the same without the preliminaries.

  3. When I first saw the pictures, before reading the text, I was confident that I was looking at pictures from the IKEA website, but then as I began reading your post I said to myself, “She’s done it, I think she’s done it!” Laura, I don’t know what your private moments are like, but in my eyes you are amazing, brilliant, awesome, unflagging, tenacious, creative, tireless, and a tremendous inspiration to me. Really the words that came to my mind were: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”, from Proverbs 31. And I don’t throw those words around lightly. Well done! Now, enjoy Torino!

  4. Whew! What a journey and now, I hope you’ll thoroughly enjoy your beautiful new kitchen and all the culinary delights that will come out of it! I’ve moved to foreign places several times, but I’ve never had to go through what you did to be able to cook! Kudos for persevering – it didn’t sound like complaints to me … make me chuckle to think of all the vicissitudes of settling in to a new home in a new country.

  5. What a really great kitchen! I love the simplicity of it all. Now do you feel like you really live in Italy? (For me, settling into the kitchen is the thing that makes me feel at home.) Love it all–the kitchen photos and the background story!

  6. Barbara, that IS high praise coming from you. But I think my family knows that some of those adjectives don’t quite fit. Moving to Italy has been quite a challenging experience for me, since trying unsuccessfully to complete a bureaucratic type task is probably my number one pet peeve. God knew what I needed, and sent me to a country where no detailed task is ever completed the first time. Maybe I’ll learn patience eventually, but I haven’t yet!

    Beth, I now pay a lot of attention to other people’s experience of living in other countries, because they just make sense to me. Despite all the talk about globalization, it really IS different in other places. And I just received my first recipe in Italian yesterday from my favorite vegetable lady, so let the cooking adventures begin!

    And Susan, I totally agree with you that having a kitchen makes one feel at home. There are still boxes everywhere, but I feel much better. And I frequently thought of your ice-breaking, roof snow-shoveling, wood-fire building, pipes-bursting stories when writing this post ;-).

  7. I always say, there is nothing like setting up a home overseas to make you appreciate…everything!! You will love your new kitchen that much more, Laura, for all you’ve gone through to realize it. Your new kitchen is lovely–good job!

  8. Hmm, maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t include the photo of the drawer dividers for the measuring cups and other utensils. And yes, we do have water: It enters the kitchen sink through the faucet, goes down the drain, out through the wall, and it apparently it even keeps going down into the Torino sewer, wherever that is. All I have to do is remember to turn on the water heater an hour or so before I need it, and then clean off the sediment.

    Melissa, I’ve been meaning to comment on your blog for days, because I thought your Jordanian living room post was really interesting! I have a new appreciation for your ability to be comfortable in two very different cultures.

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