At a recent meeting, my friend Jo Ann stated that she was looking at new places to live.She said she rejected the floor plan with the huge kitchen.
"What do I need a big kitchen for? I'd rather have a foyer," she exclaimed.
I can relate to this sentiment as I putter in my Ikea kitchen, where every counter is two steps away. As children, my sister and I helped our mother make fruitcakes for Christmas, and we canned jams, jellies and dill pickles during lazy summer afternoons.
I remember the days when, after watching my favorite HGTV makeover show, I salivated over thoughts of double ovens, industrial gas cooktops and massive granite-topping islands. There were days in the past when I brought out my fine china and silver to serve 12 for Thanksgiving dinners. Now I pop a Lean Cuisine meal in the microwave, and I am satisfied.
No, I don't want to cook — I especially have no need for two ovens. I won't be putting a turkey in one and a pie in the other! No wonder my mother looked at me askance when, at my father's suggestion, I gave her a new edition of "The Joy of Cooking" for her birthday 40 years ago.
Now, I would rather go out to eat. As a matter of fact, dining out is one of my greatest pleasures as I grow older. My younger friends pull out their smartphones to capture a picture of their entrees to post on Facebook and send to friends who evaluate the dish and play the guessing game, "What restaurant is this?" I am happy to sit back and wait to be served, happy to dispense with the cleanup and dishwashing. I smile when I sometimes leave with a doggy bag of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.
I know there was a time in the ancient past when I emulated Julia Child, attempting to produce the perfect pate a choux or amazing hollandaise sauce. My buttercream frosting was noteworthy. I still enjoy those crazy contestants on "Chopped" who cleverly combine squab (domestic pigeon), chard and lemon curd to produce an appetizer to please picky judges.
However, I am now an aficionado of food from afar. I even revisit my favorite hits of the past: the venison and cheese fondue I enjoyed in Heidelberg, Germany; the turtle soup and baked Alaska from the Eiffel Tower restaurant in France; and that fabulous green gage plum and apple pie with warm custard sauce I had in Stratford-upon-Avon. Ah, sweet memories of satisfying repasts. I am happy now to tuck away my cookbooks and dash out for happy hour with friends.
Jacquelyn Gatewood is a member of the Jottings group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.