While I take a break visiting family, step back with me in time to 3 years ago, when we were homeless, to the beginning of this project…. And all of our frustrations:
Vlad’s house is an IKEA house.
I have nothing against IKEA.
I rather like IKEA.
I can spend hours wandering through there stores.
Well, actually, that’s how long it takes to follow the little footprints and elbow one’s way through the crowds.
I think they make very good stuff, particularly for the price, and most of it is quite attractive. We were seriously considering getting our kitchen cabinets from IKEA.
Until we moved into the IKEA House. (The one we are renting whilst waiting to close on ours.)
It’s not that we became disenchanted with IKEA products once living with them on a daily basis. We haven’t.
We haven’t discovered that those, wonderfully smooth, drawer systems became sticky once out of the store. They don’t. They’re still smooth.
We haven’t discovered that the beds are miserable or the armoire doors don’t close or the towels fall apart or the refrigerator light stays on when the door shuts.
Everything seems to be working well, holding up to use and abuse.
What we discovered was how easily recognizable everything is.
When we went to IKEA the other day, we started at the top and walked through (as one does at IKEA). Our conversation went something like this:
Look, there are the beds we have in Vlad’s house.
And the dressers and armoires and shelves.
Oh, and there’s the living room furniture… All of it.
And the bathrooms.
Isn’t this the kitchen table? And chairs? Cabinets? Sink? Dishes? Flatware? Glasses? Pans? Candles?
Towels? Sheets? Toilet paper holder?
Oh wait, they don’t sell those at IKEA.
Explains why we don’t have any in the house…. Toilet paper sits on the floor.
Everything in this 500 year old house comes from IKEA. It’s as if Vlad went to IKEA, handed them a credit card and said “I have X rooms, all empty, furnish them – but (naturally) no mirrors.”
As I said, I have nothing against IKEA, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be spending a bit of money there ourselves.
But I really don’t want people to mistake our house for an IKEA showroom.
Our house has character now (ahem, such as it is). I would like to remove the dirt and grime, polish up the beams and let the original good parts shine.
I don’t want to make it ‘fake old’ any more than I want to make it ‘fake new’.
It is what it is…. I’d like to keep it that way, just cleaner and fresher…. And with internet.
But I really, really like those IKEA, under-the-kitchen-sink, pull-out drawers with shelves and trash can holders.
And I really, really like that tall cabinet with the pull-out wire baskets.
So, we compromise: I can buy the fancy IKEA drawer inserts but mon mari will build the fronts.
And I’ll get the tall cabinet, in plain white, to go next to the refrigerator.
We’ll get it all sorted…. Eventually.
W ith much discussion.
And with much compromise
As long as we’re compromising…..
Ever find yourself pondering the side dishes to accompany some fantastic main course? Searching for something impressive, yet simple so as to flatter, not detract or confuse?
Turned Potatoes and Carrots serves 2
double, triple, vegetables as needed… not the butter/oil
2 large potatoes
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
salt – sea salt if you have it
We’ll start backwards: The finished product is potatoes and carrots that are barrel-shaped and app. 2 inches (5cm) long by 3/4 inch (2cm) thick at the middle (like a barrel, ends will be just a bit thinner).
Look at your vegetables: Ideally you should be able to cut the potato in half the short way and have two pieces a bit longer than 2 inches (5cm). Cut these halves into 4ths the long way and, as they say, ‘cut away the part that’s not the barrel’. Trim the pieces into something close to a barrel-shape. A large potato will give you 8 turned potatoes and a small potato will give 4 – you won’t cut it in half the short way first. You will want 6 – 8 per person.
Cut the carrots into lengths and trim the same way.
Don’t be overly concerned about your carving abilities, just try to keep them similar in size. A little smaller is fine.
The cooking instructions:
Peel potatoes and put into a large bowl of cool water. Select a potato, cut and carve, keeping the pieces that you’re not working on in the water. It shouldn’t take more than 5 – 10 minutes to carve the potatoes.
Peel and carve the carrots.
Bring a large pan of water to boil . Drop in the potatoes, carrots and boil for 5 minutes. Remove and drain well. In a large nonstick skillet heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes, carrots and brown well on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove, sprinkle lightly with salt and serve.
Note: I normally use the trimmings to make soup – Perhaps a creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup for the first course? Recipe later this week….. (That’s a teaser…)
House Update: The closing is now scheduled for the 29th; internet access to be available, we hope, about 2 weeks later.
REALLY BIG SIGH………