We have been living through a kitchen remodel. We are not complaining about the overall remodel…we feel super fortunate to be able to do it, despite the home equity loan, and will love having a kitchen that is perfect for us once we are done. But for people who are used to cooking from scratch at least twice a day, and frequently 3 times, plus baking treats and desserts, not having a kitchen has been trying.
Morning of demolition
The primary reason why we undertook the remodel of the kitchen is that Martha has undergone a number of spine surgeries and is now living with a need for physical accommodation and accessibility in order to be able to work alone in the kitchen. She cannot bend, cannot reach up high and cannot lift more than a few pounds. This means she can no longer reach low cabinets, can only reach somewhat higher shelves with a reacher or a stool, cannot lift up things like a mixer or a pot full of water and in what we hope is the unlikely event of Martha being in a wheelchair for any length of time, the kitchen would not be easily navigable for her. Anyway, the kitchen looked lovely, but was no longer safe or effective for solitary Martha utilization.
As a general rule, we eat pretty healthy. We eat tons of vegetables, cook things from scratch, do not eat processed foods usually and enjoy foods that are varied. In addition, Kevin has to eat gluten free and primarily lactose free. Both of us feel a lot better when we are avoiding refined sugar, wheat, and most dairy and eating legumes only occasionally. This way of eating is pretty close to a Paleo diet but closer to “Primal” (which is Paleo plus high quality dairy) and we are not zealots about it but have honestly found that we feel better. So long story shorter, both of us enjoy cooking, both of us feel better when we eat lots of veggies and a variety of other fresh foods, and both of are better off avoiding certain foods.
So, we hoped to be able to stick to a pretty health diet without an actual kitchen. Our initial plan was to set up an outdoor kitchen on our deck and use the grill, a steel table, and our instant pot or slow cooker out there. The first thing we learned is that the outlets on the deck were turned off when the electricity to the kitchen was turned off. So much for that plan. What ended up happening is we used a mixture of rooms and spaces. Microwave in the living room (yup. On the marble topped table from Kevin’s late mother), above the white carpet. Dishes in the laundry room sink, which was okay except the counter in the laundry room is virtually non-existent and there are not enough outlets in there to plug in the appliances we wanted to use, which were the electric kettle, the coffee maker and the blender. Refrigerator in the garage. The grill, which is propane, did work still on the deck but it turned out grilling every day was not as fun as we thought and was not as effective for breakfast. The Instant Pot idea was still reasonable but to Martha’s distress, the best counter space and outlet turned out to be in the guest bathroom. With contractors in and out of the house every day, shutting down that bathroom was not an option and cooking IN the bathroom made Martha squeamish.
So…how did healthy eating go? Not that well to be honest. We did a steel cut oatmeal in the instant pot, an Instant Pot chili, and Instant Pot stew, quite a few grilled meats, many smoothies…and a bunch of “rip apart a rotisserie chicken and add some baby carrots” type of meals, and a bunch of take out. Kevin created a “camp kitchen” in the garage and made a few yummy dinners and some breakfast eggs there but the “counter space” arrangement involved here was not ideal, it was not close to a sink, could not be really left unattended for long for safety reasons, and of course still no oven. We did some healthy takeout, but honestly it got old and expensive very quickly. Even healthy takeout gets cold, and old quickly. We had much more food that we would usually avoid as the kitchen renovation timeline went on. And we really missed our oven, and our counter space, and our sink with disposal. These are “first world problems” to be sure and we totally understand that we are lucky to have these problems to complain about. But boy, we are looking forward to “after!”