Monday, May 22, 2017


Open minded?
Rumors of anti-gay Bible thumping aside,
I find HGTV's "Fixer Upper" charming.
I'm as enamored with those Canadian twins
who rehab on "Property Brothers". I'll admit
that even the bantering duo on" Love It or
List It" can be entertaining. However I can't
abide their predilection to rip down walls,
mount massive beams, and create gigantic
"open" living spaces. That's because while
everything looks fine and dandy during their
reveals, I wonder what it's like to be in those
rooms post cooking a batch of fried chicken.
Chances are said wide open spaces... STINK.
Home, home on the range
For years we've watched experts knock down
walls to "open things up." In theory it seems
like a good idea. In fact that was one of the
reasons that we chose our Dallas apartment.
It's living, dining, and kitchen area spanned
over thirty feet. With a floor to ceiling wall
of glass overlooking the city below. Given
this was all the rage, we couldn't wait to dish
it out in the open. However, after hosting just
a few soirees I came to the conclusion that
I absolutely LOATHE open kitchens. Living
in a custom kitchen showroom seems to work
only if you don't cook. Otherwise it's a mess!
Closed for business
In reality this cultural phenomena makes no
sense. It simply doesn't work. That is unless
you never cook, frequently dine out, or only
microwave take out. I understand the need
to watch your kids play as you prepare their
sustenance. But do they have to frolic in a
space big enough to seat fifty? Everybody
seems to end up in the kitchen. However in
my house, that's the LAST place I want to
entertain in. I'd much rather be seen throwing
out bon mots rather than slinging hash.Thus
by the time you arrive, I've got dinner ready
and waiting so I can enjoy your company.
Alice doesn't live here
What I can't understand is how anybody can
possibly enjoy a lovely repast amidst a sea
of debris. Why set a beautiful table only to
have your guests view the evidence of your
crimes as they sip and sup? What happens
if you simply don't want to cook? At times
I like to hire an expert to prepare and serve.
However if they do so in a glamorous open
kitchen, where do they hide? Of course they
can stand and stare at you from behind the
counter, or chat up your guests, or clang the
pots in full view! But honestly, isn't that's
akin to airing your dirty laundry in public.
I'm old fashioned.
Our Lewistown kitchen is an open and shut
case. First because an open kitchen has no
place in a historic house. Back then servants
stayed in the background along with bacon
grease and mess. Today we do the dirty
work ourselves in the private of a lovely
enclave. We have an island that only seats
two. Occasionally close friends and family
are allowed to sit and sip as I stir the soup.
However such familiarity only happens far
behind closed doors. Pampering our guests
requires a bit of time and energy. And how
we feed your ego is none of your business.
Civil behavior
While we enjoy mixing it up, what happens in
our Montana kitchen stays there. As our guest
your job is to enjoy yourself. Hence once you
are comfortably ensconced in our living room
we'll deliver the cocktail of your choice on a
silver tray. After a brief respite dinner is called.
Next we'll adjourn to the dining room. One that
has walls, doors, and the proper accoutrements.
The table is set in a manner to which we are
accustomed. Each course is properly served,
hopefully savored, and quietly cleared. All
sans a view of mounds of dirty porcelain or
near the sound of a gurgling disposal. 
Open season.
Obviously one must maintain an open mind.
However I've no intention of changing my
approach no matter my limitations. Here in
Manhattan we once again have a wide open
kitchen. While lovely, it makes my job as
host all the harder. By the time you arrive
I've prepared the way. Everything will be in
it's place. From cocktails to dinner I'll hide
the evidence. After all, you took the time to
come and visit. So the least I can do is treat
you with the respect that you deserve. Hence
sans doors or walls I'll do my best to maintain
that delicate balance still known as hospitality. 

Sermon over.  
Now go back to sipping your cup of coffee 
in your fabulous and pristine open kitchen!