A corner of my kitchen

Salt and pepper shelf

I have mixed emotions about many parts of my apartment. I feel fortunate to have such a safe, comfortable place to live, but there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t find myself wishing for a little pocket of outdoor space. I also frequently sigh in resigned frustration at the shabby, 22-year-old carpet and the bathroom that is serviceable but bordering on truly ugly.

However, there’s one corner of the kitchen that always delights me. This is the spot to the right of the stove, where I do the vast majority of my regular mealtime prep. There’s an Ikea butcher block there, as well as an assortment of salts, peppers and a 1 cup measure of garlic (the contents there ebb and flow, at the time when this picture was taken, I had just been to the farmers market and restocked).

The Art Deco style salt shaker was a birthday gift from my mom four years ago. She has one just like it that I have always loved, and so when she found a matching one at a Portland antique shop in July, she grabbed it and squirreled it away for the following May. I wept happy tears the day I unwrapped it. To the left of it sits a sugar bowl filled with kosher salt. It belongs to the set of fancy china that my grandpa Phil bought for my grandmother in the fifties. She never liked those dishes, but she loved Phil so used them until she died. I like having a little bit of them in the kitchen with me.

The two metal pepper grinders belonged to my Aunt Flora. My cousin Betsy gave them to me when I helped her clean out Flora’s apartment. The silver grinder is an ancient Peugot and it works like a dream.

The little shelf where everything is perched is half of an orange crate that my dad sliced in half to use as a spice shelf in my parents’ kitchen a couple of houses ago. It’s quite handy. It also helps keep everything within easy reach, which is the most important thing when in the midst of getting dinner together.

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