The Kitchen at Exit to Oakland

It isn’t the number of people that determines the number of  refrigerators,

It’s the number of households,

Or, to put it another way,

The number of Moms.

One mom can set up the rules for a single refrigerator for the clan,

but that requires discipline and order.

Kristen needs to fill every available space in a  refrigerator,

Which makes it hard to share to start with,

and a teenager adds a wild card.

Jasmine’s hobby of throwing out  all her fresh vegetables when a few were tainted was spin,

and the day somebody threw George’s food in the trash

because, presumably, it looked old and unfamiliar,

showed you need empty space, margins, if the food is not there for everyone.


The microwave is a hoot.

Paul puts things in to heat and forgets them,

Others come down and find tepid water

in a ding ding dinging unit

While Paul sits unperturvbed and unheading

typing at the kitchen trable.

The six inches of counterspace in front of the microwave

is  hotly contested for use because it is also on the path from refrigerator to stove.

Put something here and you can’t open the micro.

But we managed pretty well, considering.


The sink is a mystery.

Paul, drought conscious,

stands by helplessly as people rinse and rinse and rinse and clean water goes down the drain.

Paul, who saves his bath water for flushing and watering,

When the dishpan was full of hot soapy water, dishes got washed and stacked into a magic mountain on the drying rack,

Precariously growing as one oddball  thingus after another took up permanent residence.

Otherwise dishes could stack up

and were washed by pouring detergent directly on them,

requiring more water to rinse escape down the drain and into the sewers.

Kristen’s mojo requires washing the dishes clean,

arranging them in the  dishwasher and washing them again.

“The spirit of her Austrian mother haunts her and drives her in this.


Much could be told of the trash,

the separation into compost, recycle, and garbage,

and the need to keep tasty treats out of the garbage and into a smaller can with a lid.

Dogs otherwise unexpectedly emptied the  garbage and spread it around the downstairs,

on an intermittent reinforcement schedule,

Which basically means without warning.


The stove was home to serious but unscheduled cooking of viands of  all kinds of smells.

The smell of cookincooker has no pilot light,

g goes right up the stairs to the second floor,ccwhich is either homey or something else, depending on your taste.

Somebody left the electric sparker on and burned it out, so one burner has not pilot light,

a risk you assume when you have humans and teenagers in the home.


We didn’t know anybody felt crowded out until we reduced the population from six to four and George started cooking every day.

All in all, schedules matched and mismatched so that there was little competition for kitchen time,

Remarkable in itself,

although the day the adult tried to retrain the teenager in how to boil an egg was hard to refrain from comment.


If time allows, we shold think of the island,

a generous sweep of granite topped counterspace

which form time to time had so much fruit and veggies and such piled on it that it was a home for fruit flies.

but its highest and best use was for the buffets Kristen stocked

whenever we had comedy shoes on the stage,

which was, in essence, at the other end of the large room

which contaiThned the kitchen with no intervening walls.


The home was chosen for its capacity for  home shows, but that would be stretching the kitchen metphorically and literally to examine those in  depth.

Cabinet space seems plentiful, but again when there are  four each bottles of olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and what not,  the need for cupboards is

Stashed below the counters were pots and pans of many and varied sizes, that nobody clearly remembered ownership and orgin, and that caused no problem at all, if memory serves.


OVerhead was a large flourescent  light which was bright enough that nobody noticed that  it was dark on the counters under the cupboard, except Paul, who used to do lights in theater and was always crazed about shadows and bright spots.

Of course all the available couner space was cluttered with not only the microwave but  toaster, juicer,  a holder for the big knives, big spoons, and all the things we take for granted in a modern kitchen, which grew there organically as the countertop gave birth to them one by one.

Paul had wisely left it to Jazz and Kristen to negotiate the kitchen, being the two moms of the household,

so  dishtowels and the silverware drawer and garbage liners simply were  wherever they belonged and maintained themselves by some mystery of ecology never revealed.

there are three bathrooms in that house, with four people sharing one of them, a man and a family of three women,so it is magical that there were no wars, but that is not  our subject today,

Nor the garage crammed with items not yet unpacked from moving three years ago.


Nobody starved, sometimes food was shared and there was takeout, so the kitchen was interesting but not an epic feature.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *