Thursday, October 7, 2010

Burb Appeal: The Collection (An Excerpt)

(An excerpt from Tina Traster's new Kindle Book, Burb Appeal: The Collection, available on

Kitchen Stadium

By Tina Traster

My childhood home always smelled of freshly baked goods thanks to my stout Polish grandmother, who pulled trays of mandel brot (almond bread), cream cheese cookies and challah out of the oven daily.

She was also a decent cook.

That gene skipped a generation (Mom shunned the kitchen), but over the years, I became an adequate self-taught chef. Living in New York City apartments for two decades, however, dampened my enthusiasm for cooking. Why bother when there is no counter space, crummy appliances, a drawer full of takeout menus and a thousand restaurants at your doorstep?

But when I got my dream kitchen during an old farmhouse renovation, my inner Julia Child resurfaced.

The 225-square-foot space is a sea of green tile and emerald granite. Light pours in through a wall of tree-filled windows and skylights in the soaring, vaulted ceilings. Stainless-steel appliances, a double sink, a quiet dishwasher and a garbage disposal are arranged at spacious intervals in the U-shaped custom maple cabinets.

In my new domain, I toyed and innovated and found pleasures my grandmother must have known. Happy faces at dinner told me I should scribble the ad hoc recipes into a book. These days, we rarely bother eating out.

One day, my husband tore a peasant bread recipe from a magazine. Read on . . .