Know thyself

As I plan the remodel of my kitchen, I have had some sobering epiphanies. Who knew that a home remodel could be a journey to self-knowledge? I may stitch a pillow that reads, “Know your kitchen, know thyself.”First, I had to select what kind of new stove I wanted. For years, 23 years actually, I’ve dreamed of having a gas stove again, like the one I left behind in Los Angeles. My default style of cooking has often been, “I’m hungry now. Crank it up and get it cooked.” When you shut off the gas flame, most of the heat goes right away. This always gave me far more wiggle room for when the food suddenly went from not quite done to, “Whoa, that’s getting crispy.”

Then reality arrived. To get a gas range in this kitchen would require the digging of a trench from my front yard to my back yard, under the fence and around irrigation, and the running of a gas pipe up into my ceiling. Suddenly, the idea of all that gas line in earthquake country brought out my inner cowardice. The cost brought out my inner tightwad.

So, electric it will be and my thanks to the engineers who have created the lovely, modern, smooth-top version. How could I have I forgotten that in my world, easy-to-clean trumps everything else. Besides, I remembered I am far more likely these days to wander off and forget something is cooking. Between electric and gas, there is burned and then there is aflame.

And then there is the climbing statistic that I will light my jammie sleeve on fire as I scramble an egg. It’s a classic warning given to old ladies like me, but the hard fact is, I was just as likely to do it on my gas stove 23 years ago. Cute as they are, I don’t really want to become any better acquainted with my local firefighters. And I’m told there are also more effective ways to remove the hair from your arms.

Our next chapter will detail how picking out granite turned me into an amateur geologist. I know you are on the edge of your seats.


Jean Gillette is a freelance columnist racing down a steep redecorating learning curve. Contact her at





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