Kitchens in Paris are not at all to my liking, they are far too small for all the work you have to do in there but I try to get by and work with what I am given. As someone who loves to cook and particularly to shop in exotic places it is so disappointing to find kitchens that are so cramped and ill-equipped. There is an art to squeezing in everything that is essential but practical bench space is always at a premium. We keep some essentials in Paris for our annual visits, a storage box on wheels that is kept for us by our apartment rental agency owners. As far as we know no one else asks or imposes on them to do this in between visits. Maybe we are only the fussy ones.
What was really clear about this apartment is that it is not set up strictly for rental. We could see it is lived in by the owner who vacates temporarily so she can rent it out for extra money. We did accidentally meet her and we gathered she was living with a friend whilst we were living in her apartment. This explains why there were very personal bits and pieces in the kitchen including good quality sea salt from the Camargue area of France. The dried spices you can buy at the nearby Monoprix supermarket.We bought the oil and vinegar, a bottle of French olive oil and a bottle of French wine vinegar are usually the first items to go on my shopping list when I arrive. This kitchen has an eclectic array – spotted coffee mugs, I do like the green glazed bowls, a little chipped but it adds character. An old blue thermos flask, a green and black spotted jug. You feel like an intruder but aren’t other people’s kitchens interesting?
The rustic baking dishes are like mine at home.
Fortunately this time along with a small French Press coffee jug was a small espresso machine. Alas I did not get to use this cast iron casserole, just a bit big for the two of us this time. Normally in my home kitchen it would not be a problem, in this I would make Beef Bourguignon, invite friends or simply freeze the left overs for another time. The cooktop set into the bench was a Rosieres with four electric hot plates and was very serviceable but the oven could be improved, it was one of those small above the counter ovens you can buy in any electrical department. I used to warm the plates on the top as the casing was so thin.
Even though I go for simple white plates and contemporary kitchen ware I do have a soft spot for dishes like these, they seem very French don’t you think. I wonder what the next kitchen holds for us in Paris next year.