The true test of a kitchen: Thanksgiving

Nothing puts a kitchen through its paces like Thanksgiving, and I’m happy to say that ours passed with flying colors, twice!

Thanksgiving decor compliments of our friend Toni

Round 1 was Thanksgiving day, when our friends Dwayne and Nancy kindly cooked us the traditional turkey with all the works while we were at work. They were visiting from the US and had just arrived at our house the day before, so the kitchen gets bonus points for being easy to navigate even when you’re new to it.

Round 2 was Saturday, when I spent the day cooking another Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, stuffing, roasted parsnips, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, sweet potato & orange cups, gravy, and of course pumpkin pie, all made from scratch. The day was surprisingly low stress thanks to our awesome double ovens, continuum induction stovetop/hob, and my Thanksgiving timeline spreadsheet. How did I survive previous Thanksgivings with just one oven?

Otto enjoyed his first Thanksgiving(s). He seemed particular interested in our (first ever) attempt at brining a turkey.

Otto inspects the brined turkey to make sure we got it right

He also enjoyed the giblets we added to his kibble, the bits of turkey that somehow kept falling into his mouth, and the copious amount of napping we’ve been doing today.

Grimbil and Otto sleep off a Thanksgiving hangover

Beginning to Take Shape….

We had a busy weekend on the house front, complicated (pleasantly) by the super cute Otto von Turbodog. First up on Saturday afternoon was another trip to John Lewis where we were determined to purchase all of our major appliances: oven, microwave, dishwasher, hob (stove), extractor hood, and fridge. We were planning on getting a John Lewis credit card which would give us 6 months to pay off the purchases, but the line was too long so we bailed. We did, however, pick out all the units we wanted and left for home with a lot of serial numbers.

Once home we went online to find better prices and ended up saving about 300 quid by buying the Neff stove and combo stove/microwave units online. For the rest of the gear, we found cheaper prices than John Lewis on other sites, but having to take a small loan to pay for them rather than get 6 months interest free made it not worthwhile to look outside of JL.

So on Sunday we decided to divide and conquer. I had to go into the office for some last minute Ikea kitchen redesign and to pick up a giant 1000 foot spool of CAT 6 cable I bought off Amazon that we’ll be installing in the new home. Heather was off to John Lewis for the 3rd time to get the credit card and buy the appliances. We were then going to meet up in Balham to tape out the kitchen on the floor so we could decide if we really wanted an island and if there would be space.

Houston, we have an extension!

Unfortunately, Heather got delayed by some very slow service at John Lewis and I ended up in Balham by myself as she went home to make sure Otto could take a wee outside (He lasted 5 hours, not bad little fella!). So I was on my own in Balham, stressed out and facing some apparently incorrect measurements resulting in a messed up kitchen plan. On the verge of panic, I called a couple of friends and soon my football manager, Jade, showed up to give me a second set of eyes on the place. Our neighbor Paul was around outside so he came in as well.

Facing the front window, from the left: dishwasher, sink, and a floor cabinet. Then a larder unit, a tall cab with oven/microwave units, a floor cabinet, the hob (stove), another floor cabinet and finally the fridge

Between the 3 of us we came up some some contingency plans for the messed up kitchen, moving the dishwasher to the other side of the sink and removing a storage closet that would push too far into the dining room area. We also determined we’d need to move some components of the electrical meter so it can reside in a cabinet under the oven, but hopefully it won’t be much of a problem.

Paul opens the imaginary fridge.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but Heather had the real camera!

Having extra eyes and brains on a project helps immensely. Thanks Paul and Jade!

Things are definitely progressing quickly….but one month to go and a lot of stuff still to do. Keep your fingers crossed!