Kitchens: Me and My Kitchen; It S Not So Much Going Back to Basics as New Domesticity, Writes KATRINA TWEEDIE

Article excerpt


KITCHENS, suddenly, are all the rage and, even though I can't cook, it's a fashion trend that has hooked me. Like most families, mine spend the majority of their time in the kitchen, but before you picture a cosy scene of domesticity - the reality is different.

From the eye-opening first cup of coffee in the morning to the kids' milk last thing at night, our kitchen is as busy as the M8 during rush hour.

My one-year-old Cameron likes to hide under the table waiting for playthings to drop from his two-year-old brother, Harry, who generally assembles his latest toys on top, out of reach.

An assorted queue of joiners, plumbers and painters come in for cups of tea before tackling the next project on our still-unfinished cottage.

Then friends pop in briefly, negotiating an obstacle course of toys and rusks that litter the tiled floor.

Note that not much cooking takes place. Kitchens are great, but it's making edible grown-up food that is my stumbling block.

But now, apparently, the current trend is for braising, preserving, home-curing and pickling.

And the biggest fad hitting homes since faux-fur cushions has even been given a name: New Domesticity.

In this trend, as much care and love is lavished on your home as on yourself, from buying the latest labour-saving kitchen device to labelling your own jam for storage.

This autumn Marigolds are the must-have item and cookery and housekeeping manuals are flying out of the bookshops.

With a repertoire consisting of baked potatoes, macaroni, soup, and various soft, squishy things that children like to eat, making canapes and topping tarts doesn't get a look-in as far as I'm concerned.

Normally the only baking I do comes in a packet with Bob the Builder on the front and instructions to add water.

And if I occasionally attempt a recipe that works, we have it every day for two weeks, which was fine when it was chocolate-raspberry brownies but became a sore point when I served ratatouille for the fifth night in a row.

But the fantasy of transforming into a domestic goddess, with a little help from technology, has always been too much of a temptation.

As I unpacked the bread-maker, imagining the comforting smell of the home-baked loaf that would fill the house every morning, I justified it as an investment. …