Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2018

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My wife, Jen, and I love to entertain. If you drive past our home on any given Saturday evening during the milder months, you will almost certainly be greeted by the sight of a dozen or so hungry souls, drinks in hand, congregating on the patio deep in conversation, wondering when the next course will make an appearance. e rest of the week, depending on our commitments, the numbers might be smaller, but friends from our busy street drop in and out for a glass of wine here, a nibble there, on such a regular basis that Jen and I have only half jokingly suggested that we should replace the front door with one of the revolving kind. Moving back into the city from leafy suburbia was a major decision for us, and I'm glad to report that it's worked out exceptionally well. Of all the benefits, one of the most notable is that many of our friends live within walking distance, which means that an impromptu get- together can materialize with just a few swift keystrokes on the iPhone. When Jen and I began to plan the extensive renovation of our 1920s Meridian-Kessler home, our approach to entertaining was obviously a consideration. Did we open up the kitchen into the dining room to create a large, unified space, as is the fashion these days, or did we respect the original Victorian-inspired layout of the house with its smaller dedicated spaces and their clearly defined functions? After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we settled on the latter approach, motivated by our shared love of architecture and historical integrity. It wasn't an easy decision, though, because we have a kitchen that measures approximately 11 feet on each side with perhaps seven feet of usable counter space in total. In spite of an abundance of custom Wood-Mode cabinetry, Miele appliances and a Maxim chandelier, there's no getting away from the fact that the kitchen is on the small side, especially considering our propensity to cook for the neighborhood at least once a week. I read somewhere that a very famous composer was so poor in his early years that he could not afford four strings for his violin. Faced with no alternative, he did just fine with three. When I visit luxurious homes with a view to their inclusion in these pages, I often wonder how much use their stately kitchens actually get, and daydream about putting them through their paces. You see, my reaction to acquiring a home with a small kitchen was to learn to cook better, more efficiently and with more attention to detail. Just as owning a McLaren F1 probably doesn't make you a better driver, so owning a luxury, state-of-the-art kitchen with a 30,000-BTU, 10-burner range and a triple convection oven does not make you a better cook; it merely amplifies what you are already doing, right or wrong. Over the past couple of years I've taken it upon myself to become a better, more adventurous, and more confident cook. Unless our friends are all seasoned poker players, I believe the results of my endeavors are speaking for themselves. ese days, I use a variety of cooking techniques that might never have occurred to me in a larger, luxuriously appointed kitchen; there's a lot of trial and error, but the constant desire to improve has been a strong motivation. I've also gotten much better at keeping up with the dishes. Jeffrey Cohen jeff@slmag.net From the Editor-in-Chief 30 slmag.net

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