Food Fantasy: A Hollywood Kitchen Makeover

The Father of the Bride.

This casting call notice for a kitchen makeover show got my heart racing:

Do you have a friend or loved one who has a real passion for cooking but is trapped in an outdated, nonfunctional or just plain ugly kitchen? Now’s your chance to nominate him/her to receive a kitchen worthy of a gourmet chef for free! We are currently casting dynamic homeowners who love to cook but are in desperate need of a completely new kitchen.

Um, hi. Too bad I’m a renter  — but it set me thinking about my ultimate dream kitchen. This probably says something about how much time I spend with Netflix, but my kitchen daydreams are pretty squarely centered on deciding which TV/movie kitchen (equipment aside) I’d most want to live with.  If, you know, I was directing a crew to recreate it in my Capitol Hill rowhouse.  Am I the only one who watches every blockbuster movie and thinks — damn! I want that kitchen!? If so, indulge me while I take a look back at my ultimate dream Hollywood kitchens:

Father of the Bride

The first one that comes to mind, of course, is George and Nina Banks’ kitchen from Father of the Bride. This is basically the fallback fantasy house for an entire generation of movie watchers, right? The New York Times even mentioned the “bourgeois splendor of the Banks house” in its movie review. But the kitchen looks so cozy and usable, which you rarely find in houses put together by a set designer. It’s like the platinum version of the kitchen you grew up with…copper pots hanging over the butcher block island, floral curtains, fruit baskets filled oh-so-properly, KitchenAid mixer (swoon!) in the background.

Something’s Gotta Give

Slightly less cozy but still inviting is the airy Hamptons kitchen from Somethings Got to Give (like Father of the Bride, a Nancy Meyers-helmed project). It’s clean and classic, with a splash of color from the potted plant and warm touches like the wooden bowls. On the down side, it seems like plenty of folks are already co-opting that one. If I’m going to copy a kitchen, I certainly don’t want to be copying the same one as everyone else.

Something's Got to Give

Something's Gotta Give

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Endless Contests: Small Kitchen Stories

Smallest. Kitchen. Ever.

Surely I’m not the only one here who complains about the size of their kitchen. Moving a few months ago from Delaware to New Jersey, we went from a duplex that had a remarkably large kitchen to a rowhouse with a ridiculous tiny kitchen, almost an afterthought in the 100-year-old home.  I have lived in apartments and homes that have had small kitchens before, but our new kitchen takes the cake in terms of function and feng shui. When we moved in, there were only cabinets and counter space on one side of the kitchen, and those were all quickly filled up with only a tiny fraction our kitchen-ware. The microwave and dish drainer took up the minimal counter space. We added metal shelving and a kitchen island on the other side of the kitchen, and that island now serves as our one and only prep surface.


Generally speaking, the size of the kitchen is not a problem if we I’m whipping up something quick. However, when I am feeling ambitious and want to make something like enchiladas, or even Indian food, which require a lot of ingredients, I have developed a few methods to keep myself from losing my mind:

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