Only four nights left to cook in this kitchen, I thought idly to myself as I plunged the pasta - some nice linguine - into the rapidly boiling salted water.
While it has been a generally good kitchen, it was a little short on storage space and, being an early 70s design, suffered from the poorer materials and craftsmanship of the era. The veneers are prone to peeling and cracking, the cabinet door hinges tend to loosen and the doors bang noisily instead of shutting with a satisfying 'thunk'. Not shabby, just a little tired.
By contrast, the kitchen in the new house (new as in 'next' - it was built in 1948) has retained its totally original solid timber cupboards, benchwork and storage. It is exactly as it was when the house was built, except for the stove and oven which date back to probably the late 60s. But everything is spotless. It's like visiting your elderly aunt's place. The previous owners, an old couple, maintained it perfectly. While it offers about the same usable space as our present kitchen, its higher ceilings and better design make it seem airier, larger. Even the spotless enamel paintwork gleams in its typically early fifties buttercup and grey with cream accents.
I cooked the linguine, drained it, reserving a couple of tablespoonsful of the liquid, then returned the pasta to the heavy pan with the liquid and decorated it with sliced tomatoes, quartered semi-boiled eggs, boiled but still crisp green beans, slices of kasseri cheese and thin slices of onion. Parsley, salt, pepper. I put the lid on and let it all warm through and then served it just like that.
This was better than I thought it would be. I kind of made it up as I went along. I was only going to have tomatoes and cheese, but as usual I got carried away and added the other things. I suppose that makes it a kind of warm Pasta Nicoise. Without the tuna. And the olives. Although those would have been nice as well.