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The Ghost of Kitchens Past


DO SOMETHING FOR NEARLY 18 YEARS and in retrospect there are bound to be some things that you wish you’d done differently (or not at all).  That’s just about how long we’ve been pushing out issues of The Valley Table. Out of 72 issues, no other article we’ve published haunts me like the one we ran announcing our kitchen renovation. That pictorial was published way back in issue 55 in anticipation of a quick and easy renovation. (How’s that for an oxymoron?) What amazes me is the long-term memory of our readers. A couple of weeks ago someone asked, “How’s the new kitchen?” I had to patiently explain tha it’s a serious project that we’re putting a lot of careful thought and planning into and we’re not rushing it.

Query a number of people about their ideas on kitchen design and you’re likely to hear something like, “Lots of light. Step out through big glass doors to a breakfast table on the deck overlooking the woods. Appliances—stove, oven, refrigerator, dish washer—within arm’s reach of each other. Plenty of cabinets, with extra storage on top. No wasted space. A clean, light countertop with a built-in butcher block for cutting. Big double sink with disposal. Skylight to vent and illuminate. A desk near the entrance for mail and package drop. Open floor space to accommodate almost any size kitchen table. “That’s what our old kitchen looks like. It should be obvious why we need a new one.

Somewhere in our research we came across this little factoid: Almost 60 percent of divorces begin with a home renovation project. “Not us,” we swore. I learned quickly, however, that to live out my life in wedded bliss I should agree with everything. “What if we put the sink here, the stove over there and open up that wall to the den?” “Good idea.” T wo weeks later I hear, “The sink and dishwasher have to be on that wall and the stove over here.” “Good idea.” “But you said the other way was a good idea.” “It was.” “So which do you like better?” “I like them both.” Then, sensing the tension of a confrontation, I’d continue, “What color is the floor?”

Well, the good news is that the much-anticipated, long-awaited Valley Table kitchen renovation is about to begin. (Which reminds me: This guy goes to the doctor, then comes home and tells his wife, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” “What’s the good news?” she asks. “The good news is he says I’m going to live another 20 years.” “So what’s the bad news?” she asks again. “The bad news is he says I’m going to live another 20 years.” That pretty much sums up renovations, too.)
Normally, this is where we’d segue into how we hope you enjoy this issue and we wish you all a joyous and safe holiday season. We’d say thanks to our family at The Valley Table—our staff, contributing writers, photographers and designers—who make our work a pleasure. Thanks, too, to our advertisers and sponsors who make it all possible. And with deep gratitude, we thank you, our readers, who support our mission and have such a good memory. We’ll see you all in 2016, when we’ll celebrate a new kitchen, the tenth anniversary of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and the launch of our totally new website.

Now I have to go and voice my opinion about a floor color. (Hint: I like the light one and the dark one.)

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!