My chef father may have cooked in the kitchen, but he maintained a small office area in the pantry. Here he could sit with his morning coffee and peruse cookbooks for new ideas. He kept a pad and pencil for jotting down ideas and even articles he wished could someday write. (He yearned to be a writer, not a chef. I write for a living, but hope to become an accomplished cook.)
After reading Lydia's Oct. 12 post at The Perfect Pantry — in which she poses the question, "When you think of a pantry, what comes to mind?" — I started thinking about that kitchen office. Our pantry was large and had built-in, floor-to-ceiling shelves on one side of a long narrow room. At the end was a high window and a counter. The window overlooked a gravel driveway and our backyard. There my father pulled up his high stool.
Unwittingly, I created the same sort of perch for myself when I bought a high stool that can be pulled up to the kitchen counter. My own window overlooks a copse of cedar trees and a 110-year-old horse-and-buggy barn (pictured above).
In spring and summer I can watch birds of all kinds at the feeders or in the copper birdbath. In fall, I watch the garden turn to russet and gold and often see migrating birds flying above. One cold day I spotted a group of trumpeter swans undulating across the sky.
In winter, I watch cardinals, chickadees and juncos eat the sunflower seeds I put out for them. There are plenty of squirrels and rabbits but also the occasional wild turkey or fox.
It is a relaxing place to sit and dream, to conjure up new recipes or even pay bills. I expect it was for my father too.