On holiday: dream kitchen

We’re just outside Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the week, staying in a house that has been in a state renovation for a year or so (and will be for another five). The walls are naked (and not in the no-art-hanging way), the floors plywood and walking around without shoes is a bad idea. The only heat comes from fireplaces.

It’s the home of my cousin Josh (he of the Maryland crabs), the retired cook and Culinary Institute of America alum. And while living in a constantly morphing space has it’s drawbacks, it is fantastic for cooking.

Right now, Josh is installing a new counter next to the sink over the used Sub-Zero wine storer, adding a second oven just for the 36-pound turkey (more later), and hooking up a second refrigerator for all the bits and pieces.

Josh and Michelle are raising their own chickens for both meat and eggs. (They originally got the birds to save money, but quickly realized that it was costing them more to raise their own. They don’t get government subsidizes.) The meat birds are still too small to slaughter, but the eggs’ yolks are a vibrant orange instead of the pale yellow of regular supermarket eggs (including the cage-free, organic and free-range ones).

The coolest feature of the kitchen, such as it is, is the built-in wood-fired oven. Our first night we had pizza in it and last night’s roasted chicken and the skin came out a beautiful brown. I’m now planning — with or without anyone’s consent — to tear apart our 1950s ranch to enlarge our kitchen.