Friday, November 23, 2007

More Retro Stuff

Retro Renovation has some great new images of 1948 kitchens today.

And a commenter, TomorrowWindy, left a link to a PRICELESS video on kitchen design back in the formative years.

You’ve likely seen it, but here’s a fabulous video from the 1950s about the “Step-Saving Kitchen.”


Monday, November 19, 2007

Retro Renovation

I just came across a great blog for those of you trying to create a 50's Retro Look in your kitchen and all around the house. It's by 50sPam:

Retro Renovation

A place for your postwar 40s 50s and 60s style kitchens, bathrooms and mid century modern home aesthetic.

Love Pam's great illustrations. She's obviously on a mission.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Put an End to Annoying Catalogs

This has absolutely nothing to do with kitchen design (beyond the reduction of clutter), but I have just signed up for the greatest new service:

I would like you to join me on Catalog Choice.

Catalog Choice is an easy, free service that allows you to decline unsolicited catalogs, reducing the number of catalogs in your mailbox and lightening your footprint on the environment.

I learned about this new free service on Bill Moyers Journal last night, and signed up today.

Billions of catalogs go from mail box to recycle bin, or worse yet garbage, every year.

We all love catalogs, but get way too many.

I spent quite a few hours earlier this year calling each one I didn't want.
If anything they have MULTIPLIED since that effort.

Join me by clicking the link below:

Catalog signup

Thank you.


Did you know?

Over eight million tons of trees are consumed each year in the production of paper catalogs.

Nearly half of the planet’s original forest cover is gone today. Forests have effectively disappeared in 25 countries, and another 29 have lost more than 90% of their forest cover.

Deforestation contributes between 20% and 25% of all carbon pollution, causing global climate change.

More than one billion people living in extreme poverty around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods.

There are other significant environmental impacts from the catalog cycle. The production and disposal of direct mail alone consumes more energy than three million cars.

The manufacturing, distribution, collection and disposal of catalogs generates global warming gases as well as air and water pollution. Reducing the number of unwanted catalogs that are mailed will help the environment.

Free Design Giveaway

Jackie Von Tobel, over at Jackie Blue Home, has put out a call for submissions to solve reader design problems on her blog:

If you have a very specific design challenge please drop me a line at
jackie_vontobel at Include all pertinent measurements, attach photos or drawings of the space, and a detailed description of what you would like to achieve and I will give you some suggestions and show sketches of your room. Be sure to include your email address so I can ask questions if necessary.

I'm sure that will keep Jackie busy for a while.

I'm linking here to make sure all the freebie-lookers know where to go.

I'm still sticking to my guns: I'm happy to answer questions of interest to all. That's what Kitchen-Exchange is all about, and I love doing this. But I draw the line before providing services free that I charge for in my business.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fitting a Dishwasher Where None Exists


I came across your site, and while I'm very interested in a kitchen redesign, I have a quick question for the immediate time-frame...

I live in a 1939 home in Oakland, with shallow-depth counters, no d/w or garbage disposal. Plumbing and electrical are all original, so most if not all would need to be upgraded when it comes time to upgrade properly. I work FT, and have 3 kids under the age of 5. Needless to say, I could use a little convenience in my life.

Until that big dream kitchen project becomes a reality, I was wondering if you were aware of any shallow depth dishwashers that could be installed under my ~21.5" counters. I can happily sacrifice some existing cabinetry adjacent to the sink, but have not been able to find any suitable appliances via an online search thus far. Width is not a problem, but depth is, since I don't want to replace the counters and cabinets to accommodate the traditional depth appliance.

I would imagine this is not an unusual request with all the older homes in the Bay Area. Any words of wisdom to share?



Thanks for your question Natalie.

I don't know of any dishwasher that would fit flush in a 21.5" deep opening.

European dishwashers are all about 22-7/16 or 22-3/8" deep.

That shouldn't stop you though IF you can make a space 23-5/8" wide in your cabinets for a European dishwasher next to your sink.

I have seen lots of dishwashers installed over the years that were deeper than the cabinets. Usually with a bit of moulding at each side to make the installation look better (It won't look great, but we're after function here).

You'll also need electrical behind the new dishwasher or under the sink (I always specify the outlet under the sink so it can easily be unplugged in an emergency.

And you'll have to install a dishwasher air gap on the sink or counter to prevent dirty water from a drain clog going into the dishwasher (this is code).

UPC 807.4:

No domestic dishwashing machine shall be connected directly to a drainage system or food waste disposer without the use of an approved dishwasher airgap fitting on the discharge side of the dishwashing machine. Listed airgaps shall be installed with the flood level marking at or above the flood level of the sink or drainboard, whichever is higher.

If you decide to buy a Miele (the best in my opinion), you'll be able to use it in your new kitchen too. Mine is going on 18 years old and still going strong and quiet as a mouse.

Good luck in getting your much-deserved dishwasher Natalie.


Dates and Cashew Delight

A pudding with date balls in it. An absolutely yummy dessert, which will be favored by kids and adults alike. An ideal choice of dessert for kids party.

You need for the date balls:

Dates -200 gm
Cashew- 75 gm
Bananas – 2 Nos
Butter /Ghee- 50 gm
Sugar – 50 gm

For the custard you require

Milk – 1 cup
Custard powder – 4tspn
Sugar – 4 tbspn
Vanilla essence – ¼ tbspn

Prepare the date balls to be dropped in the custard

Finely chop dates, cashew and bananas separately.

Take a kadai, melt butter. Add dates.

Keep mixing it till it turns dark brown.

Add the chopped banana and cook till it is blended well with the dates.

Add sugar and mix till it reaches halwa consistency. Remove from fire

Allow it to cool. Make gooseberry size balls of the mixture and roll them over the chopped cashew and keep it aside.
If you want to reduce the calorie, you can skip this step of rolling over cashew. It tastes good without this also.

Now let us move on to custard preparation

Mix the custard powder with little milk. See to that no lumps are formed.

Add the mix to the remaining milk. Add sugar.

Boil the mix till it starts to thicken. Remove from fire.

Allow it to cool.
Drop the date balls into the custard.

Refrigerate and serve.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Great Article On Countertop Choices - Pros & Cons

There's a great article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere, by Schaub, Charlene Varkonyi, called
"Counter Intuitive: Which Type Is Right for You?"

I'd like to comment further here:

Almost all of my clients choose granite countertops.

Those who don't choose stainless, marble or wood, or a combination thereof.

I've NEVER done zinc or copper. Not once!

I haven't done a Corian top in years, even though I LOVE it myself (Have it in my own kitchen). Same goes for the other engineered and solid surface countertops, and I haven't done any laminate since the early 90's when Corian was the top choice.

Tile once was king of the countertops in California, but the last tile I did was granite tile in a budget kitchen. Except, of course, for the backsplash: which is almost always some sort of tile.

My middle class clientele of practical cooks accounts for this. They want something that looks great and you can put a hot pot on.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Shed a Little Light on the Subject

Melpa-Alfit has introduced a new hinge that aims a single LED into your cabinet every time you open the door.

Cool. Illuxo comes in white or blue light.

Great for illuminating the labels on spices or medicines in a cabinet...Or, just impressing your friends.


Dwell Has a New Kitchen Blog

Dwell Magazine has birthed a Kitchen Blog to add to the list.

The just started on October 24th 2007 so there's not much there yet...So far colorful, contemporary and appliance oriented.

Looks like a variety of editors are posting to it. Including Sara Hart, Michael Cannell, Chelsea Holden Baker, Audrey Tempelsman, and Deborah Baldwin: who has an interesting post about trying appliances before you buy.


The Kitchens Sisters on the Road for Hidden Kitchens Texas

Along the road...

The Birth of the Frito - Another Texas Hidden Kitchen

Morning Edition, October 18, 2007 · When we produced our 1999 NPR series, "Lost & Found Sound," we said we were chronicling people possessed by sound. With "Hidden Kitchens," perhaps you could say we are chronicling people possessed by food.

Charles Elmer Doolin is one such man. Possessed by a vision. By corn. By creating snack food. Doolin was obsessed with Fritos, his daughter Kaleta said.

During the Depression in the 1930s, Doolin had a confectionery in San Antonio. Always an innovator, he got a bug to put some kind of corn snack on his counters. Tortillas staled, so Doolin went on a mission. At a gas station, Doolin found a Mexican man making an extruded corn chip out of masa, frying it and selling little bags of the fried corn chips. They were fritos, "little fried things" — the beach food of Mexico.

Doolin bought the patent and 14 customers from the man and began to make the chips in his own kitchen at home, with his mother perfecting his recipe.

"His life was one big hidden kitchen," his son-in-law Alan Govenar said. Doolin had kitchens in his factory, kitchens in his lab, kitchens with test tubes and beakers in his house.

Kaleta Doolin said his kids were his guinea pigs — helping him test new recipes and flavors. Through these kitchen experiments, C.E. Doolin also invented the Cheeto.

Along the way, Doolin started hybridizing his own corn. The secret ingredient in Fritos, Kaleta Doolin says, is her father's own, special corn. He hired farmers throughout Texas to plant his varieties until he found the taste he was looking for.

Doolin and his brother Earl were modern, can-do innovative tinkerers. Soon they were taking Henry Ford's idea of the assembly line and conveyor belt and applying it to the manufacture of the Frito.

C.E. Doolin had big plans for this chip. He opened a Casa de Frito restaurant in Disneyland in 1955, and another one in Dallas. The restaurants were a sort of precursor to fast food, a hybrid between hamburgers and Mexican food.

When he invented the Frito, C.E. Doolin imagined them as a side dish, a handful to be served with soup and salad to complement a meal. He never imagined anyone would consume an entire king-size bag. He rarely ate them.

And if he brought them home, he would have grabbed them off the conveyor belt before they were salted. The Doolins were vegetarians, and barely touched salt. Kaleta Doolin took figs and yogurt in her lunch to school, not Fritos.

In fact, C.E. Doolin was a follower of Dr. Herbert Shelton, a San Antonio vegetarian and healer whose innovative theories on nutrition and fasting permeated the Doolin home. C.E. Doolin, who was overweight and unhealthy and had a bad heart, went to Shelton's clinics several times for 30-day fasts. Doolin ate no meat, no fat, no salt. Shelton, in his heyday, ran for president on the vegetarian ticket in 1956.

C.E. Doolin was an early franchiser and soon began distributing Fritos nationwide. One photo shows a "Frito Fleet" rolling through the streets of San Antonio, accompanied by a local marching band.

Doolin's wife, Katherine, was known for her social work and good relationships with the workers at the company. It was a strong, family feeling that made Fritos a legendary Texas business. Mrs. Doolin developed all kinds of recipes using Fritos, including Frito pie and Frito jets (Fritos dipped in chocolate and laid out on a cookie sheet — "fat on top of fat," Kaleta Doolin says). These recipes were printed on the backs of Fritos packages.

By the time of his death in 1959, C.E. Doolin had partnered with Herman Lay, and the Frito-Lay brand had gone global. But the company lost that family feeling. We now eat our weight in snack foods instead of the modest portions Doolin had in mind.

Kaleta Doolin is busy making a film and writing a book based on the history of her father's groundbreaking work.

We thank all in the Doolin Family who helped us tell this story, and Frito-Lay, which so generously shared its sound and images with The Kitchen Sisters and "Hidden Kitchens."

Next month on "Hidden Kitchens": The story of a kitchen tradition that goes back more than 1,000 years — Banging the Branch, the olive oil harvest on the West Bank.

Space Food: Beyond Tang - NASA's Hidden Kitchen

Morning Edition, June 7, 2007 · NASA's Johnson Space Center invited The Kitchen Sisters to visit its "hidden kitchen." On the eve of NASA's scheduled launch of space shuttle Atlantis, The Kitchen Sisters present a brief history of space food.
"This is Tiffany Travis calling from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. We'd like to invite The Sisters to come to our space food lab where our food scientists create meals for our astronauts on board the shuttle and the space station. I thought you might be interested in what astronauts are eating 220 miles above the earth. Bread is the number one enemy in space. You do not want crumbs floating around in microgravity getting into the electronics. Come take a look." — Hidden Kitchens Hotline Message #2203

We took Travis up on her invitation and set off traveling to Houston. Along the way, we followed the trails of some of the many Hidden Kitchens Texas calls that we had received over the year. Calls about oil barrel barbeques, cowboy kitchens, oystermen on Galveston Bay, the tamale lady at Fuel City in Dallas, a restaurant tucked down a driveway in Fort Worth, a car wash kitchen in El Paso, the garage kitchens of Vietnamese residents in Houston, and the space food kitchens of NASA. — The Kitchen Sisters

This week at the Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas


Texas Book Festival. Highlights at this year's literary celebration include 'Hecho en Tejas: A Celebration of Texas Mexican Literature' at 10 a.m. Saturday and appearances by authors Robert Draper, Kristin Gore, Lynne Cheney, Jenna Bush (above), Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Toobin, Douglas Brinkley and The Kitchen Sisters from NPR. Sessions are free and first-come, first-served. Saturday and Sunday, with many sessions at the Capitol. For a complete schedule and list of venues, go to

Friday, November 02, 2007

Kalathu Podi - To mix with rice and eat

Recipe for another podi.

Horsegram(Mudirai/Kollu) - 1 cup

Chana dal - 1/4 cup
Urad dal - 1/4 cup
Peppercorn - 4 nos
Jeera - 1 tspn
Red chilly - 4
Salt as required

Dry roast the dals separately, till nice aroma comes .

Roast the rest of the ingredients together.

When cool, powder the ingredients together fine ly,in a mixer grinder.

Mix with hot rice using oil/ghee. Serve papads or mezhukkuvaratti as accompaniment.

I eat with gingely oil even though I love to have with ghee

Copra Kalathupodi