Standing in front of an — ancient by today’s standard — kitchen sink that will easily hold a baby elephant or your largest roasting pan, a brief but shocking memory comes to me.

Our current and slightly more humble kitchen with the ginormous sink. And yes, that is a second door to our apartment. A good old-fashioned rarely-used service door. Culinary magic happens here.

Upgraded, our former kitchen was originally a dungeon of a space. Dark, dank, and derelict, it was a depressing spot to prepare meals. Memory has me sitting at the too-big-for-this-space table and musing about just how depressing the room is, when my over six foot tall brother-in-law comes up the basement stairs — where he’d been working on a project with my husband — and swings an enormous sledge-hammer into the wall, knocking half of it into the next-door utility room. Did your mouth just drop open? That was my reaction too.

Sometimes you need a little push or a wrecking ball to stop whining and get on with your life. The kitchen reno was a rousing success. It included a state-of-the-art Viking range (husband’s choice) and the perfect black and white tile floor (my choice). And don’t you know that when we sold the house fifteen years later, the first real estate agent to view the house, told us that it was hopelessly dated. We’d never sell the place without — you guessed it — upgrades. We didn’t hire that realtor or any of the others having similar opinions.

I laugh about that today, remembering a PTA sponsored fundraiser I attended with friends, where we were welcomed into other much more posh homes to view some very special kitchens. Most were kitted out with gleaming stainless steel and fancy-patterned granite countertops. All fairly colorless, neutral and lifeless.

One house though maintained its charm while including some newer appliances. It was Victorian in style and boasted a dark mahogany butler’s pantry. I imagined big family dinners and holiday parties; food being prepared and presented on generous bone china platters and sterling silver serving trays that would be stored away behind the cabinet doors. We shouldn’t have, but we peeked behind one of the doors. My imaginary bubble burst at the sight of tupperware and plastic children’s dishware.

But it was the sink that really caught my attention. The sink we were told was called a farmhouse sink and a newish style-concept offered by kitchen designers. I stood there, longer than I should have, admiring it’s massive proportions, its sexy front apron, and its deep potential. I may have mentioned that it was the sink-of-my-dreams.

Not my sink, but I envy the size and possibilities of a sink such as this. Just imagine how many dirty pots and pans will fit in here!

It was a woman standing next to me who coined the phrase sink-envy, whispering it in my ear. “You,” she said, “have a bad case of sink-envy dear.” Sink-envy!? Me? The insightful stranger was correct. I went home to my then newish kitchen that day, and stood before our average-size sink feeling let-down. I chose poorly when it came to the sink.

We all have our “thing” that quirk in our personality that makes us the interesting humans that we turn out to be. I could probably bust  into song right now…. “I like big sinks and I cannot lie,” but we’ve established this as fact and as I currently stand in the slightly frumpy kitchen of the apartment that we now call home, I realize that I’m no longer plagued by sink-envy. In the most roundabout way, I’ve gotten exactly what I’ve always wanted. A ginormous kitchen sink.

 Our former kitchen that was deemed out-of-date by real estate agents. Note the smaller sink.




Professional sales people, truck drivers, and those who find themselves in traffic much too often need a break every now and then. If you’re an adventurous eater, and maybe keep a list of culinary stops to make when-in-the-area, lunch might just be a high-note on an otherwise humdrum humpday.

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What isn’t pumpkin flavoring added to these days? I could easily write a Forrest Gump style list of all the squash related dishes that show up on menus and in cookbooks at this time of year but that would be annoying. Not to mention the beverages — alcoholic and caffeinated — supplemented with pumpkin intent. So I won’t.

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I’m writing this with the tune of David Bowie’s “ch-ch-ch-ch changes. Turn and face the strange,” running through my brain. This past year has been nothing but changes. Changes in what we’re cooking in the kitchen, changes in what kitchen we’re cooking in, changes in where we are working, and changes made to our lifestyle in general. If you’d told me a year ago — yesterday — that this is where we’d be now, I would have laughed my head off. If you’d told me that we would be happier, and better off for turning our lives upside down, I would not have believed you.

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How does a thirty five year old Jersey Girl with a degree in biology become a sustainable farmer? Jessica Isbrecht, a self proclaimed anomaly, is raising heritage pigs, chickens, goats, and a handful of turkeys, rabbits and geese on 30 acres of the 2,740 acre tract of land left to the state of New Jersey by heiress, socialite, and philanthropist, Doris Duke.

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