Designing A Dream

To organise a great kitchen it often helps to have had years of experience cooking in a crappy one. When you cook in a crappy kitchen you have to figure out routines and practices to work around the problems of your crappy kitchen which means you effectively have to design your crappy kitchen, or rather design how you work in your kitchen, to get the most out of it. This engages you in the relationship between cooking and the environment in which you are cooking. It is very hard for someone who has only ever worked in a beautiful hi-tech perfectly designed kitchen to really know what makes a kitchen great. In a perfect kitchen you have far fewer decisions to make, far fewer ideas to come up with and far fewer opportunities to grow as a chef and a kitchen worker.


Also, if you have been working way in a crappy kitchen for years you have also almost certainty been doing something else: you have been designing your perfect kitchen in your head for all those years. You have been working through all the little bits and pieces: will you have an island? How much work surface? Where will you position things in relation to each other? What of kitchen carcasses and laminate flooring?  Do you want marble? Like, do you want marble though? Yeah but like, are you going to marble bruv? Can you even marble? Is it? Can you though? Can you marble though? Go on, marble. Marble yeah? Like yeah marble yeah? Na man, for real. Marble. Yeah.


The real question that you’ve got to ask yourself as someone who is building there own kitchen, before you get down to the nitty gritty of drawing up papers and picking colours and buying an oven and picking out the fittings and choosing the cupboard doors is ARE YOU GOING TO MARBLE THOUGH?

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“The man who has begun to live more seriously within begins to live more simply without”
― Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was obsessed with the idea of Man. And that is man meaning men, not man meaning all people. That is man meaning masculinity. He was obsessed with the idea of masculinity. He believed in fighting, he believed in courage, he believed in having heroes and he believed that there where qualities one should embody, for it is right and true and proper. Hemingway believed that life was there for him to take, for him to dominate.


“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

So what man am I by Hemingway’s standards? Do I fight? Do I own life? Do I take control and dominate and fight with bravery and honour for that which is write and true? Well, I suppose, no. No I don’t, I don’t do those things. I let whole days pass me by. I think long and complicated things inside my head whilst being paralysed into inactivity in my actions. I don’t take responsibility for my responsibilities. I recently paid a man for his oven cleaning by ovenu services. I gave another man money and he came and did strong practical work on my oven. He understood how ovens work: he took it apart and cleaned each part individually, I watched him move back and forth and gave a little eye widening of pretend recognition when ever he extracted a particular piece from the oven.  I tried to engage him in grounded conversation and failed. I tried to keep my hand shake firm and I failed. I tried to show him I was a ‘Man’ in the way that a Man must surely have to be a Man, and I failed.


Never confuse movement with action.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Am I liberated from some retrograde imagined masculinity that only limits all of us? Am I free in way that Hemingway was not because I do not hold myself to some extreme external standard? Am I actually the stronger one because I am willing to not pursue that masculine ideal that has been handed to me? Well, I had almost convinced myself of that, and perhaps it is true, but I would still be knocked on my back if me and Ernest got in the ring…



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You need to eat. Without food you will literally die of being too small and being too hungry and eventually being too dead to be alive any more. Are you ready for that? Does that sound fun? Does that sound like something you want to do? Because I’m pretty sure that’s something you don’t want to do

Hemingway: The assignment was to take the hill. There were 4 of us. Belmonte lost his hand when a grenade went off and couldn’t fight as he could when I first met him. And he was young, and brave. And the hill was soggy from days of rain, and the hill sloped down toward a road, and there were many German soldiers on the road. And the idea was to aim for the first group, and if our aim was true, we could delay them.

Gil: Were you scared?

Hemingway: Of what?

Gil: Getting killed?

Hemingway: You’ll never write well if you’re afraid of dying. Do you?

Gil: Yeah, I do. I’d say it’s probably… maybe my greatest fear, actually.

Hemingway: Well, that’s something all men before you have done. All men will do.

Gil: I know. I know.

Hemingway: Have you ever made love to a truly great woman?

Gil: Actually, my fiance is pretty sexy.

Hemingway: And when you make love to her, you feel true, and beautiful passion, and you, for at least that moment, lose your fear of death.

Gil: No. That doesn’t happen.

Hemingway: I believe that love that is true and real creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving, or not loving well, which is the same thing. And when the man who is brave and true looks Death squarely in the face like some rhino-hunters I know, or Belmonte, who’s truly brave. It is because they love with sufficient passion, to push death out of their minds, until it returns, as it does, to all men. And then you must make really good love again.
Think about it.

We of course fear death, which is right and natural, for life is worth living and so death is worth fearing. How we react to death can define us, can you overwhelm it with love and passion and intensity? I attempt to overcome it with pleasure, the pleasure of working well and working hard and creating something that maintains life and makes it worth living.

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