April 19, 2012

Making Peace with The Beast

The Beast
I thought I was crazy when I only had two places of residence. Adding a third house to the mix of my already spread-thin life has only intensified the sense of never being where I should be for maximized productivity and efficiency. Let me explain.

Late last fall My Baby and I undertook the huge project of rejuvenating a gorgeous, interesting house in a beautiful neighborhood in our nearest-by town. The house had been his part-time bachelor pad/ part time home to four active children for the 20 years before acquiring the house in the country five years ago. In the time that has passed, the house has been lightly lived in and somewhat overlooked. Our early love affair created a bit of a distraction, so the house needed, let's just say, a bit of work. Besides, every house needs a little makeover every 20 years or so, right?

Allow me to describe this wonderful house: A spaceship crashed into the side of a mountain and turned into a modern, multi-level structure built on an exo-skeleton of enormous exposed fir beams, bolted together, straddling triangular picture windows looking out over wooded hills.

I should mention that the house also has a full sized 1979-vintage Wolf range. Not the made-for-home variety, but the real commercial deal.  Griddle, salamander, two ovens, six untamed gazillion-BTU gas burners. 48 inches and 2 tons of unbridled power in electronics-free black steel. She will from henceforth be called La BĂȘte.

 Rib Eye and Sauteed Wild Mushrooms on The Beast
My experience cooking on The Beast so far has been limited to a pot of soup and a chicken casserole, prepared to keep our small crew of two or three going on construction afternoons.  I'll just say that with all that unrestrained heat, it was the fastest-cooking pot of curried lentils I've ever made.

Master Bath, Before
The contractors recently completed foundation repairs, new roofing and deck structures. Our own elbow grease now takes over with deck paving, painting, bathroom and kitchen updating. And my biggest job of all; to make peace with The Beast.

 In Need of a Little Updating
Last week, after months of arduous work, we spent our first night back at the city house. My Baby made a little ceremony out of it. He brought provisions for a commemorative meal, our favorite Reidel wine glasses, and a bottle of our favorite Cabernet (Black Coyote, Napa Valley 2006, in case you're wondering.)
We sat amongst the ladders and patches of experimental paint colors, eating rib eyes grilled on the Wolf, in front of the fire and toasted to our crazy, three-house life, and the ensuing adventures with La BĂȘte.

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