Opinion Photo

Have you ever wondered, what is the real purpose of the kitchen’s center island? Ponder this question no more, dear readers, as I think I have found the answer. It is a place to collect, stack, put, place, spread, leave, toss and lose things! It is a trap for all things unrelated to cooking. Handy to have, stylish to look at, expensive to build and a must-have for all truly gourmet chefs, these center islands could be the root of all evil.

Perhaps I am overreacting a bit, because I know if my husband, Doug, has his way — which he usually does — the center island in our kitchen becomes his own private workstation. 

Objects that suspiciously look like tools and medical devices have made their way into my cooking space, not to mention papers and mail. This very vital cook-center has become a “man-center!” 

A woman emailed me to say that her exquisite granite center island is always piled high with kids’ papers and her family’s “stuff” and she hasn’t seen the top of it in a few months. A builder told me that his wife wants him to “demolish” the center island in their kitchen because it is just “attracts junk,” which, she claims, is mostly his. Hey, this sounds drastic. 

I have shown houses with gourmet kitchens that have beautiful natural stone surfaces adorned with a few strategically placed pieces of museum-quality pottery. Fresh cut flowers in an elegant vase, an open French cookbook, something exotic being prepared, a bottle of fine wine opened and half-empty standing next to the cook’s wine glass are about the only objects that can be seen on these elegant countertops. I have tried this. It lasts for one day.

So, what am I to do with a pair of hemostats tossed into my silverware drawer? And how is it that my good knives end up in the garage? What is duct tape doing under my sink? The garage and kitchen are nothing more than blended workspaces! 

Yikes, I’m being invaded in my own house, and if I’m not careful my kitchen will look like an ad for Tools Illustrated. A lady did email me to say that she found her husband’s electric drill “menacing” her pantry, with “drill bits lined up in a neat little row as if they had found a new resting place.” She said the garage is “spilling into her kitchen” and she’ll “fight to the end” before that happens. 

Hmmm. Sounds like a “space war” to me. Maybe just get a big box (to put all the stuff in) and a bottle of fine wine (to call a truce). As for the bigger battle? Let’s enjoy the beauty and functionality of our center islands and strive to keep the tools out of the kitchen and the utensils out of the garage. I have more to say on this topic, but wait, is that Doug walking into the garage with my good stainless tongs? I better run.