Monday, 26 May 2008

Paris Apartments: When Less Is More

Don’t expect much from me for the next little while. Too much going on, too many fun things to do. The kids are taking turns looking after our elderly cat, Calie who will soon turn 21. How nice to know that she (and the house) will be looked after well!

European kitchens are often rather small: Adam Gopnik has a long riff on the size of cute French appliances in his book about his family's five years in Paris, From Earth to the Moon. Part of this has to do with the size of the dwellings most people live in--there are few 3,000 square foot apartments in Paris. Part also is linked to the custom of shopping every day for perishable food. Even people who could stock up on non-perishables tend to buy meat, fruits and vegetables daily or every other day. This means that refrigerators don't have to monster size.

The apartment we are stayiing in was last refurbished 20 or so years ago: the people who own it don't spend more than a few months a year here so they apparently don't feel the need to redo the kitchen. That's fine. The galley kitchen is perfectly adequate for cooking even rather complicated things, which I am frequently tempted to do since the market street, rue de Mouffetard, is a couple of minutes away on foot, and there is a huge open air market in the other direction three days a week.

The place doesn't have a dishwasher, which also is fine with me, since I don't have one at home either. But as we washed up, I was reminded of a line from Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking where she says at one point in the grieving process she was reduced to running the dishwasher daily even though it was half full so she could particular plates which linked her to her late husband John Gregory Dunne. Come on, I remember thinking, why don't you just wash the dishes by hand, lady? Sometime less really is more.


patàmodeler said...

Bonjour Mary,

A little incursion in our blog just to tell you I really enjoy reading your pieces of life.

Patricia (une amie de Guylène et d'Elin)

Muzition said...

Wow, your cat is really old! Mine is 8 now. We once had an 18-year-old cat (this was when I was a little kid, so the cat was much older than me.)

Glad you're enjoying Paris. I've never been there. I'm going to Europe for the first time this summer, on a trip with my youth orchestra.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Glad you like the blog, Patricia. We had hoped to make it to Brussels to see Guylene and company, but Paris so much than we couldn't tear ourselves away. Now that I'm back, I will check their blog to see how things are going.