My kitchen and I haven’t always been what you’d call well-acquainted. Early in my adult life, I considered a bowl of cereal to be a reasonable dinner. I enjoyed cooking once every few weeks, but once I satisfied that desire to whip up a meal, I didn’t want to start the process all over again the next evening. I often said, “I love dinner. I just wish it didn’t come every night.”
Fast-forward 15 years, and I’m usually happy in the kitchen. What changed? I learned to appreciate good, homemade food—and how valuable it is for my health. I also now have two children, and while they would love cereal for dinner every night, I want them to enjoy the benefits of wholesome food and the distinct joy that comes from gathering together around a table. There’s magic in that nightly ritual of prepping a meal with my family and sitting down to eat it (even when our five-year-old expresses his profound skepticism about broccoli), and our kitchen is an essential part of that alchemy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how great kitchens contribute to quality of life because this issue is full of them—and the products and ideas that shaped the spaces’ impressive designs. I’m particularly drawn to the pretty, updated Tudor (with a killer Sputnik chandelier in the adjacent dining nook) in “Colorado Kitchen Confidential” and to the surprisingly modern space tucked into the back of a 19th-century Victorian in “Once More, With Feeling” (page 88). These kitchens are showpieces, but what I love best is that they’re also the means to a simple and beautiful end: connecting with our people over delicious food that, sometimes, even the five-year-old will eat.