Rarely do I wake up from a dream and think to myself, “Man, I wish that was real life.” (Ok maybe a couple times in high school when I dreamed that Justin Timberlake wanted to be my boyfriend.) Mostly, I jolt out of dreams where I am being chased or falling and real life, no matter how mundane, seems like a way better alternative. Last weekend after trying to rearrange my poorly equipped kitchen, I had a dream that made me want to crawl back under the covers and live in that alternate world.
For an apartment kitchen, mine’s pretty darn good. It’s got a big open floor plan and lots of windows, a respectable gas stove, a dishwasher (!), and a relatively new fridge. My complaint, like most cooks, is that there isn’t enough storage or prep space. There aren’t nearly enough cabinets or drawers, and the counter space is just plain pitiful. And unless we get rid of our beloved kitchen table, there really isn’t room for the massive kitchen cart/island that I can’t afford, but deeply believe would solve all my problems.
No, I didn’t dream that I had a big, gorgeous, well-organized kitchen. Apparently my sub-conscious—with the exception of those Justin Timberlake hiccups—is much more of a realist. I dreamt that there was a public library for kitchenware. All you had to do was sign up, get a card, and for NO money whatsoever you could rent out pots, pans, knives, dishes, utensils, KitchenAids, blenders, and food processors. You name it.
In my dream, I walked through rows and rows of rainbow-hued Le Creusets in all sizes, one so big I could have slept in it. Ramekins piled high in teetering towers. Stacks and stacks of nonstick pans all slick and smooth and ready to make the perfect omelet. Nests of mixing bowls with skid-resistant bottoms and perfect-pour spouts. Cutting boards of bamboo, olive wood, and well-oiled cherry. An army of KitchenAid mixers poised to paddle bread dough into serious submission.
When I woke up I thought to myself, Now that is just amazing! I don’t have the money to buy all the kitchen things I want, and I don’t have the space to store them even if I did. And what about all those dishes I want to try that require strange tools? I want to make real crème brûlée, but I don’t want to surrender precious drawer space to a kitchen torch. I could borrow that from the cookware library.
There are so many things I would love to test drive—to use for an afternoon. They fall into two categories: the Aston Martin and the U-Haul. An Aston Martin is something you could never afford, but would love to get behind the wheel of for a few hours. A U-Haul is something you need for a time, but would never want to own.
I would love to chop a few onions with razor sharp Wusthof Ikon knives—I bet I wouldn’t even cry. And I’d borrow a huge tagine on a Saturday to make Moroccan for a crowd. I’d get a loaner set of cake decorating tools like pastry bags and tips when I am feeling adventurous with frosting. And I’d totally rent a spacious copper bowl, because I want to whip egg whites in one just once. Plus, they’re pretty. I’d borrow a tart pan, or better yet mini tart pans—because really, how often do you use those? Oh, I could go on forever.
I hope some rich philanthropist reads this and starts a cookware library near me. But, in all seriousness, think about it: books are so important to the development of good citizens that local and federal governments help fund libraries. But what about food and eating? Given the problem of over-eating, fast food, and obesity in this country—doesn’t encouraging people to cook more (without asking them to plunk down loads of money to do so) make all kinds of sense?
Or am I still dreaming?