It’s a French thing, a summer kitchen.
As food is high up there on the agenda here, its focal location is momentarily displaced during the warm long days of summer to an outside place.
At the very least the new location will have a roof, and for some (like mine) it will be a room in an adjacent outbuilding.
Preserving is one activity that has recently started in the summer kitchens throughout the land – bottled fruit is alive and well here, and there is little or no evidence of the inbred suspicion the British have of bottled veg.
As I write asparagus, apricots and cherries are the first to hit the KIlner jar.
Pungent aromas are best relinquished to the summer kitchen – pickling vinegar brewing has a linger factor about 2 weeks, so it’s best left outside.
I enquired of my neighbour as to the “true” usage of this temporary culinary headquarters. Her answer was startling simple:
It keeps the cooking heat out of the house when it is hot, thereby maintaining a cool, shuttered sanctum to retreat to when it’s unbearable outside.
My stone sink is my favourite part of my summer kitchen. It is flat, with a very shallow lip and I have a tin wash up bowl on it. The fireplace is currently closed in, but I have plans……………….because the summer kitchen is additionally used in Autumn for open fire cooking with friends. You can buy a long handled grill here especially for cooking direct on hot embers for around 20 euros. Cheap at half the price. It’s a bit like an indoor barbecue. Great fun when it’s time to close the doors on the cool Autumn weather. As I said, those are the plans for another day. Today’s priority is to shut off the Aga, and open up for business outside.