Sunday, February 04, 2007

While we're on the topic of home appliances...

After yesterday's eye-opening Italian washing machine exposè, someone asked if all Italian appliances are miniature. And of course, the answer is...yes (big surprise, I know). Today's post features...(drum roll)... my kitchen appliances...(cymbal crash)! Namely, the fridge/freezer and dishwasher. Italian kitchens are all about hiding appliances--not difficult, since they're minuscule. If you were to look at the photos above, you might be hard pressed to tell where the dishwasher is vs. a regular cabinet, since it's all covered in wood panels.
On the left, the tall panel with my kids' artwork taped to it (no magnets, sadly) is the fridge. Above that is the freezer (adorned with more artwork) plus a non-freezer shelf.
In the photo to the right, the dishwasher is on the right of the cabinet below the sink. (Just a note: I hope you all appreciate the fact that I cleaned the kitchen for these photos...I know my husband appreciates it, because it means he doesn't have to do it.)
Okay, now for the sizes. Once again, my 13-month-old will put everything into perspective for you--thrilling for him, since he knows he's not allowed to play with the fridge and/or dishwasher... he could hardly believe his good luck with this photo shoot.
On the right is the 5-plate-capacity dishwasher. Throw in a few glasses and some tupperware and it's time to start that puppy up.
On the left, of course, is the fridge. See the bottle with the red cap that my son is reaching for? That's 1 liter of milk--the largest-size container of milk sold in all of Italy. When my father-in-law came to visit us in the U.S. one year, he gawked at the gallon of milk in our American fridge. He shook his head and said, "Everything in America is big." So true.
Now if you look closely, you can see a bottle of Ocean Spray juice, French's mustard and A.1. Steak Sauce...that's left over from a trip to Aviano Air Force base (in Italy) that I took with my parents when they came to visit last spring (my dad's retired military). God Bless the commissary.
So what's the result of having a kitchen with tiny appliances? Grocery shopping EVERYday. I kid you not. When my husband and I lived in the U.S. the first 6 years of our marriage, I never really understood why he felt the need to go to the grocery store
Even when we had an American fridge that could easily house 3 Italian fridges.
He had to buy fresh salad everyday (what's wrong with the pre-washed salad in a bag?) and fresh bread (the sliced bread with a 30-day shelf life was good enough for me).
I will admit there's one advantage to having a college-dorm-room-sized fridge--it doesn't take long to discover those forgotten, half-used jars of sauce at the back of the bottom shelf. And I can freely admit here that I use sauce from a jar...unlike my mother-in-law. Who doesn't speak English, and therefore, will never read this blog.
(Why do you think those jars were shoved all the way to the back of the fridge in the first place?)


heather massey said...

Surfing in to say hello! Cool blog. It's really making me itch to vacation in Italy. I'm a grocery shopping geek, so I'd probably like going every day. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen. What a darling son!

later, sweetie!

TinaFerraro said...

Natalie, you've got me smiling broadly! Yes, tiny refrigerators and food shopping

And you're lucky to at least have a dishwasher! All we have at our Italian house is a drainboard *above the sink* which means every time you reach up to place a dish in it, soapy suds runs down your arm. LOL. Good thing we only visit in the hot summer months.

If you ever do a post on foods (Italian versus American), tell me what you think of the orange eggs...



Patrizia said...

Ciao Natalie,

Come va?

Love the blog. Got to say I think I have you beat. I live in Japan, and they hold the market on miniature. Rented apartments come with no dishwasher (you kidding?), no oven (I've got a combo microwave oven that bakes 9 cookies at a time), and only two burners for the stove. And yes, I go shopping ALL THE TIME.

But, there's something positive about it all. My family eats a lot of fresh food vs. frozen and since we don't have a car, I'm walking everyday which is good exercise. When I vist my folks in the US, the refrigerator is so stocked you have no idea what's in there and how long it's been in there. Everyone drives (which can't be helped) but everyone is also very overweight.

My 88 year old great aunt from Milano came this summer to visit and I swear she was in better shape than any of the American relatives.


Natalie said...

Thanks, Heather! If you ever come to visit, I'll be sure to take you grocery shopping. :-)

Tina--My mother-in-law has an above-the-sink drainer, so I know what you mean! And the can they not refrigerate their eggs??

Ciao Patrizia--you're right about eating more healthy...the tiny freezer doesn't hold very many frozen foods, does it? I used to live in Yokohama, Japan, so I feel your pain! I'm 5'7", but the kitchen sink was way too low for me...I used to have to stand with my feet wide apart when I washed dishes so I didn't have to bend over. And I had no counter space, so I used to set up my ironing board in the kitchen when I needed more space to cook!

C.K. said...

Great blog! Having lived in an apartment in Ireland with a "bar" fridge for several years, I can sympathize. But at least they had a 2 litre milk carton! Good luck with the laundry. I'm ever so envious of your view.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm Owl from Verla's.

I had to laugh at your sauce can comment. I hate tomato paste and canned sauce. When I make pasta, I chop up some fresh tomatoes and a few herbs, saute for two minutes, and pout it over the pasta.

Anyway, I recently told my husband that the reason that I liked the Italian version of tomato sauce was that the Italians used fresh tomatoes and never canned sauces! :-)

Nice blog.

-- Barb (Owl)

Natalie said...

Hey C.K.--
I can't imagine a 2-liter bottle of milk in our tiny fridge! Do you miss Ireland?

Hi Owl--
It's sauce-from-scratch-makers like you that give canned-sauce-people like me a bad name! Ha! ;-) Your recipe sounds good! The problem is my 4 and 7-year-old daughters don't like any sauce with "chunks" in it as they say, so it's canned sauce for now. *sigh*

Thanks to you both for dropping in!

:-) Natalie