Kitchen Tour: Javier and Marsha Learn Together

Marsha and Javier met on a Greyhound bus, each en route to respective Thanksgiving festivities. Now they've merged their lives along with their belongings in one New York City apartment. They've combined households, hobbies, and skill sets — but, they confess, neither of them had a history of slaving away at the stove.

Fortunately their excitement and love for one another in this new relationship has created a fresh exuberance in the kitchen, which they renovated to help launch them into a new life of domesticity and good home cooking — together.

Come peek into their little city kitchen, watch them whip up a batch of cornbread, and see my own favorite element of their kitchen: A cozy reading nook, complete with books and art.

Since they were making a home together, it seemed natural to start exploring the kitchen together. Marsha and Javier renovated the kitchen when Javier moved into what had been Marsha's home for more than twenty years. They were plotting how to indulge in the novelty of domesticity, and a new kitchen seemed a very good first step. Putting time and personal attention into what the kitchen would look like certainly motivated them to use it.

They started by deciding to eat more meals at home. Since they are both cheese lovers, many dinners consist of a robust salad and a tantalizing array of incredible cheeses. Over time, they've become more adventurous in terms of preparing food, hosting dinner parties, and enjoying the process.

Of course, if you look closely, you can find signs of Marsha's pre-cooking life. She still uses a few of the drawers below the kitchen counter as her filing cabinets!

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It was such a pleasure to witness their enthusiasm while preparing some corn bread for my visit. Javier was confident and efficient and got it together in no time at all. Marsha cheerleaded each step along the way and was an ardent fan of the finished product. Food created in Marsha and Javier's kitchen is always fun, always fresh, and always appreciated. This couple celebrates the wonder of cooking and eating at home — and doing it together.

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10 Questions for Marsha and Javier (& Their Kitchen)

What's your cooking style?
Mediterranean peasant.

What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
We wanted to move beyond the beige-intensive circa 1980 d├ęcor of our previous kitchen.

What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
Cast iron cookware.

What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
A brisket with caramelized onions and carrots, along with potatoes and steamed vegetables for our non-traditional Passover Seder, with guests from Israel, Lebanon and New York.

Biggest challenge in your kitchen?
Small sink at the end of a big dinner party.

Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen?
Liebherr refrigerator.

Best cooking advice or tip you ever received?
Use more olive oil, salt and pepper than you think you need.

What is your favorite cookbook?
The Internet.

What are you cooking this week?
Herb seared halibut smothered with onions and tomatoes.

Resources

• Granite top: Kennedy Marble and Tile, Jersey City
• Hot rolled steel back splash: All Star Sheet Metal, Brooklyn
• Cabinets: IKEA
• Floor: Kennedy Marble and Tile, Jersey City
• Hardware: IKEA
• Bookshelves: Desiron

For Marsha and Javier's full house tour, check out Marsha and Javier Rearrange To Great Effect on Apartment Therapy.

• Kitchen Tour Archive: Check out past kitchen tours here

Want to show us your own kitchen?
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Submit your kitchen here.

(Images: Jill Slater)