A 'Greta Garbo' in the kitchen

"You're going to love this kitchen. It's perfect for entertaining," the real estate agent says. "It's so big that all your guests can sit in here and talk with you while you cook."

She's right - I like the kitchen a lot. What I'm not enthusiastic about is the idea of people expecting to chat with me while I prepare dinner.

To me, cooking and entertaining friends are two equally enjoyable tasks. But I don't like to do them at the same time.

I admire people who can casually finish up a complicated cassoulet and pop it in the oven at the same time they're making sure everyone has ample appetizers - all the while making intelligent comments on the latest films or the world situation.

I can't. I'm more likely to lose track of how many cups of sugar I've put in the lemonade or forget what I'm saying in the middle of a sentence.

I'm not sure why this is so. I'm an experienced cook who's at home in the kitchen - at least, as long as I don't have to share it with anyone.

I've just never learned to think of cooking as a spectator sport. I prefer to focus on food preparation and guests separately.

Am I the only person in the world who feels this way?

The real estate agent seems to think so. "You don't like to entertain?" she asks, trying to understand this odd attitude.

That's not it at all, I answer. Guests are always welcome at my house. The more the merrier - as long as they don't offer to help in the kitchen.

E-mail the Homefront at home@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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