It was always hot in the kitchen, even in winter. The soup was a never ending pot on the boil, never the same flavour twice as leftovers were added and added – staff meals, yum… There were also the big roasts twice a day for the important people upstairs, the ones with money. Either pig or lamb and always six chickens with lashing of butter and bundles of herbs. The vegetable steam baskets were on the opposite side of the kitchen away from the windows that didn’t close. They couldn’t really, rusted and caked with flour, fat and sugar. The ovens were under the windows, they needed to be with all the heat they generated. None of the staff had seen snow on the outside wall in winter – the stones were baked just as the breads, cakes, tarts, pies and pastries. The stove tops awash with syrups, custards, boiled over water and messed sauces.
A path in stone around the main table that was never cleared, the edges rippled from the claps of pasta machines and meat grinders, the surface dotted with scorch rings from hot pots and pans. The stone was once a natural colour but now was an endless canvas of stains, peelings, spills and singed dishcloths.
The kitchen never closes and the heat never ends. As the new dishwasher, I welcome you to hell.