Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Running and Eating
Writer James Sturz shares a glimpse into the kitchen of his in-progress Hawaiian dream house.
In the mornings, in Hawaii, I’ll often go for a run. Back in May, when we flew to the Big Island from New York City for the summer and beyond, I packed two pairs of running sneakers. I haven’t put the ones for roads on yet. As for the others … the salesman at the Nike Store in Manhattan wondered why I needed running shoes for trails. Here’s the answer. First, I hop this fence:
Then I pass the suspicious cows.
Occasionally, the cows break through the wires, and I’m reminded that I’m not as fast as I think I am. But most of the time the trail is clear—relatively. I dodge the roots, rocks, and ruts, and almost never fall. The canopy is acacia, chenille, ironwood, and monkeypod, and their blossoms either float above me or they form their own brightly colored path. At a corral in an unexpected clearing, the horses and goats stamp their hooves (or sometimes don’t), and the small Asian mongooses scurry across the road, their belly fur grazing dirt (they were introduced to Hawaii in the 1880s to control the rats that plagued the sugar cane, but didn’t quite fulfill their purpose). Some days ago as I was passing, there was a family of wild pigs, too. Suddenly, there was a strong breeze, enough to shake the trees, and a handful of guavas plummeted to the ground. The animals were spooked, and all of them fled. Then the largest pig—perhaps a hundred pounds, and to my knees—darted back, grabbed the largest fruit in its mouth, and quickly returned to the camouflage of the grass.
After that the coast is clear, because there’s only coast. There’s a promontory about two miles away, with a lighthouse at its tip. It’s a popular surfing and fishing spot in North Kohala, and the halfway point of my run.
Our house is just visible in the distance from there. But here it is a little closer:
When friends visit, sometimes they come running too. I’m the guy in the Endeavor Athletic clothes, desperately in need of a haircut. The shirts are made of fabric certified for space use by NASA (here’s a flashback to when the windows were just going in, and I wrote about the Big Island’s connection to space travel). Do the Endeavor clothes make me run fast? Not as fast as the 17-year-old to my left who races in triathlons. Or the cows.
Admittedly, my haircut’s not NASA-ready, either.
But here’s the point: Afterward, there’s a meal. Our kitchen’s finally come together. That’s Honolulu-based Miele service rep Jason Daniels giving us a Hawaiian shaka now that our appliances are all functioning perfectly (he came to supervise installation of a ventilation hood extension, when it turned out our chimney was several feet too short, and an additional piece fabricated from the same batch of steel had to be shipped to us from Germany).
The DA 424 V-6 Puristic Varia AM island hood now turns on and off automatically, depending on the heat from the KM 6375 flush induction cooktop below it, and also descends or ascends with the push of a button. We’re still trying to make sense of the 24” H 6800 BM PureLine M Touch speed oven, which is both a microwave and a traditional convection unit. Its manual comes with 12 pages of safety instructions and is 135 pages long, with three more blank ones for notes. Here’s the kitchen from a variety of angles:
Also pictured are the matching 30” H 6800 BP PureLine M convection oven, ESW 6880 Gourmet Food Warming Drawer (yes, that’s its actual name), KWT 6322 UG wine storage unit, Miele dishwasher, refrigerator, and freezer. See also the Breville Custom Loaf bread maker (in the middle of cow pastures by the ocean, there’s no real bakery to go to, and this countertop model also makes pizza dough), the Hemisphere Control blender (for margaritas and smoothies), and the Citrus Press Pro (because there’s lots and lots of that).
The sinks are by The Galley (the company calls them “Workstations,” and they come with a variety of cutting boards, drying racks, and colanders that fit inside, plus more pieces we can order), the matching faucets are Hansgrohe Focus 2-Spray HighArcs in prep and standard sizes, the knives are Wüsthof Classic Ikons (and sharp!), and the orchid’s a grammatophyllum, beside a mortar from Ikea and some coasters from Walmart.
Watch: A Perfect Weekend on Hawaii’s Big Island
But a better way is to show all this in action. Here’s the cooktop with a single egg, frying in an Anolon Tri-Ply Clad Skillet.
I’ve read that cooking an egg is somehow supposed to be the test of a cook (Paula) and maybe even a kitchen. But I think these photos say it even better: