THE KITCHEN HOUSE
In the morning, I go next door again for my breakfast. I’m to go there whenever I like, Antje has said. The kitchen house is 150 years old; a traditional stone Canarian building that was about to collapse in on itself when Antje stumbled across the property in 1992. Workers on the island helped her bring the crumbling ruins back to life, adding plumbing and electricity and also—refurbishing the dilapidated goat barn in the back acre which, at the time, was nothing but a huge, overgrown jungle. During renovations, Antje lived in her caravan camper parked down in the town of Santo Domingo, 1500 feet of rocky switchbacks below the property. Gradually, the refurbished kitchen house and guest cabin blossomed into being and the goat barn became her home—an artful place of skylights, African cushions, colorful throws and vines curled around reclaimed beams.
When I arrive at the kitchen house, I unlatch the blue French doors and step into a woody hive from another era. It is earthily fragrant and totally quiet, save for the ticking of a clock. On one end, wood shelves laden with recipe books, tins and baskets of fresh produce line the wall alongside a side board, gas stove and sink; bundles of herbs hang above in the rafters. On the opposite end of the room there is a lofted bed and beneath it, a sofa and upright piano that Antje brought from Germany. There is also a wood-burning stove, shelf crammed with books and one modern touch—a fish tank where a pair of red, fan-tailed cichlids dart between the rocks.
On the table, my breakfast awaits: a bowl of gofio (locally-made porridge) topped with banana slices, on a plate—four green arcs of fresh avocado, a wedge of goat cheese, slices of salami and fresh bread—three coarse and brown, four soft and white. There is also an orange and hot tea. And milk, butter and jam.
I begin with the gofio and then, devour the avocados atop the delicious brown bread. Thinking ahead, I pocket the orange, slice the cheese and with the meat—make two small sandwiches for my hike.
This is the morning in Antje’s kitchen house—sunny, warm and florid with rich aromas.