A Taste of Mexico and India

a taste of mexico


A taste of Mexico & India to transform your taste buds!


At RochesterWomen magazine, we decided it was time to try a new way of presenting food recipes for our readers, in a real-world fashion that most of us cook in. The “What’s for dinner tonight?” and your only thought is, “Gosh, what IS in my fridge or pantry?” Then you get about to looking and cook with what you have lying around. So we will offer recipes that are easy to cook, something new and mostly seasonal.

Spring is upon us and I know I am ready to forget about winter and get warm. In honor of our exotic travel features to India and Mexico this issue, let’s savor some new tastes. Ahh! I can feel the sand beneath my feet already. 

The problem
The kitchen is the hub of activity in our home, like many others, but from the moment my husband, Pat, and I built our home 12 years ago, it hasn’t matched our lifestyle. Separated from the adjacent dining and living room by one 10-foot wall with a pass-through style window, the kitchen always felt closed in. Cooking together, entertaining and family gatherings were a problem. Something had to change.

The goal: open the kitchen into the adjoining rooms by removing the nonload-bearing wall that separated them. I reasoned it would give me a design that would flow seamlessly with the rest of the house, provide additional counter space and storage, open the area for conversation with company and enhance visual enjoyment.

The process
There was no need to change the footprint of the house. There was enough square footage; it was just underutilized and dysfunctional. So, I drew a plan that would leave one wall of cabinets and appliances in the kitchen and would remove the opposite kitchen wall and replace it with a new, two-sided, 4×8 foot island—complete with open bookcases, casual bar seating, a sink and dishwasher (which were relocated to the island).

The only downside to the plan was that taking out a wall and opening the space required new flooring for the kitchen, laundry, dining and living areas.

I wanted a professional designer’s opinion before employing the sledgehammer, so I called Diane Quinn at Beyond Kitchens. For a reasonable consultation fee, she took a look at my plans and said my ideas were good and would work. I, then, solicited estimates for the entire project.

At approximately $25,000, the bids were more than my very modest budget could support, so Pat and I (having built and rehabbed several homes) decided to act as our own contractor. We made a detailed list of work and materials, keeping in mind our limitations and knowing when to call in pros like Diane. It’s a major part of a successful project.

Once all the labor and material bids were in place and checked against our finances, the remodel was scheduled. We called upon our son Drew and nephews Jonathon and Jason to help with various aspects. Setting a realistic timeline with contractors and suppliers keeps the project moving and on budget.

We began the tear down on August 1, 2012 and completed the entire remodel by September 1, including the new lower level wet bar where we repurposed some cabinets from the upstairs kitchen. It meant some long days and flexibility on our part and our contractors, but everyone worked together for a terrific outcome.

Friends and family who have seen the new look have said, “It should always have been this way.” We feel that way too.