One of the things I absolutely insisted on in my kitchen was a huge sink. Since I spend roughly 11 to 18% of my day standing over it, considering some women spend a fortunes on tall shoes, and there are men who spend a lot of money on fancy, oversized watches – and vice versa – I thought I was entitled to a big sink. However finding one was a whole ‘nother story. Long gone are the days of “French farmhouse sinks” and any that you are likely to find are either still firmly installed in French farmhouses – and aren’t for sale – or the ones that are for sale are only available in America and England.
I didn’t think it would be so hard to find a big, simple, white sink of generous proportions, but it took me two months of searching and walking past sinks with decorative curls and swoops carved into them, which are marvelous places for gunk to collect. And perhaps to hide any bits and crumbs, there were no shortage of sinks in colors like aubergine (eggplant) or citron vert (lime green), or with basins so tiny that they would barely hold a regular-sized dinner plate. I finally tracked down the one company in France that makes the one large sink that is sold here. And, as is often the case, there was a rupture de stock and no one seemed to know when they’d be available again.
So I took to the old-fashioned internet, using my new-found (and hard-earned) vocabulary for French kitchen and bathroom fixtures, and tracked one down on Le Bon Coin, a classified ad site in France that just about everyone seemed to know about — but me. (Until now. And now I’m hooked.) I don’t know how I lucked out and found a new one, but we ending up racing up l’autoroute to Lille, which was a good excuse to eat French fries and mussels. And to use our muscles, too, since we found out the sink weighed a dos-disabling 57 kilos, or 125 pounds.
One of the problems with the giant sink is that water can splatter everywhere. I’m used to working in restaurants where everything is surrounded by big sheets of stainless steel, so errant water isn’t a problem. And even though there’s stainless steel next to mine, there’s also wood, windows…and me. So I’ve made a patchwork of Oxo silicone drying mats, which may be the best thing I’ve ever imported from the United States. In fact, I just ordered three more for a relative en route to Paris to bring me. When people who are coming to France ask me what to bring French friends, I’m going to say these, as well as dried sour cherries. And aluminum foil. And if you want to save them a little bit of time, and trouble, perhaps a French farmhouse sink.