Kitchen design may be approached from many different perspectives. The top priority of one woman I know who was having her kitchen remodeled was the addition of a big window over the kitchen sink. I appreciate her viewpoint. A kitchen window giving out onto a scene that is easy on the eyes is a valuable kitchen feature in my opinion. I would rank my kitchen window higher in importance than the replacement of any of my very ordinary appliances with fancier versions. I would not trade my window for more counter space or spiffy cabinetry.
In 1926, Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky was chosen to design the kitchen for a large housing project for working-class families. The kitchen she created is known today as “The Frankfurt Kitchen” and is generally recognized as the first mass-produced fitted kitchen. Mrs. Schütte-Lihotzky’s ideas of the ideal kitchen were premised on the notion that kitchen work should be streamlined and time spent in the kitchen reduced. “The problem of rationalising the housewife’s work,” she wrote, ” Is equally important to all classes of the society. Both the middle-class women, who often work without any help [i.e. without servants] in their homes, and also the women of the worker class, who often have to work in other jobs, are overworked to the point that their stress is bound to have serious consequences for public health at large.”
The Frankfurt Kitchen was set up like a train car or ship’s galley kitchen. It was a one-person affair, organized on the basis of motion-studies to promote the utmost efficiency. There was a swivel stool and work table, a gas stove, built-in storage, and pre-labeled aluminum food storage bins. A kitchen window was installed above the work table–perhaps more as a way to lighten the space than as an invitation for the efficient worker there to admire the view. (New York’s Museum of Modern Art acquired a Frankfurt Kitchen and arranged an exhibit around it. Photos of the kitchen are here on the MOMA site.)
Years later, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky described her view of her creation in these terms, “Before I conceived the Frankfurt Kitchen in 1926, I never cooked myself. At home in Vienna my mother cooked, in Frankfurt I went to the Wirthaus [restaurant/pub]. I designed the kitchen as an architect, not as a housewife “. It is a telling remark.
The kitchen was unpopular with many users. They found it “cold”, “like a factory”, “isolating”. Recently asked for his impressions of The Frankfurt Kitchen, one designer remarked, “Whose to tell me where to keep my bread?…That idea of imposing an idea on a client and expecting them to live up to it is impossible.”
Despite The Frankfurt Kitchen’s cool reception, our modern kitchens have profited from the design ideas first realized in it by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. And happily, in so doing, there was no need to relinquish the kitchen window…or whatever part of your kitchen that is dear to your heart.
Smoked Duck with Preisselberry Sauce is an hors d’oeuvre recipe and it is a brief one, respectfully acknowledging Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky’s emphasis on the good use of time and the need we all feel to use it well. The diplomatickitchen hopes the recipe will add to your enjoyment, both of the time you spend in your kitchen and, later, around the table with friends.
Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.
A Timing Note: The puff pastry triangles may be made several hours in advance. The Preisselberry Sauce may be made several days in advance, refrigerated, and brought to room temperature to use in this recipe.
- 18 slices of Smoked Duck Breast: Smoked Duck Breast comes in packages, pre-sliced. There are 18 slices in the 90-gram pack shown in the photo, which is a variety smoked with black pepper. Smoked Duck Breast also comes in whole, unsliced form that you may slice yourself. The pictured duck breast is ‘magret’. The magret is a very lean filet of duck (or goose) and is the same used to make confit or foie gras. Any smoked duck breast will be fine for this recipe.
- a round or rectangle of packaged Puff Pastry (230 g): Rectangles tend to be thicker and should be rolled out a bit thinner before cutting. There will be some leftover pastry which may be wrapped and frozen to use for something else.
- 1 Egg, well beaten
- Preiselberry Sauce: The recipe is below in Part II.
- Cornichons and Small Cocktail Onions are suggested accompaniments.
- a Pastry Board
- a Triangular-shaped Cutter or a Triangle Shape cut from heavy Cardboard to serve as a pattern: The Cutter in the photos has 3-inch sides.
- a smooth Pastry Wheel Cutter or Knife
- a Parchment-lined Baking Sheet
- a Fork
- a Pastry Brush
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Cut out 18 triangles from a sheet of puff pastry, using a triangle-shaped cutter or a triangle cut from heavy cardboard as a guide.
3. Arrange the triangles on a baking sheet. Cut thin strips of pastry the same length as the sides of the triangles. (The little strips of dough left after cutting out the triangles will do very well. The strips need not be very uniform or exact.)
6. Bake the pastry triangles at 400 F. for 6 minutes, slide them out of the oven and prick the centers of the triangles again with a fork, and bake them for 4 more minutes. Transfer them to cool on a rack.
7. Just before serving, assemble the hors d’oeuvres. Remove the fat from the slices of duck, or, if you prefer the duck with the fat, leave it on. Place a slice of duck on each pastry triangle and top the duck with a small amount of the preisselberry sauce. Cornichons and small cocktail onions are a good accompaniment.
Part II: Preisselberry Sauce Redux: This recipe, with step illustrations, appears here in this previous diplomatickitchen post.
A Timing Note: Preiselberry Sauce may be made several days in advance, cooled, covered and stored in the refrigerator. Bring the sauce to room temperature to use in this recipe.
- 1 cup of drained Preiselberries–a single 365g glass jar
- 1/4 cup of Sugar
- a strip of Lemon Peel
- a strip of Orange Peel
- a stick of Cinnamon
- a Strainer placed over a Bowl
- a heavy-bottomed Pot or Casserole
1. Drain the preisselberries, reserving the liquid to add a bit to the finished sauce to adjust thickness and flavour if necessary.
2. Put the berries, sugar, lemon and orange peels and the cinnamon stick in the pot. Do not add any water. Stir everything together. The sugar will begin to dissolve and create a juice with the berries. Simmer the mixture over low heat. In about 20 minutes, the juice will become a syrup and the berry mixture will be reduced to a thick sauce. A wooden spoon will cut a clear path through the sauce and the syrup will only gradually creep out into it.
3. Taste the sauce. If the sauce has thickened more than you like or to sweeten it more according to your taste, add a little of the reserved syrup from the drained berries. Remove the cinnamon stick, and the orange and lemon peels.
A Note: Smoked Duck with Preisselberry Sauce is served with Cornichons and Cocktail Onions as the Hors d’Oeuvre in the Dinner Menu: Dinner at Journey’s End.
A Request to Readers and Cooks: A subscriber has requested advice on making Orange and/or Lemon Marmalade. Her question is posted in the diplomatickitchen’s Ask and Tell feature. Your good recipes for either of these marmalades will be greatly appreciated. You are invited to go to Ask and Tell and contribute your version of this recipe.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013