After my family and I moved back into our San Francisco home following a renovation exile, I couldn’t bear to do much more than boil water in the virginal kitchen, for I knew I would never see its like again. When the first hot sprays of oil hit the creamy backsplash and Rorschachs of tomato sauce pooled on the counter, I stood clutching dishcloths and keening like a mourner in a Greek tragedy.
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