Nancy Meyers is the great cinematic auteur of kitchens on film. She is to kitchens what Scorsese is to New York, what del Toro is to monsters, or what Tarantino is to feet. Meyers’s sets of tasteful domesticity are what make her films such an inspiration in this era of staying home. That is why admirers were in awe when, on April 26, Meyers shared a photo on Instagram of the Ur-Nancy Meyers set design: her own, actual kitchen. The attention to detail is exactly what we’d expect from the writer-director of It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give: the herbs in their little pots dotting a windowsill with gauzy white curtains pulled back to show off the lush garden. The inset stoves, the molding on the cabinets, the marble backsplash. The most striking features, the ones that got fans talking, were the double kitchen islands: marble and granite, yin and yang, Hallie and Annie. One kitchen island is opulent enough; but of course Meyers would have two. What could she possibly need them both for? Meyers revealed the answer in an interview with Vanity Fair — one is for cooking, the other for serving. Meyers explained:
Well, I cook at one and serve on the other one. I often have dinners at the kitchen table with friends, you can’t see it in the photo but I have a table and chairs in there. And my family comes every Sunday for dinner and the food is always out on the second island. That island has had endless spreads on it over the past two decades … birthdays, graduations, baby showers, Hanukkah, Christmas, you name it.
You can, in fact, see the kitchen table and two chairs peeking out in the corner, empty, all the better to visualize yourself in Nancy Meyers’s kitchen, feasting on “endless spreads.” You can see in her Instagram photo that the cooking island has a hand-towel rack, an inset sink, a knife block, and cookbooks. The other island — the one for spreads — has provisions: flowers, a fruit bowl, and nine glass bottles of what is almost definitely sparkling water. The sorts of things you need to get you through a day of “learning to iron,” which Meyers says is keeping her busy in quarantine. Meyers also says that while she wasn’t working prior to quarantine, she’s now “working on a little something,” but that a screenplay “would be a confusing endeavor right now. Would it have to take place prior to 2020? I think so. At least in my genre.” Even though most of us don’t have two kitchen islands, we can all inject a little Meyers panache into our long quarantine days: fill a glass bottle with sparkling water, foster some houseplants on the sill, and don’t write a screenplay.