Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Life in the kitchen

Perhaps it's because I feel that my return to work is going to come around quickly, but I've decided to embrace domesticity this week and have not only pretty much cleaned most rooms of the house, but have also gone all Julie and Julia in the kitchen. Right now I have an Irish Stew in the oven (something smells like it's burning, but it doesn't seem to be that, so I'm a bit confused, but that's another issue). I picked this because it was in my Williams Sonoma Slow Cooking cookbook and the whole idea of slow cooking just seems so good. I always feel like, with slow cooking, there should be just a few steps: 1) Put all ingredients in a slow cooker 2) Turn on slow cooker to low 3) Go out for an entire day of fun in the outside world 4) Return home, open pot, and voila - amazing meal! Instead there's all this prep work that has to happen before the thing actually starts its long slow cook, and I end up with grease splattered all over my shirt from the browning phase of the process, hot fat flying everywhere in the kitchen requiring me to not only clean all this up afterwards but likely leaving me with small injuries related to said hot grease. Argh.

At 8:00 this morning I found myself doing - if my count was correct - 7 things at once; to me this multi-tasking was incredibly exhilarating. I was pouring juice for Blake, boiling the kettle to make a cup of coffee, stirring Noah's cereal, putting away some cutlery, opening a bag of potatoes to think about putting in the oven later for lunch, making toast, and something else....

Now some people would say that rather than 7 (or 6) things, that this was actually just one thing - "making breakfast" - but I would say to that person that if they're so smart they can figure out how to get to my house by 8:00 am tomorrow morning and do it for me. Or maybe I would just say something equally annoying like, "I know you are, but what am I?" Oh yes, yelling at Blake that it was time for him to get dressed, that was the other thing.

I also made some bolognaise sauce yesterday - which ended up at the home of a friend with a 5-day-old baby (someone I met locally brought us by a few dishes when Noah was really little, and it was so wonderful, so I decided I would try to pay that kindness forward). Tonight I was despairing that we had nothing original for dinner when I was paid an unexpected but very welcome visit by the Muse of the Kitchen Cabinet. I was seeing what we had in the way of "staples" and I was staring straight at the label on a tin of kidney beans which said, "Why don't you try making homemade Veggie Burgers?" And well, I did just that! They were certainly not the best veggie burgers I've ever tasted but I think Matt was, if impressed is not the word, bemusedly grateful might sum it up. Now I'd better return to my stew. In the fight of Meg v. the kitchen, I would say the gloves are on. I need them to protect myself from all that flying grease!

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