Kitchen

A FINE AND LINGERING SCENT

Nosey Delights – From the yeasty warmth of freshly baked bread to the clean, summery haze of lavender flowers, we all have favorite smells we find particularly comforting. What’s yours?


There was a time when I baked bread. The smell would bring friends and neighbors lining up at the kitchen door to get a hunk off a warm, newly baked loaf. I was a good baker, but one day I got tired of spending ten hours to bake 4 loaves of bread which would be consumed by my pals in about 10 seconds.

empty chairs

I used to love the smell of new-mown grass, but we have no grass here, just crabgrass, weeds, rocks, and woods. And though the smell of freshly mown anything is good, weeds and crabgrass don’t have quite the same kick as grass.

I suppose my favorite smell these days is the scent of supper being cooked by someone else wafting from the kitchen. Someone who isn’t me.

It’s the smell of a night off from the kitchen. It is yummy and I can’t get enough of it!

A KITCHEN-CENTRIC SHARING OF MY WORLD

Share Your World – 2014 Week 26

Is your refrigerator, organized or a mess inside? 

Our refrigerator is an organized mess. Organized loosely, mostly by the height of the shelves. Tall stuff (mostly liquid) on top. Short stuff in the middle. Tallish stuff, veggies, fish, cold-cuts, whatever on the bottom shelf and in the pullout baskets.

Sometimes, what’s in those pullout baskets has been there too long. Forgotten veggies have morphed into pulpy messes. Meanwhile, leftovers from who-knows-when lurk in the back, covered with strange fuzzy fungi and now beyond identification. Yoicks.

If you could be famous for one thing, what would it be?

It certainly wouldn’t be my housekeeping, athletic prowess, or skill with arts and crafts.

marilyn selfie

So let me suggest, as a writer and photographer, that I’d like to be known as a pretty good writer who also took some nice pictures. That would do it for me.

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?

You mean — ever? Or recently? Because I’ve done most of the things I wanted to do. Some of them I wish I had the wherewithal to do again … but my life has been full and interesting. Looking back, I don’t feel deprived. Poor, yes. Deprived, no.

Where do you eat breakfast?

A better question would be “Do you eat breakfast?”

To which I would have to reply “Define breakfast.”

I definitely drink coffee. With fervor and great enthusiasm. I don’t drink coffee all day, but first thing in the morning, coffee makes the wheels go round. The smell of it, the taste of it. The heat of it. Ah coffee.

And I eat something with my coffee. A protein bar. A small piece of pastry or a cookie. I don’t get serious about real food until lunch. Before then, I’m in coffee mode.

Don’t even think about telling me I should cut out caffeine. Not a word.

Mr. Coffee

ORDINARY PLACES, EVERYDAY THINGS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 18

Among the pictures I take, there are some — such as these — that make me wonder why I am bothering, especially because there’s no obvious story, nothing particularly beautiful. Except that these are things and places that are part of my everyday world. Where I shop, how I live. I often find them beautiful. Maybe this is my way of trying to show you the beauty I find in the more ordinary places.

The parking lot at the grocery store. I should point out it is also the parking lot of the bank, the local Chinese restaurant, Dunkin Donuts of the cockroaches, and my hairdresser — even though most of our visits are grocery-related. And of course, my kitchen with the morning light shining in through the top of the dutch door.

oddball

BRIGHT KITCHEN MORNING – WHERE LIFE BEGINS

Rare Medium — Describe a typical day in your life in a form or in a medium you’ve rarely — if ever – used before. If you’re a photoblogger, write a poem. If you’re a poet, write an open letter. If you’re a travel blogger, write a rant.

I use every form on this site. From bad poetry to music, to videos, photography and all kinds of prose — you’ll find it here on Serendipity. So today, photographs are the medium of choice because as it happens, I have a few special ones clamoring to be seen.


Days typically are mostly errands, writing, reading. Retirement is like that. But all of them start in the kitchen. Every day of the week, in all four seasons … life begins in the kitchen.

I’m forever complaining about my kitchen. It’s old, needs remodeling. Too small. Not enough cabinet space (is there ever?) and pathetic counter space.

bright kitchen morning

But I also love it, especially first thing in the morning when the sun comes streaming in.

kitchen morning lightThis time of year, light beckons: “Come out, come out and play!” And sometimes, we do.

Whatever needs doing, whatever is on the schedule — whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or the doctor, or we’ve planned an excursion to a beauty spot to capture some pictures — it starts here.

ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 14

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 14

I took this weeks’ oddball photos today. In my kitchen and on the deck. Just because.

My froggy sun dial on the deck.

My froggy sun dial on the deck.

Gone. We had it for dinner.

Gone. We had it for dinner.

The coyote cookie jar howls when opened.

The coyote cookie jar howls when opened.

FEATURING THE KITCHEN: CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE, WEEK 9

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 9

This week, featuring my kitchen. The old wooden breadbox we bought at a yard sale, the mess of spices I keep jumbled in a bookcase and the clock which still tells time, unlike the rest of the clocks in the house — and of course, coffee!!

old breadbox new bread

Mr. Coffee brewing

spices in the kitchen

Kitchen clock

AT HOME – INWARD AND INSIDE

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

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PERMANENT K. P.

Back on the Chain Gang

Last night I calculated I have been cooking dinners for me and a husband and/or children, other family and friends for just shy of 50 years. Half a century.

I’m a good cook. I like food and since I can’t afford to order in or eat out very often, I have to make it myself. That’s why I learned to prepare Chinese cuisine. I figured if all those Chinese women can do it, I probably can too. As it turns out, while I’m not a fancy Chinese cook, I can produce credible Chinese-style dishes. I can also cook pretty good Caribbean and Italian food, thanks to Garry’s mom and a long list of Italian co-workers armed with grandma’s best recipes.

75-KitchenHPCR-3

I’ve got a “to die for” chili recipe from Grandma Kraus, adapted for current tastes and some traditional Jewish recipes gotten from family, friends and miscellaneous Israeli pals during my sojourn abroad.

So I cook well. If I make an effort, I cook very well. I just don’t want to.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a festival, company coming, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover or Arbor Day. I do not want to cook. As a result? I cook pretty much every day because Garry doesn’t. If I don’t cook, he won’t eat. He’s already too thin (would he care to take a few of my spare pounds? I’m willing and eager to share). Meanwhile, if I don’t come up with tempting dishes, he will fade to nothing.

So I cook. What he is going to do while I’m not kitchen-able is interesting to contemplate. My daughter-in-law has promised to make sure he doesn’t became a wraith. That would be good.

What is it about cooking I don’t like? Mostly, having to do it. It’s late. I’m tired. I want to eat. I don’t feel like peeling, chopping, sautéing, whatever-ing. There’s no specific part of the process I particularly loathe. I’m just done with cooking and if I never have to do it again, that would be fine with me. Something tells me that’s not going to happen.

Morning light in my kitchen as coffee brews ...

My mother was smart. A terrible cook. The food she prepared was tasteless. Dry. At its finest, unimaginative and bland. At its worst, inedible. No one ever begged her to make that special dish of hers. If she said she didn’t care to cook that night (usually because she was involved in some other project, like hooking a rug or glazing a pot or completing an oil painting), we all leapt to our feet and volunteered to find our own lunch or dinner. “Please, Mom, don’t worry. We’ll take care of it.”

Anything to avoid Mom’s home cooking.

I should have followed her example. She was really a very smart lady. I didn’t realize how smart until long after I’d moved away from home. Oh well. Too soon old. Too late smart, eh?

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MORNING IN THE KITCHEN

Daily Prompt: Ingredients

by Ben Huberman

Photographers, artists, poets: show us KITCHEN.

75-Kitchen-Morning-6

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WINTER CORN

It’s snowing outside yet again and the world is drifting in whiteness. 

Winter corn

Against the bright white window light, my bundle of Indian corn is sharply outlined. It reminds me that just yesterday it was autumn.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning! – RAINY OCTOBER MORNING

Funny about this. I was up shooting pictures of the kitchen before I saw this prompt. I do that sometimes because my kitchen is east-facing. I like the quality of morning light all times of the year. This morning, with the autumn leaves framed in the windows, rain changing the light to soft amber, I had to grab the moment. It’s the first rain in several weeks.

Welcome to morning in the Blackstone Valley. October. My kitchen. Coffee’s ready. Come have a cup.

 

Blood Evidence

I watch too many shows about murders and forensics. NCIS, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, CSI, Body of Evidence and so many more. I’ve seen an awful lot of people convicted on blood evidence. I know how incriminating traces of a victim’s blood can make someone look.

Day 74 - K is for Knife

This evening, while making dinner, I nicked myself with a paring knife. This isn’t an unusual event. I am not nearly careful enough in the kitchen. I have a bad habit of slicing off the tips of fingers, stabbing myself, then bleeding all over the place. I used to joke that the blood of the cook was mixed in the food, but it wasn’t entirely untrue. My son and my husband both have been known to pull knives out of my hands and chop the veggies themselves because watching me using a knife made them unbearably nervous.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t bleed so much, but I do. This is ironic indeed because when I go for tests at the hospital, they can never find a vein or get any blood out of me. I have suggested I just bring a paring knives, slice open a finger and they can have more blood than they’ll know what to do with, but for some reason, they don’t find this suggestion nearly as funny as I do.

knives serious

Anyway, I nicked myself cutting up the chicken sausages. It wasn’t a bad cut as these things go and if I hadn’t been in the middle of preparing dinner while simultaneously fighting with the cable company on the telephone, I might have put a band-aid onto my finger faster. Then there wouldn’t have been drops of my blood all over the kitchen. It wasn’t a gusher. Merely a dribbler. Drip. Drip. Drip. Damn, not on my sweater. Blood is so hard to get out of clothing.

After I finally got the food going. I put the knife down, ended the phone call, still snarling at Charter Cable. I really hate those bastards. I made my way to the cupboard, managed to get the blood flow stopped. That was the moment when I realized my blood is all over the kitchen.

It’s from this little nick and all the other cuts, nicks and stabs when I was slicing, dicing, mincing or paring. CSI would have a field day in our kitchen.

If anything ever happens to me and my poor guiltless husband is accused of a crime, they’ll find my blood everywhere. The poor dear will look guilty as hell and all he’s ever done is try to protect me from myself. This is probably the right time point out many of my self stabbings take place while fighting an endless battles with shrink-wrap and other torturous types of packaging.

Knife rack

Have you ever tried to get a couple of blister-packed pills out of their containers in the middle of the night? It said “press here” and you do, but all it does is stretch, the urgently needed medication still out of reach.

I have found myself using  hemostats (I use them for stringing dolls; I am not a doctor for living people, only plastic ones) to pull cotton out of pill bottles, stabbing blister packs with tweezers (the only pointy things in my bathroom), using a steak knife to cut the plastic seals on a spray bottle, attacking packing tape with a hunting knife. I have two knives — a 4″ folding knife with a turquoise handle and a 5″ sheath knife with a deer antler handle. Nobody has taken them away from me yet, but that’s possibly because I hide them.

English: Inexpensive stamped steel and aluminu...

I cut myself regularly, but I also damage the contents of packages in my frenzied attempt to actually extract whatever is in there with any tools I have at hand. My favorite tool is a box cutter which I have used for things like prying the back off my Blackberry to get at the battery. It isn’t supposed to require special tools, but my Blackberry Torch was hermetically sealed against owner interference. Unfortunately, taking the back off and removing the battery is the only way to reboot the phone. I gave up and got an iPhone, not because I like the iPhone better. I don’t. I just couldn’t battle my way into the battery compartment one more time.

I do not set out to do myself injury, but in the contest of me against packaging, packaging is clearly winning.

Thus you can find traces of my blood everywhere I’ve ever opened a package and everywhere in my kitchen. You’ll find blood evidence on my computer keys, my mouse, my knives, tweezers and especially my beloved box cutter. I hide my box cutter, always afraid someone will take it from me in a pointless (sorry about the pun) attempt to save me from myself.

If CSI comes here, just show them this post. Maybe they won’t send anyone up for life on my behalf.

Good Morning, Good Morning, To You (And You And You And You)

Every morning, as I limp down the hallway from the bedroom to the kitchen, no matter how stiff I am with arthritis, no matter how poorly I’ve slept, as soon as I get to the kitchen, my heart becomes lighter.

Kitchen

“Good morning, fur children,” I chirp. They woof and growl and gambol and pant. They know it’s cookie time for the canine contingent, but coffee time for me.

coffee

I make a brief detour to turn on the coffee pot. Priorities.

Mr. Coffee

There’s no more time to waste. Eager faces surround me as I approach the huge dog biscuit container on the table in the corner. It’s shaped like a giant dog biscuit — lest I forget.  The dogs , with their acute senses of smell, are more than aware of where to find the biscuits. Eyes not required.

They know my hands are the true source of all biscuits, so they watch me with their eyes. Excitement mounts.

Bishop

Bishop is an Australian Shepherd. Lacking sheep, he stares at me, with the apparent objective of engendering guilt. It works pretty well. He is also Bonnie’s love slave.

Then there’s Nan, the Norwich Terrier. Nan stares, but adds sound effects. Grunts and agonized moans. She’s starving she says. She hasn’t eaten in … minutes. She will repeat this performance whether she is still chewing the biscuit she just got or it’s been a whole night since her last treat.

Nan

And last, but not at all least, there’s Bonnie. She bounces up and down, bounds around the kitchen like a mad thing, twirling and spinning, yapping and prancing. She’s young and full of joie de vivre. Shortly, she will be full of biscuits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They all believe if they don’t remind me, I will forget them and their cookies. These dogs have never missed a treat or a meal in their lives but you’d never guess it.

The sun streaks in through the windows, the smell of coffee fills the room. Joyous gurgling and crunching from the furry ones and I’m off to the office to check my email and see what surprises the night has brought. Another day is begun.

Happy morning to all!