MUNDAY MONDAY CHALLENGE 58 – KITCHEN STILLS

Mundane Monday Challenge #58


I have been trying to keep up with all the challenges and totally failing. Miserably failing.

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It hasn’t been a prolific period for me, photographically speaking. I have not felt inspired and I haven’t felt good for much or this so-called spring. But you know? This is one challenge I can do because I can do it right here. No problem.

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So thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate without having to find someplace with a beautiful view.

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My kitchen. The heart of the house … if you don’t count the living room with the dogs and the television and the computer. And the comfy furniture.

MY FAMILY COOKBOOK – ELLIN CURLEY

I have a home-made family cookbook that spans three generations and two continents. It is as much a family album as it is a cookbook. It contains recipes from my teens through today. It contains recipes from many people, including my grandmother, mother, and others who played a big part in my life.

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The cookbook started when I was getting ready to leave home for the first time to go to law school. While I was growing up, my mother had many cooks, none of whom had the patience to teach an eager little girl. So at the age of 22, I could barely boil water.

But I loved food. I was dying to finally learn how to cook. My mother, though she rarely chopped or seared anything herself, was obsessed with food. She went to bed reading cookbooks and magazine recipes and when she died I found boxes of clipped out recipes that had never made it into her personal cookbooks. The recipes that had made it had been lovingly pasted into large three-ring binders, divided into categories like a regular cookbook.

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I realized that getting my apartment gave me the opportunity to learn how to cook while I was also learning how to be a lawyer. Before I left home, Mom and I went through all of her cookbooks and we picked out the recipes that were the best, simplest and hopefully the most fool-proof for me to take with me. I photocopied or typed these recipes at a time when the new, revolutionary feature on my electric typewriter was white-out! The advantage of the photocopied recipes (other than not having to type them) was that they have my mother’s handwritten notes all over them. “More garlic” and “more seasoning” were common comments. Suggestions to “try” this or that were also scattered throughout.

These days, when I look through MY giant cookbook, I see her handwriting and hear her words and share the recipes with her again and again.

I learned to be a decent cook during my 1970’s law school years, though many of my best desserts involved jello products. Since then I have collected recipes from various sources, including from loved ones.

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My kids’ other grandmother and their Aunt are well represented in my book, as are friends and restaurants whose dishes we loved so much we had to make them at home.

“Christine’s Beef with Horseradish Sauce” brings back memories of a family picnic with four young children in the idyllic English countryside. “Meryl’s Passover Cookies” evoke memories of shared holidays over the years.

Now I have a separate dessert cookbook, with no jello in it at all. Most of my newer recipes are printed out from the internet. Looking through my cookbook is not only a way to decide what to have for dinner. It’s also a way for me to reconnect with my past and with the people who made me the person — and cook — I am today.

WELCOME TO MY KITCHEN

The secret password is coffee, from which the day begins. After noon, the password changes to “tea.” And cookies.

There are not many non-negotiable foods in our kitchen. Coffee, half-and-half, Splenda (sweetener), tea … and cookies. Bite-sized apple strudel. Almost anything else, we can live without — temporarily, at least — or substitute using a different ingredient.

And of course — biscuits for the furry ones. Can’t ever forget those!

Welcome to the kitchen. Bring your own cup, if you like or we will gladly let you use one of ours.

NINETY DEGREES

Eleven months ago, I bought a Waring Pro Digital Convection Oven. Basically, it’s a high-end toaster oven with an added convection baking function. I picked it because it has the features I wanted, it got good reviews … and it would fit in the space I had available.

These days, I cook pretty much entirely for Garry and I. We rarely have company, much less dinner guests. I figured I could bring our electric consumption down considerably by not using the huge oven in my electric, glass-top range.

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Since I bought it last June, I’ve used my full-size oven only once. I love this little oven … except that the design of the rack can make it very difficult to get the baking sheet out.

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It gets stuck under the claws of the oven, which I believe it is designed to do. It has been the source of significant frustration for me, especially since I use it nearly every day for everything from baking chicken to frozen pizza.

Our electric bill dropped by 50% between last year and now, so I figured it was worth the hassle.

Today, I solved the puzzle. I figured out how to prevent the baking tray from getting stuck on the rack. What was the solution? I changed its orientation from east-west to north-south. In other words, I rotated it 90 degrees on the rack and the problem vanished.

waring mini oven trayFor eleven months, I struggled with the oven pan, trying to get it out of the oven without burning my hand. I have hundreds of little burns on my hands because the pan got caught every time I used it. Which, I remind you, has been almost every day.

In all these months, it never occurred to me I could turn it.

What point is there in having a high IQ if it takes 11 months of getting burned on an oven rack before you consider turning the pan in the other direction?

Garry said he was glad it was me, not him.

I guess I will never be too old to be really stupid.

IN THE KITCHEN – CEE’S BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Things Found in a Kitchen

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What a great challenge this is. I love taking pictures in the kitchen. There is so much stuff in a kitchen … so much going on.

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So many textures and moods. I have taken a lot of my favorite photographs in the kitchen, usually in the morning when its east-facing windows catch the light. I was happy to take this today. Because the sun is shining.

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POINTY END DOWN

I just read a post on Facebook warning me to store my eggs pointy-end down to keep them fresh longer. This is the kind of important issue I’m prepared to deal with this snowy morning.

Today, I’m going to worry about which my eggs are pointing. Really. Even my health food obsessed mother didn’t worry about positioning he eggs properly.

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I’m sorry if I am a disappointment to egg lovers the world round, but I cannot be bothered to check the positioning of my eggs in their cardboard beds. I feel proud of myself if I know whether or not they are too old to eat. Sometimes, the eggs are so old, I’m not sure during which calendar year I purchased them, much less which of their little eggy ends are up.

Honestly, of all the things I to worry about. I think I’ll slip my concern over the position of my eggs neatly between my fears about the failure of world peace and the failing ecology of our planet. Which brings me to … The Daily Prompt.

WordPress suggests I make a case for the continued existence of my favorite person, place, or thing. To keep him, her, it or them from vanishing, without a trace. I hope no one is counting on me. I can’t come up with good reason I shouldn’t vanish. I have trouble figuring out why the human race should not be obliterated.

I think eggs should be spared. Pointy or blunt end up, I’ve never known an egg to do anyone any harm.


Do or Die – You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!