Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Braveheart's in the Kitchen

I spent my childhood waiting for supper to get ready, which meant I stood at Ma's elbow, enraptured as her magical hands wielded knives and spatulas, chopping, dicing, and pounding. 
Via theguardian.com
I picked up a few things from those days, like when making a cake the sugar and eggs are mixed together first. After an unfortunate incident when I left a tupperware lid to melt on the stove, I was banned from kitchen duty until only recently. 

Even though I am always happy with a bowl of cereal if there is no "official" supper, there is that glow of satisfaction and accomplishment when I can successfully bend and bind once separate, raw ingredients to my will. 

Yes, there can be an element of penchant, that child prodigy who gravely approaches the stove whilst accompanied by divine trumpets, but I am not she.

In order to cook, one does not need innate abilities; one just has to be willing to try and to listen. It's not about recipes only, it is about technique, and relying on the insight of the elders while experimenting with new ideas. Result?   

Jim Sollisch's article title says it all: "Cooking is Freedom." I am not dependent on a generous income or need to humor a waiter so that he doesn't spit into my salad or hope for a speedy metabolism I don't have. 

Yeah, girls are "supposed" to know how to cook, but Sollisch's story is different. As a hungry adolescent, he petitioned his school to open another home ec class for the boys so he could eat his homework. He learned the skills, and felt absolutely emancipated. 
I think of those bachelors I have gone out with that live on their own. None knew how to cook (at least, none were going to admit they did). I shivered at all the greasy takeout they must subsist on, upping their workouts to burn it off, when they could eat more healthfully and exercise less violently. 

First suggestion: Proper, reliable cookware makes all the difference. To illustrate, my sister-in-law bought a cheap, no-name frying pan for Pesach; obviously, for one week a year, she wasn't going to splurge. But that pan wouldn't warm up for no money. I stood there with my niece for ten minutes, watching the stubbornly raw egg eyeball me back as the pan refused to heat. 

Hard anodized non-stick cookware can be found, with a little effort, reduced in many stores like Marshalls or TJ Maxx, or even online. Calphalon used to be the major non-stick contender, but new competition has arisen like the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Everyday Pan or the Cuisinart Dishwasher Safe Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Everyday Pan or the Cuisinart Contour Hard Anodized 12-Inch Everyday Pan (I can't really tell the differences between these, but I tend to be drawn to whatever cost the most originally). 
Via confessionsofanover-workedmom.com

If one is feeling particularly solvent, there are often non-stick sets that are radically reduced, like the Anolon Professional Hard Anodized Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set. Look how much that baby cost originally, over $800, now under $250! Plus all those glowing reviews! Or the Cuisinart Dishwasher Safe Hard-Anodized 11-Piece Cookware Set! Over $500, now yours for under $165!
Oh, my, I'm becoming faint. 

A cheap person pays twice, Zeidy always said. Investing in cookware is always a financially sound plan. 


Lost and Found said...

This is why I should be reading your blog more often. I really could have used these deals! I still need a kitchen: http://learningtosaynothing.blogspot.com/2013/09/i-need-kitchen.html

Princess Lea said...

I left a long tedious comment on that post now. My apologies, but I get quite excited when I see such shopping lists.

Princess Lea said...

I left a long tedious comment on that post now. My apologies, but I get quite excited when I see such shopping lists.

Lost and Found said...