Monthly Archives: June 2008

Getting to It

I have immersed myself in cooking for the past six years.

I have notebooks strewn around the house
cookbooks underfoot in every possible room
and a tablet in my desk drawer at work
scribbled on when I have a few minutes
recording my last try in the kitchen
and was a dish worthy of producing again–
an “ask for” meal I call them.

If someone isn’t asking for it
it’s probably not all that great.

Granted, that “someone” asking for the meal is usually my husband
because the dogs don’t count.

They ask for things like onion peelings
staring silently 
standing at the edge of the kitchen,
lying down if they sense that mom will be in the forbidden room for a while.

They know not to come in while I’m in there
a tiny kitchen in a tiny house
has no room for two dogs snuffling around in while I am juggling hot pans.

All bets are off as soon as I step out of the kitchen however.
They snuffle hoover up any microscopic object that may have dropped.

Onion peels are sought after as much as a morsel of ground beef;
they are not picky eaters.

Most of the time I put a baby-gate up to keep them from going in
because my biggest culinary fear
is to watch my guests pucker up their mouths
and then politely extract a crimped dog hair from their half-chewed food.

I have always been interested in food
and started seriously cooking when I was 18.

I accumulated a few cookbooks
and subscribed to (many) cooking magazines.

Last year I gave myself a goal of following one new recipe a week
since it didn’t make sense to have years of back-issues of Gourmet, Saveur,  Cook’s Illustrated, Food + Wine, (ad infinitum)
or to have any of the cookbooks I somehow kept collecting
if I wasn’t putting them to good use.

I got off to a rough start
but by December I had 52 new recipes under my belt.

Last year saw the introduction of cakes, icings and candy
flank steak, skirt steak, and chicken thighs
prime rib roasts, oxtails, and simple pastry crusts.

This year I gave myself the same goal
and threw in another one.

This year I shall conquer bread and pie crusts.
52 recipes shall be followed
and I shall not swear (too much) while making them.

Never in my life has bread cooperated with me.
My mother and grandmother had no problem turning out beautiful loaves
hand-kneaded and loved upon
but mine looked like something out of the Yeast Lagoon
and bread baking generally induced a level of terror in me that was unhealthy for one’s well-being.

Pie crusts just made me angry.
Every time.
Pull away here, crack here, and there it now goes, through the window.

I am proud to say that my bread skills are coming along.

Its almost July
I’ve completed 52 new recipes
but only have 17 or so yeast breads under my belt
and the pie crusts remain untouched.

Summer should be the perfect time for making fruit pies
but I recently got an ice cream maker
(like cookbooks, my small appliance collection is growing)
and that is quite distracting.

There have been more ice cream bowls in our house than pie plates
and I should get to fixing that.

All in good time.  

Maybe I will proclaim December as Pie Month in our household.
30 days, 30 pies…
and a whole angry household of pied-out residents.

Maybe I should just get to it.
We’ll see.
The ice cream maker might work its magic once more.


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