Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A cooking journey...

I have a confession to make. For the past 2-3 years, I have started to dislike cooking from scratch. Ok, nobody fall on the floor. Growing up with a mother who didn't know that spaghetti sauce came in a jar, I was trained to shun all convenience foods. I tried to stay true to my heritage. But time, and small kitchens with no counter space, have been wearing me down. Terri, I know you're feeling me here. Keep the faith, sister.

And so, I present a timeline of Ellen's kitchens:

Sept. 2001- July 2002- Ahh, married student housing. Ellen is learning to cook. And she's doing it in a small galley kitchen with no air conditioning. There is no dishwasher, and if she opens the oven, she can't open the fridge at the same time. She has counter space approximately the size of a large cutting board. On particularly hot days, she makes dinner for David, and then eats popcorn because the thought of hot food makes her want to gag. Despite all this, she is excited about cooking, and attempts many made from scratch meals. She is newly married and wants to try the Susie Homemaker apron on for size. Heh, heh.

Aug. 2002-July 2003- The young couple moves to the D.C. suburbs. The apartment model they have seen has a much larger kitchen with more counter space. Ellen is relieved and excited. Her days of struggling are over! She gets to her new apartment, walks in the door... and sees a kitchen approximately the size and shape of the one she just left. She immediately dissolves into tears. Dreams dashed, she bravely picks up and moves on. She moves a table into the kitchen, and finds some additional counter space. She keeps cooking.

July 2003- June 2006- They move to Alabama. This apartment kitchen is much more open, and there is a little more counter space. She is encouraged. She makes an entire Thanksgiving dinner, including brined turkey ala Alton Brown, one year for her husband's family. Her husband carves it on top of the dryer in the laundry room, as she has, once again, run out of counter space. Her enthusiasm is waning...

June 2006- July 2007- Back to the DC burbs. Tiny apartment, even tinier kitchen, with a sink that qualifies under the Guinness Book of World Records for Smallest on the East Coast. Tiny wall oven. She's pregnant, big, and the kitchen has killed what was left of her cooking joy. She embraces convenience foods. She can't remember chopping anything after the baby is born.

July 2007- Oct. 2008- Small kitchen in Raleigh. Definitely better, but still, plagued with counter space problems. Not much cooking going on. Baking is out, except for special occasions. She can't remember the last time she make homemade rolls or pulled out her breadmaker. Maybe easier is better. Time to buy "Dinners made from 5 ingredients or less"?

Nov. 2008..... Ellen finally has the kitchen of her dreams. She decides she's glad that she didn't throw out the cookie cooling racks 3 moves ago. She finally has a place to put them to cool cookies! The long, spacious island is like a dream come true. She has room to spread out and do everything right there. She has made two different types of cookies in one day, jambalaya, multiple homemade soups, etc. There will be homemade bread dough in the new house tonight. She's back...


Anonymous said...

feel the sympathy (and the rejoicing) coming from my tiny kitchen...although for being a small kitchen, mine is more functional than some. I'm just glad I'm not hosting Thanksgiving again this year... :)


Shannon said...

WOOHOO! I particularly sympathized with carving the turkey on top of the dryer...we've actually done that too! I'm hoping my next kitchen will be have enough counter space to revive my cooking zeal...time will tell! Hooray for convenience foods! :)

The Mom said...

Oh I have to smile.

We lived for a year at least with NO kitchen, only a fridge with a microwave on top, standing on our upstairs landing, outside the bathroom where we washed the dishes. (When I say our upstairs landing, it was the size of the fridge, we had to squeeze past it, and when I cooked I stood on the top step of the stairs)

That was the year I had three children under three, and was expecting the fourth. . .

I lived the first six yrs of marriage with a crock pot and microwave. (And fridge).

It has taken me a while to get used to using a real oven and stove top/hob

You know, it makes me happy to know that I am blessed exceedingly now; but I hope too that I have learned in ever situation to be content.

Cooking from scratch?? Naaah, not every day, here.

I am very very thankful for the situation I am now in. I hope I can pass on contentment to my children. . .

Side note:
I find it a bit weird that some people equate cooking from scratch with Godliness. . . like a recent email from Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies fame.

H x x x

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

I am so thrilled to master doughs and rolled cookies after many years of small kitchens. What a joy!

Now, quick, Ellen, you have less than 9 months to get in the habit of using all that space!

Happy Thanksgiving!