When it comes to writing, I’m generally pretty practical. I like to share ideas, recipes, tips and tricks that other can use in their kitchen – and love learning from them as well. I generally avoid the noun-filled flowery posts that describe our life and day-to-day experience. I have no problems with that style of writing; it’s just something I generally avoid.
But there’s always room for exceptions! From time-to-time I like to share peaks into our kitchen. I’m not sure they’re of interest to anyone at all but I’ll admit that my real pleasure from these posts is having the chance to look back at them years later. This is our sixth year of sharing our thoughts 5-7 times a week and the volumes contained in the archive allow an honest look into my personal history. I’m proud of much of it, cringe at some of it and almost all of it makes me laugh or smile.
We’ve had a harsh winter so far this year. The changing of the seasons was swift and I feel a similar parallel evolving in our kitchen. Cooking and managing a household kitchen is a skill and, like any skill, it can be enhanced, grow dull or remain stagnant. My progress tends to be slow-and-steady; I try to learn a new trick or idea each day and try my best to implement the new knowledge into my life. This has been made increasing easy by using social media and interacting with the many different food communities that one can so easily find on the Internet these days.
Beyond the Internet, I still love cookbooks. I don’t read them as often as I feel I should but I love the process of bringing a new book home, flipping through the pages and the potential. A few years ago I vowed that I needed to follow more recipes to evolve my cooking. I’m afraid I still need to follow-through on that one.
I’ve been in cooking school and learned a lot there. My cooking is becoming drastically simpler and incorporating more preserves all the time. After a few years of steady progress in the kitchen, I feel like I’m on the verge of a leap in progress. Time will tell if that’s true.
We watch drastically less television these days. I found myself surprised to have removed the Food Network from our package and how little I miss it. We’ve been fortunate to meet several people who appear on the channel (and some whom we consider friends) and I’ll admit that’s the only thing I truly miss; seeing people I know (or have briefly met) doing what they love.
Fermenting and dehydrating continue to accelerate in our kitchen. We still do lots of other preserving (I seem to be pressure canning stock once every 2 or 3 weeks these days) but I’m really enjoying the process of the slowest forms of preserving. Our apartment has been partially warmed by the dehydrator which has been running for 3 days (it takes the amount of energy of a lightbulb) and we have 3 or ferments stashed around the apartment. When I come home from work I tend to check each one in the same way a gardener checks their plants. This simple routine is remarkable comfortable and makes me long for a better space to grow our own food.
Christmas saw the arrival of a stand mixer. It’s one of the last ‘big ticket’ items that were on our list for the kitchen. It’s been less than a month and I can already see how amazing it’s going to be for us. I’ve had a few nights where I’ve come home from work, dumped ingredients into the mixer and then changed from my work clothes, played with the dog and returned to the kitchen to find a ball of pasta dough circling in the bowl. I really think this will mark a near-end of buying commercial pasta altogether and am excited to find that meals I once reserved for the weekend can now be squeezed into a weeknight.
We’re still buying most of our food locally (and much of it organic or near organic). We seem to eat less meat all the time (though when we do, we eat vastly superior meat to what we used to). I feel lucky to have the amount of food options we have in this city, especially in the winter months.
The biggest change in our kitchen has been the addition of the new shelving unit and it makes things so much easier to work with. Everything has a home and our kitchen is now a great place to work in. We probably should have made some of these changes long ago; I’m glad we finally did.
My kitchen (both the physical space and the construct of what it brings to our lives) feels right in a way that I didn’t know possible. I hope, if anyone other than I am reading this post, that yours feels just the same!
That’s enough blathering for now – time to cut into the evenings pot pie.