Thursday, July 2, 2009

Adapting to the lack of Kitchen Gadgets

My mother-in-law spent Memorial day weekend with us, leaving in her wake a swept floor, fabulous cherry pie and her distinct perfume on the sheets. She was sorry she couldn't fill up our freezer with goodies like the 15 mini-loaves, feijoida and mushroom tarts it took us months to polish off after our first baby. Yum. It's really great having grandma swoop in like a gourmet Mary Poppins, although I could do without watching her limping around sweeping 5 or 10 times a day. The only issue arises when she sets out to make something, only to find I do not have the requisite kitchen gadget that no kitchen should be without, at least according to her. The last time she visited she insisted I get a food mill, which I keep calling a meat grinder. I've used it exactly once in like 3 years..

Now I grew up in a kitchen chock full of the latest gadgets. Mushroom brush and slicer, check. Taco maker, got it. Cuisinart, pasta extruder, hand-cranked ice cream maker, we had them all. We even had the first microwave, when they came to your door to teach you how to use it. I love me some gadgets, however, after several moves, downsizing my kitchen and surrounded by picky eaters, I find I do not actually need every gadget known to man. After much complaining and realizing I didn't actually need an electric can opener or three kinds of cheese slicers, it's just gone downhill from there, from a kitchen gadget point of view.

And yet every time my MIL enters a house, prepared to cook, she manages to convey utter shock and surprise at the homeowners total lack of the bare necessities. One her bare necessities consist of items many of us didn't even know existed. For our rehearsal "dinner" held in Huddart park, my MIL whipped up these incredible gourmet picnic baskets for each guest. She did all the prep work and cooking in my mom's custom designed and well-stocked kitchen. Halfway through, my MIL says "so where's your fruit-fresh?" I mean, who doesn't keep fruit fresh around, for those long lazy days of canning peaches and stirring luscious strawberry jam. None of us had even heard of fruit-fresh. And my MIL's standard answer is always "oh, it's okay, we don't really need it," until someone offers to run to the grocery, because, really, at 69 and now 80, she really doesn't want to change her ways.

She sauntered into my kitchen to make the pies, asking me for a rolling pin and cover, pastry cutter, strainer, and the standard ingredients, which she of course assumed I'd have. I had no white flour (only whole wheat white), managed to run out of sugar, and it took me forever to find the salt (she couldn't use the special sea salt). I ended up going to three stores and never found a cloth cover for the rolling pin. "Oh it's okay, I just feel bad for you having to drive all around," she exclaimed, as she wrapped a dishtowel around the rolling pin. The pies were incredible, though.

1 comment:

  1. She sounds like a gem! I do understand your unwillingness to stock all the gadgets. I have a tiny kitchen (old Victorian home), so we keep only those gadgets we really, really need. Sometimes, though, I long for a Pampered Chef party and the accompanying goodies.