Livin’ It

This is it….this is where the magic happens! My itsy bitsy, monochromatic kitchen complete with counter tops circa 1976. Proof that you don’t need stainless steel appliances, a Spanish tile back splash or granite counter tops to make great meals for your family. I’ve made some of the best meals of my life in this space, and I want everyone to know that even if you had no choice in the colors, style or size of your kitchen, you can make it work. Some day my husband and I will remodel. But until then, I’ll keep cranking out delicious food on the same counters that another mother prepped meals for her family on and feel that history move along to me.

The Work Horse. My KitchenAid. I received it as a wedding gift in 1995 and have been using it non-stop ever since. I love its versatility. At Christmas, we bake dozens of cookies and bars with it (see: A Christmas Memory of Our Own). I think my daughter associates the whir of its motor with Linzer Squares and Fudgy Bon Bons.

The Beast. My grill. Oh, how I love this piece of equipment. It’s given me so much confidence as a home cook. When we bought our first grill, we thought my husband would be doing all of the cooking on it. Turns out, grilling, smoking and barbeque-ing come naturally to me. Who knew a girl from New Jersey could smoke a pork butt and make it taste absolutely delicious?

The Soldiers. The blender and the Cuisinart. Two loyal pieces of equipment, not used as frequently, but always at the ready. I love how they wait patiently in the corner for their turn. My husband gave me the Cuisinart a few years ago for Christmas, and it has changed my life. The first time I shredded cabbage for cole slaw, I nearly cried at how much time it saved me.

Then & Now. The garlic press on the left was the first piece of kitchen equipment I bought when I decided I wanted to learn to cook. My husband and I were living in Philadelphia in the early 90s, newly graduated from college but not yet married. I didn’t even know you could buy fresh garlic, let alone press it. The first time I added fresh garlic to a dish, I was stunned at how good it tasted. I used that garlic press for more than 20 years on hundreds of meals. A short time ago, my husband accidently broke it. He felt terrible. We went out and got the press on the right, and it works even better than the old one. Still, I didn’t have the heart to throw out my old one. It came into my life at the beginning of everything for me. It remains in my utensil drawer, a reminder to keep trying new things.

The Most Feared. Ugh. The rolling pins. As much as I want to be a great dough roller, I’m terrible at it (See: Facing My Fears – The 2-Crust Pie). I can’t figure out for the life of me what I’m doing wrong. The dough  cracks or sticks to the pin or I roll it too flat or don’t chill it long enough. I make one two-crust pie a year, an apple one in the fall, made with apples we pick in the North Georgia mountains. My husband is kind enough to jump in and roll the dough for me; otherwise, our daughter would have no idea what a homemade pie tastes like. The pin with the G on it is my daughter’s. She’s a great roller. Evidently, the talent skips a generation.

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