Wednesday, July 19, 2006

rattle those pots and pans

our favorite, or at least most used, cooking utensil. the stirring thing pictured in the pan is made of bamboo. i have had it for at least 30 years.

we have a reasonable assortment of pots and pans, even a wok we use. pots, saucepans, skillets, frying pans, or maybe frypans in some locales, steamers (which go in the pots), rice cooker. seems a lot when i list them. most are family things passed on from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, step-relatives, siblings, even the next generation. anyway, most of our meals start with a large saute pan. in my world of words frying pans are cast iron, and this pan is stainless (ha) steel and aluminum on the outside bottom, something about spreading the heat. this pan came from our beloved sam, second husband to robin's mom. oh, we use the other pans too. the wok gets a lot of use, and an aluminum fry/saute pan from my grandmother's kitchen. we collect the ingredients from the garden and make our salad in a wooden bowl that robin's mom bought in 1947. we have purchased some new kitchen things. a large pot with a basket kinda insert we use to cook pasta. an electric rice cooker. knives.

back to our favorite pan: almost all our "recipes" (a recipe here is more a list of ingredients, which varies with mood) start with olive oil, garlic, onions, and red peppers. that's a base for italian, chinese, east indian, or thai cuisine, at least. could be pasta primavera, or curried chicken, or a stir fry. if we have steamed vegetables they are cooked in a pot from robin's family.

a picture of the aforementioned wooden bowl, with a bulb of this year's garlic harvest artfully arranged, on top of the maple burl cutting board on which all our food is sliced, chopped, diced, smashed (garlic). the faint yellow on the cutting board at left is from dicing fresh turmeric. the red splotch above right of the bowl from cutting beets. the board was cut with a chainsaw way off in the woods by a friend. i have had it for almost 30 years.

there is some sort of comfortable feeling, for me anyway, of using kitchen things i remember from my youth, things robin remembers from her youth, pans from our families, even utensils from our own young adulthood. i know that they are just things and could be replaced, and that even if they are actually old that the sense of continuity is in me, not out there in things. they are hand-me-downs or family heirlooms, depending on one's viewpoint, or perhaps on actual utility.

a dfifferent perspective of what we love about home than yesterday's post, but perhaps related emotionally. what's in your kitchen?

the title of the post is a line from an early rock and roll song. i heard it as "shake , rattle, and roll" performed by bill haley and the comets, when i was 12. bill cleaned up the lyrics for us white bread kids in the 'burbs.


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