Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting ready in the kitchen

My kitchen is going to be in higher gear soon. With all the kids coming home, I will be cooking - a lot. I have to remind myself of just how many onions to chop when I make curry for a crowd instead of curry for four, how quickly loaves of fresh baked bread disappear, how necessary and delightful to share the tasks of chopping, stirring, cleaning. I am so eager for this kitchen to be filled with the laughter of college boys teasing each other, young men reaching across the counter to snatch a morsel of dough, the sound of not one, but two women's voices added to the men's this year, and everyone's arms at some time or other up to the elbows in suds, washing the mountains of dishes we'll use.

When I think about my family coming home, I think about being in the kitchen. I think about what to feed everyone, what they like, what is nutritious and beautiful on the plate, what smells good. I think about candles on the table and praying thanks for God's provision. I think about conversations that range from the deep, intellectual, academic, spiritual to the light, funny, silly even. And I pray, let it all, all this conversation, be full of grace, seasoned with salt - delicious life giving morsels that go down to our souls and nourish like the well seasoned food on our plates.

My kitchen is not fancy. I am rather a minimalist when it comes to kitchen appliances and gadgets. I have the basics - stove, fridge, microwave (well, that's not really a basic but nice for reheating). I appreciate my dishwasher, though when we lived in Cameroon, we didn't have one and our family of eight did just fine. I have a few well chosen extras that I love and use all the time. They are:

The Magic Mill mixer. I've had this now for, wow, it must be about 20 years and I've never had a minute's trouble with it. It is so well made, so big and strong. It can make dough for 5 or so loaves at a time and has room for triple cookie and muffin batches. It can whip cream and beat egg whites. It was an expensive purchase but it has paid for itself many times over. I love, love, love this machine and use it several times a week.

My electric kettle. My friends in Kenya in the early 80's had them and I'd thought about getting one for years. I'm so glad I finally did. I love it. For folks who drink lots of tea, it's wonderful - heats the water so fast. Another reason I love it is that it makes me feel connected to women of other times and places, especially the women I drank tea with in Nairobi years ago - Ruth Dass, Bonnie Cormack, Pam Horsley who were British, Zimbabwean, and Australian respectively. They would turn on their kettle, get out the teapot and the tin of "biscuits" (cookies) and we would sit and drink tea and visit. I am looking forward to doing that with Erin and Kandyce and the boys and Coty and anyone else who wants to come over and have tea with us this Christmas season. And yes, there is plenty of Russian tea.

My Cuisinart blender/food processor combo. The blender has a nice glass container and is very strong. The food processor is a little small for a large family but it does a respectable job pureeing garbanzos for hummus, or chopping dried basil from the garden. I use the blender several days a week for breakfast smoothies and it never disappoints.

Behind the blender sits the toaster. Coty loves my whole grain bread toasted. I used to have a fancier toaster oven but it died and I just didn't really need anything like that. This is simple, small, efficient.

These are my kitchen aides. Well designed, well made, well used and loved and they will be put to lots of use in the days and weeks ahead....


Erin said...

Yay, I can't wait to be busy in the kitchen with you! Kandyce, Kay and I are already planning a cookie-baking extravaganza, one of my favorite things about Christmas! So don't bake too many cookies before we come, because I have LOTS of recipes I want to try. :)

Beth said...

Oh boy, I can't wait. Don't worry - I'm sure every cookie we make will be eaten!

Erin said...

I'm sure! I made russian tea last night, and am enjoying it on this cold, icy morning. :)

kk said...

i. am. so. excited.

as i've said before, i can't cook but i sure can bake. true to my dutch genes! :)

and i, for one, have no problem with cookies for breakfast. (just kidding, beth amma).

seriously, though, i wouldn't mind spending the entire holiday in the kitchen with you both and kay!