Today was my day for re stocking my larder with homemade essentials. Birthdays and guest have drained me of my hamburger buns, TVP mushroom burgers, bread, chocolate ice cream syrup, homemade maple syrup and other baking syrups. (everything is made in huge quantities then frozen, dehydrated or refrigerated in containers.) I also made up a 2 gallon pot of Jambalaya which I’ll divide up and freeze in containers when it cools down a bit more. I started this at 6am this morning and it is now 10:30am, which means I spent over 3 hours making about a months worth of supplies… give or take on some stuff. Afterward I realized I have another hour cleaning up to do. Most every pot, stirring utensil, mixer, shredder, mandolin, food processor, measuring device etc, etc was used. Which brings me to the point.
I was sent an email from one of the followers of this blog. In it she said that after trying out new recipes that no matter how hard she tries, her kitchen ends up a confusing mess of spices, pots and pans, kitchen utensils and clutter.
At first I just smiled as I knew exactly what frustrated her. Then, thinking about it, I realized how unfair many TV cooking shows and online video’s are to the average home cook (yes, even many blogs, including mine). They really do present a scene reminiscent to the middle aged lady looking at a Victoria Secret catalog. Wishes vs reality.
I’m guilty! Before I take a photo for my blog, I clean up the goop hanging over the bowls rim and make sure I place the ingredients just so. So, from now on I’m not going to do that anymore. Let the mess be a mess, that way no one will ever feel less a cook because they can’t keep their kitchen picture perfect like Rachael Ray does. In fact, I think that is what made Julia Child so popular. Folks were able to resonate with her mishaps as something they too fall victim to. I was watching her TV show years ago where she was trying to manhandle a fowl of some sort and it flew right off of the table onto the floor! Not skipping a beat, she told the audience (in her high whinny voice) “Ooooo dear, well, that happens from time to time!”
Do we ever get to see ‘real’ cooking on our TV’s anymore? With digital editing, any mistake is immediately and seamlessly removed. It never happened. Even live shows are not really live. A ten second delay in digital editing is like hours compared to the old analog tape format. What we see is like the still photo’s we bloggers put up for our followers. Edited and Sanitized.
Mia culpa, Mia culpa. I have sinned, I have sinned.
So, without further delay, I’m exposing my sins and ask for your forgiveness. My penance? To show you what my kitchen really looks like through un-retouched photos in a light hearted way. My kitchen, with all its clutter and mess still produces some mighty fine food. The only thing you won’t see is my cast iron cookware because I store each piece in its own brown paper bag on a shelf in the garage. A photo of a bunch of bags would be really thrilling! (brown paper bags absorb moister so the cast ironware inside never gets that rusty dust look to it).
So, without further ado, here is my larder and kitchen’s soul, bared for all to see that I am not Rachael Ray!
Lets start with my over stuffed kitchen fridge. Can you count how many rules I’ve broken here? (Peanut butter in the fridge is NOT improper. Peanut butter grows a dangerous invisible mold at room temperature. The mold, Aspergillus flavus, produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin.) I also keep cold bottles of reverse osmosis water for cooking and a few Morning Star items for quick ‘on the run’ lunches.
Next is the fridge in my attached garage… the same garage I hide my cast iron cookware in. Notice how my freezer is over stuffed?
Then there’s the larder (food storage areas) I use 5 gallon buckets to hold my unopened stores such as specialty flours, unopened specialty sugars, my almonds for almond milk and resealable rice packages. Note the little antique fully functioning cast iron stove between my bin of dry beans and pizza pans. I use that to teach folks how to use a cast iron wood burning cookstove. Someday I’ll do a blog on it. It dates back to around the turn of the century and was used to teach folks how to use the real one and as a demo to sell this certain stove. It is a Cresent stove. I use small slivers of wood to burn and teach banking of fires, where to place pots and pans for different heat etc, etc.
Still in the garage, I have my deep freezer. In it contains 3 twenty pound unopened bags of different flours. A five gallon bucket of flour for easy access and assorted smaller flours and grains. I even threw my sons turkey inside!
Most of my oils are simple ones. Olive and Canola. I’ve really stopped using the sunflowers and others (except sesame oil) because I’ve really noticed little difference in their taste or cooking abilities. BTW Canola oil is a short version for the words “Canadian oil, low acid” It’s derived from Rape seed or Field Mustard seeds and makes an excellent bio diesel fuel for trucks…ugh! Another thing you may have noticed is many of my food stuffs are not necessarily of name brand. That’s because some things are identical, no matter who’s name is on them.
My dry spice area. While most of these are originally at first store bought, I’ve replaced the used up spices with ones I’ve dried and ground myself. A dehydrator and spice grinder (I even use an old coffee grinder) will grind up most any spice. After a while, I pour them out and grind up some new stuff to keep them fresh. I once thought of buying those neat little jars that have the spices already named on a label but a case of laziness overpowered me and I never got around to it.
This is my catch all cabinet. Everyone has a junk drawer in their kitchen and a few catch all shelves. (unless you happen to be the owner of that Demo kitchen up top!) Much of the stuff in here is stuff I make myself, like my homemade Light Karo syrup, Nutella, maple syrup, ground TVP, and more. I use any old container that fits. Maybe it is time I look into those pre-labled bins, jars and containers…nah!
As far as gizmo’s and cool kitchen appliances go, they get an honorable storage place….Not! I stuff them inside the lower cabinet and hope they don’t get broken when the fall out.
My stainless pots and pans hang from a ceiling mounted pot rack I built myself. I’m waiting for my kitchen ceiling to someday come down on my head!
Lastly, here’s the work horses in my kitchen collection. My Technivorm Moccamaster coffee maker, my KitchenAid stand mixer (all it’s add-ons are stuffed in the appliance cabinet under the counter) and my latest addition is my Oster counter top convection oven.
So there ya’ go, Rachael Ray I’m not! It goes to show that even a worn out old fashioned phony butcher block counter top can be used to knead some fantastic bread loaves and pie crust on it. I remember watching my grand mother kneading her bread on top of her linoleum coated counter top. That ol’ counter top sure produced some great bread and pastries. I think it’s hereditary… not the cooking part, hers was magical mine has curses put on it, I was referring to the clutter part 🙂