Monday, February 20, 2006

On Cooking

From the Headmistress, at the Common Room

1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?
19-20 meals. The others are eaten at DOB's parents' house, but I make one of them (Sunday evening dinner, if we're going to evening church). DOB eats lunch and breakfast on the road, but he takes them in his snazzy insulated bags advertising some investment product or other, which he picked up at the last big company shindig. There are four of us, but D2 has not yet started solid food, although the day is lurching uncomfortably close.

2. How many cookbooks do you own?
About half a dozen general cookbooks, half a dozen one-topic cookbooks, and a cereal box or so full of old Taste of Home magazines. Anything that wouldn't fit on my top shelf in the cupboard is destined for Goodwill.

3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?
Two or three times. I rarely read a recipe unless I'm baking. Everything else is quite forgiving, and more adventuresome if you don't look.

4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? If so, what are some of your favorite sources (relaties, friends, magazines, advertisements, packages, the internet, etc)
If I want a specific recipe for something and it's not in my cookbooks, I look it up online. I also enjoy very much being part of the Martha blog.

5. How do you store those recipes?
Umm . . . if I get so far as to print them out, they get wadded up and stuffed in the converted cereal boxes with the magazines. I have an empty cookbook ready to receive recipe cards, but never get around to copying them to a suitable size and putting them in. Perhaps D1 can do it when she is old enough . . .

6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas?
A recipe is merely a theme to invite improvisation.

7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it?
Generally American, a lot of Americanized Italian and Mexican. Alas, I almost never get to fix Asian food, which I love, because DOB is allergic to soy.

8. What's your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? (eating the finished product does not count)
Seasoning. Such an adventure, especially if you don't use a recipe or measuring spoons. Mixing up the herbs with shaker tops and the herbs without shaker tops can lead to too much of an adventure, though.

9. What's your least favorite part?
Cleaning up the dishes I didn't get done after the last meal so I have room to work.

10. Do you plan menus before you shop?
I never thought I would, but I have caved in. I just don't have the free brain power to keep improvising. I've made up a four-week rotation and am about halfway through. So far I'm loving it, but we shall see.

11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances?
Kitchenaid, crockpot, blender. (When D2 starts on solid foods, blender will move to the top.)

12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have?
A complete, matching set of sturdy, stainless steel pots and pans

13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next?
A four-quart pan. (If that's the middlish sized one.) With a lid that fits. So I can fit all our breakfast cereal in one pot without getting out the soup pot.

14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage?
We have an extra freezer, a spare one from DOB's parents, without which my life would be difficult indeed.

15. Grocery shop alone or with others?
If you have to ask, you haven't been around here long.

16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week??
Two or three dinners, depending on whether the bean dish gets meat added. But since lunches are always leftovers or beans, that number should be a little more than doubled.

17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors?
Carrots, naturally. I hope this time I can get things up more than two months before we move out. For colors I use orange and green--though in moderation.

18. What's the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you?
The first thing I remember knowing how to cook was chocolate cake, at about eight.

19. How did you learn to cook?
I think everybody showed me a little something--my mom, my sister, my aunt and great-aunts and grandmas and dad, and even my older brother, who makes the best steak in the Western Hemisphere. A lot of trial and error. I also picked up a fair bit from my former boss. Special mention goes to my former roommate, who put up with a lot from my cooking.

20. Tag two other people to play.
I'm going to cheat:
1. My Weird Aunt
2. All the Marthas. If you want to.


the Joneses said...

If you get the chance to email me your menu rotation, I'd be interested to see it.

-- SJ

the Joneses said...

I like your answer to #6 :)

Last night's supper was originally going to be baked chicken with a dry/crispy coating. But then I saw the sour cream and mustard in the fridge and decided that looked better.


Queen of Carrots said...

SJ--I will try to once I have it fully rotated.