Friday, April 1, 2011

My kitchen, and stuff

 I love my kitchen. I cook at least two meals from scratch a day, the other meal is usually leftovers or something simple. I make our bread weekly, fresh cheese, yogurt, dog food and all sorts of snacks, not to mention canning and preserving in the summer. Everything has its place, everything has a purpose and just a couple things are solely ornamental.

Cooking is a sensual practice for me. The ritual of making a meal begins with pure ingredients, my bare hands and simple tools.When we think of cooking, seeing and smelling food is a given. Knowledge and labor are both required. Enjoying the process is not essential, but it sure helps. It is the act of scooping chunky sea salt with my bare hands, chopping vegetables with my sharp chef knife in just the right pattern that makes all the onion chunks fall apart at the last minute in equal size, and stirring, enjoying the way my wooden spoon curves to fit my hand, that makes the process of cooking sensually rewarding and therefor a soothing task.

A quality tool is both functional and beautiful. As much as I appreciate my mixer for reducing the time I spend kneading- I don't enjoy it as I do a roomy wooden bowl with plenty of room for tossing or a nice piece of pottery with a snug fitting lid. While I'm still enjoying being in my kitchen, before I am too busy to keep it tidy, I thought I'd share some of my favorite kitchen sights. Above left is an oil and vinegar set I made several years ago. One of my few rarely used items. On the right is my sugar dish made by a fellow potter.

                       Herbs, rosemary, basil, mint and oregano - not located in the kitchen but used frequently.

Wooden spoons and salt vessels. Have I ever admitted my love and addiction for various types of salt? On the left is coarse sea salt with fine on the right. There is a big price difference, so I use the coarse for soups, boiling water or surface texture. I have at least a half a dozen other types of salt on hand; non iodized salt for pickling and cheesemaking, fleur de sel sea salt, coarse red and black salt from Hawaii and a few other packages of salt I've picked up while traveling. I love quality ingredients in general. They don't need to be expensive in price, just not cheap in quality. Fresh, pure, simple, local when possible, seasonally when possible.

Here's to enjoying the simple things that make the process more enjoyable, whether it is cooking with your favorite wooden spoon, painting with your favorite brush or just using the perfect tool for the job.


Jewel said...

Hi Emily,
Thanks for sharing a few pictures of the fun, artsy and useful things in your kitchen. I too love all different kinds of salt.

Reading that you want to get honeybees, I thought to share with you that I have loved having my 2 hives of bees for the last 4 years. They give so much energy and life to a garden, once you have them, and taste your own honey, you will always want them to be part of your life. There is a learning curve to raising them. I wonder what other beekeepers in Fairbanks have to say on overwintering, feeding, medicating, and that kind of thing. I wonder what kind of honey you'll get, fireweed?, wildflower?
Thanks for sharing all the great posts I'm learning a lot, and really enjoy reading about all you're doing. Hope all is going well with the mama and baby goats.


Emily said...

Jewel, I'm hoping to get clover honey, I think that is my favorite, light and mild. I do have a good bit of fireweed as well, but we feed so much to the goats, that often it doesn't get a chance to bloom. As far as overwintering, that is a big challenge here. I know the experienced bee keepers try it, some years they have successes and some years they mostly fail. My dad use to try every year. even when he could get them to survive till spring, often they'd come out of their dormancy and starve before anything was blooming. It has been a big factor for me in why I haven't taken on bees yet. the idea of killing off the hive in the fall is very disheartening. I'm not positive if that is what I will do or not. I don't have the best place just now to over winter them, but someday that is my intention.

Plickety Cat said...

Thanks for sharing your eclectic kitchen. I also feel "zen" when I'm cooking... although not so much here in the wall tent where I have no good surfaces for preparation. I can't wait to have a proper kitchen counter again so cooking can be fun instead of frustration.

And I'm a salt foodie as well. We have several different salts from around the world (I'm still partial to my grayish-yellow mined salt from Germany $$$). I tend to use our pink mineralized salt for pasta water, etc... it's just a little too salty for sprinkling (and I'm sure folks who don't love salt are wondering how a salt can be "too salty" LOL).

I would love to get back into pottery. Did you use someone's private kiln, or is there someplace in Fairbanks that sells supplies and will fire pieces?