Thursday, May 2, 2013

Happy conveniences

by Julie

I don't know about you, but I don't care to cook in anyone else's kitchen but my own. At home I know where everything is, and I know precisely what I have in stock - I have a mental inventory that's generally pretty reliable. Cooking elsewhere means using garlic powder instead of fresh minced cloves. Cooking elsewhere means an oven that runs hotter/colder than mine or dishwashing liquid that smells different. Cooking elsewhere is stressful and difficult.

So, Saturday afternoon, I cooked dinner at home before taking it to my mother-in-law's house that evening. Worked out great because I had things in my casserole dishes and was able to prep them at home and simply pop them into the oven when we got there. Her oven seems to run hot, in case you were wondering.

Everything went smoothly and we all had a lovely dinner.

But even with my best-laid plans, there were two instances where being in someone else's kitchen gave me a little bit of a hard time. First... my mother-in-law has no oven mitts. How did this happen and how did I not notice sooner? Or ... did she get rid of them recently? Her memory isn't too great anymore, so there's no way to know for certain (and no way to know if they're simply misplaced). When I needed to turn the casseroles or get them out of the oven, I had to use a dishtowel.

That's one.

The other thing is a matter of preference. Before we tucked the leftovers into the fridge, I wanted to cover them with plastic wrap. My mother-in-law uses a different brand than I do and wow -- what a difference. Her plastic wrap was unruly, in a flimsy carton, and the plastic was hard to unstick from its center "hold in place" spot. It fought me every step of the way. The one we have at home is in a heavy, sturdy box. We pull out the wrap, cover whatever it is that needs covering, then slide a little plastic cutter across the top of the film. Voila! Perfect. No fighting at all.

It occurs to me that in life we have these happy conveniences we depend on. Like oven mitts. Like easy-to-use plastic wrap. These are things that we depend on and probably take for granted until presented with a situation where they aren't available (as happened Saturday for me). Now that I'm home I'm paying better attention to the things I've been taking for granted. It's nice.

I've pictured two of my must-haves in the kitchen. (There are many!)

What items do you depend on?