Friday, December 23, 2005

There's No Place Like Home: The "Someone Else's Kitchen" Meme

I've been tagged by Haverchuk for my first foodblogging meme. The issue at hand, as originally phrased by The Seasonal Cook, is that "cooking at someone else's house is a royal pain in the neck."

Too true. The ToastFamily is wrapping up our week in a gorgeous beach house on the Outer Banks, which boasts a gourmet kitchen. And the kitchen is quite lovely. But beneath its brushed stainless steel and elegantly mottled granite exterior lurks heartbreak. The oven heats wildly unevenly. The knives are for shit (honestly, profanity is the only way to convey the abysmal state of the cutlery here, people). There is only one mixing bowl. And there are zero rolling pins.

Since our only real goal for the week was to bake a ton of Christmas cookies, the uneven oven presented the biggest challenge. The Sister and I solved the problem by sitting on the floor and staring fixedly into the oven, like mongeese hypnotized by the gaze of a cobra, while each batch baked. We rotated trays and switched shelves as necessary. We are masters of improvisation.

The things I wish I had here, in this strange kitchen, on this strange week:
1) A decent chef's knife
2) My oven
3) A rolling pin (See below for further evidence of our mastery of improvisation.)

4) Toasted sesame oil (It makes everything taste better. Seriously. Everything.)

Obviously, oven portability is limited at best. But the rest of the stuff could easily have been tossed the suitcase, along with the spices and food coloring. For more on traveling chefs who recognize the problem of oven portability as well, check out this New York Times article: A Star Chef at Your (Expensive) Stove. Sample quote: "They rolled in crates of peekytoe crab, Colorado lamb, Maine halibut and tuna tartare, and enough fixings for a five-course feast."

Now, I wonder if I can bring my chef's knife on an airplane...

I'll tag Mumu of A Curious Mix (because I like the idea of tagging Mumu for a Meme) and J and T from DCFoodBlog.


Amy said...

Merry Christmas, Katherine!

I've gotten to where I travel with my chef's knife. I found a simple , inexpensive cover for it that works like a charm.

Scott said...

I'm traveling tonight to a friends beach house where there will be cooking tomorrow night...I'm told I don't need to bring a knife, but I can't stand the thought of chopping onions without a good knife...I better pack mine...!

mumu said...

I've done it finally!

Alanna said...

Picture this. I'm at my cousin's house two days before her son's wedding. There's a bunch of us who've come to Toronto early and most of us are cooking for a big family party the day before and a big family brunch the day after. Me, I'm in charge of the sweet potato salad and have 15 pounds of potatoes and sweet potatoes to cook, peel and chop along with piles of onion, celery and red pepper. Mind you, my cousin has a huge kitchen and is a wonderful cook. She cooks ALL the time. I look for the knives. The ONLY thing she has is a plastic set in a black plastic thing that looks like it came from a gas station 20 years ago. I'm no knife snob but honestly! I drove to the grocery and bought a knife for six bucks Canadian and it was an improvement! My cousin tells me that I shamed her into spending a fortune on good knives recently ... thanks for the memory!