Saturday, February 6, 2010

i see, you don't doooo things that way that weeee doooo

I went to put a baked potato in the oven and found myself stabbing it repeatedly with a fork.  I started cracking up and wondering, as I almost missed the delicate web of skin between my thumb and forefinger, does everyone do this precarious food preparation for a really good baked potato? *  It then occurred to me that most everything I do in the kitchen is because I learned it from my mother.
I love that.
And I love knowing that most everything she does in the kitchen, is because her mother taught her that way.

The list, of course,  includes millions of things,
--the way I store certain foods:  I don't put butter, ketchup or syrup in the cupboard, I also don't mind milk past it's 'due date', I hate peanut butter from the fridge, and dressed lettuce is one of the very few things I'll throw out after a dinner.  Millions of little glass jars with a few olives, a tiny bit of sauce, or a few slices of orange line the short shelves of our refrigerator.  Leftovers, a belief system.

-the way I wash and dry lettuce or pop popcorn for the movies, pack cookies and fill a thermos, believing its better to bring your own movie food

I also love that fact that more and more of my dishes and kitchen appliances are actually hand me downs from, not just my mother, but my mother's mother.  I use my grandmothers garlic press!  Many who have cooked at my house have a nice chuckle over this little old press.  I'm actually used to it.  I take a great pride in my vintage kitchen tools.  Someone laughed at my salad spinner because it has a string you pull like a toy top.  And when we had a movie night at our house & I pulled out our popcorn popper, a friend mentioned that the only thing missing is the little butter cup that used to rest in the back of the machine.  Yeah, it's old school and it still works and you don't just get rid of  things if they still work.

My mother calls it my 'farm mentality'-- I get it from her.  Again, another point of pride for me.  I don't think I would ever have thought of it, but it's been pointed out enough times that I'm actually glad for it.  It makes me feel even closer to my mom and to my grandma, who's passed away.  I love the idea of one's history, a simple history of the way you do things in the kitchen, being passed down to the next generation. 

*i have since looked up the baking of a baked potato and, apparently, this barbaric habit is recommended


billy girl said...

dude,love it. my Pops was the chef at home and taught me some strange techniques too. And I can peel an apple in one fell swoop (!) just like my apple pie making teacher, my Nana. the other thing I learned in the kitchen is that my mom, not the culinary type, really can burn water.

love it Mol, thank you!

comfies said...

just another facet of the charming qualities that make up molly meng! you have your grandmother's garlic press! freakin' adorable. we should ALL have the farm mentality - tho some of us may have to develop it later in life. xd

Molly said...

I'm so with you. The list of things kitchen-related which I do and my Granny does and her mother did is endless.
Stabbing potatoes is one of them!

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

what I love is when you are cooking in someone else's kitchen and their rituals take over! I was cooking with my Italian friend and her 83 year old father. I made the pasta and when I put it in the boiling water he asked me if I had salted the no I said.

"Well, it's too late now..." he said, shaking his head in disgust and walking away.

i think we poke the potato so it doesn't explode. I think.

carina said...

I take comfort in these rituals too. Some days I find myself shaking my head at the way my Mister does something in the kitchen and thinking "Clearly, his mother didn't teach him the right way to do (fill in the blank). After, 14 years of living on my own, I still call my mom for baking advise. She's my personal kitchen guru and I wouldn't have it any other way!