Most days I feel like a kitchen superstar. Last week I canned 50 quarts of garlic dills, catered an event for 50 attendees 1-1/2 hours away with all five of my kids in tow (major thanks to my Mom for coming along and riding herd…), made three- count ’em- three premium cheesecakes (two for the event, one for my visiting sister and her new boyfriend!), made mozzarella cheese and pesto enough to feed the Italian army, experimented with a couple recipes, made several loaves of bread and managed to put three meals a day on the table for my family of seven. I did it…
But as I worked my way through last week one dish (or sometimes several dishes) at a time I had a few moments of frustration. I had an epiphany (and yes, Dad, it hurt.) While I undoubtedly love cooking and am thrilled to have the opportunities for both captive audiences (husband and kid) and paying audiences (newspaper column and catering/cheesecake customers) there are still things that I just don’t like to do in the kitchen.
This epiphany came as a shock to me. A shock as big as when I realized that although I loved my children, there were some things I just didn’t like doing with/for them**. I can hear a collective ‘duh’ rising from the blogosphere, but to me this was news.
**Changing befouled diapers, listening to them practice the same sound effect four hundred times behind my head while I’m trying to decorate a customer’s cheesecake, eating goulash (HOW can they all love it so?), the laundry (I hates the laundry. Wicked. Tricksy. It increases when no one is looking.), etc…
Back to the kitchen grievances, though, since that was my original point. While peeling several dozen eggs for deviled eggs, I compiled a mental list of the things I don’t like to do in the kitchen:
- Washing leafy greens. Whether they be salad greens or mustard/turnip/spinach/collard greens it still irks me. What irks me more, though, is gritty dirt in my greens, so I soldier on…
- Breaking up ground meat in a skillet as it’s browning. Puh-leeze. I have better things to do. But, once again, I dislike turning out a meal that is sub-par, and so I continue to break the stuff into fabulously even little meaty bits.
- Losing count when I’m measuring flour. ‘Aw, geeze. Was I on 12 cups or 13?’ Can you feel my pain?
- Peeling rutabagas. If you’re not a Yooper or a pasty (pronounced pass-tee… Pase-tees are things that you stick on your, er, never mind) lover this may not affect you quite as profoundly as it does those of us who peel the recalcitrant little beasties weekly. I swear the things try to jump off of my cutting board.
- Cleaning leeks (see the ‘washing leafy greens’ entry above.)
- Cleaning bacon grease. But oh, how I love bacon. I can only save so much grease, though, and the rest has to go somewhere. Has anyone else melted a hole in their garbage bag when trying to be rid of bacon grease too hastily? Please can someone else admit they’ve done this?
- Throwing away things that weren’t eaten in time. Oh, this really, really chaps my hide. I have an immensely hard time throwing away food. This is why we started our Second Tuesdays Déjà Food Event. Food waste bothers me because it is so unnecessary if I plan properly.
(QUICK REMINDER: You have one more day to get your submissions in for this event. Prizes, prizes, prizes. Is that bribery? How ’bout I beg? Is that more effective?)
All of this griping does lead to a point. I’m curious. What are the things that really annoy you in the kitchen? Does you share any quirks with me on this or is your list totally different? I’m itching to know!
Colleen- Ack! I’d have to throttle him. The man needs to EAT those veggies!
thehungryengineer-We are also at-home eaters. The reason is twofold. 1: We have a lot of mouths to feed and it’s much more economical to do that at home. 2: I know how I like food so sometimes it’s just easiest to prepare it myself. I don’t mind the dishes, per se. But I do hate doing the pots and pans. When we started our interior re-do (bought an Amish house sans electric, septic, plumbing, modern amenities) we installed a commercial 2-bay sink with double drainboards. That takes most of the pain out of the process.
I’m definitely with Maggie on the dish washing hatred.
We too eat most of our meals at home, and I’m constantly experimenting in the kitchen, so yeah, they accumulate quickly. Plus since I hate washing dishes, I let ’em pile up before I finally wash them, and all those messy dishes make me not want to cook :-/
(That said, food waste may be my next biggest annoyance)
(also, i loved the gollum reference 🙂 )
my husband’s philosophy on vegetables. Here is how my husband thinks of vegetables:
1. Go out to the farmers market and buy nice fresh ones. Decorate fridge with them.
2. Walk by them every day in the fridge for a week. Don’t even think about chopping, peeling, cooking or eating the vegetables. Make a cheese sandwidge and eat some jerky.
3. Whoa look at that slime at the bottom of the crispy drawer.
4. Clean up the vegetable drawer.
5. Go back to step 1 and repeat.
Jen- I hear you on the garbage can. Sigh.
Melissa- Love right back atcha for realizing that was Gollum. And I agree on the shrimp deveining. Ick. I used to have to do hotel pans FULL when I was cooking for a living. Double ick.
ECM- I think hatred of cleaning in any form counts. You hate rolling pins? Hmmm… I think that there are some things I hate using them for (i.e. pastry crust) but other things I don’t mind (i.e. croissant dough, etc…) I like threatening people with mine. 🙂
…And we all came through last week with no trauma! I think I deserve something for that. Like a new Unicorn Magnum Plus Peppergrinder (just for instance in case my husband is reading this…)
evil chef mom says
hmm… what bugs me. does cleaning the fridge and oven count? oh, everyone hates doing that.
i’ve done the bacon grease thing in the garbage too.
losing count of the cups of flour is another peeve we share.
using a rolling pin.
i think that’s all. you did all that? with kids? and they survived?
Andrew- You’re so right about the dishwasher. Someone, of young age, whose chore it is to empty the dishwasher is adept at the “fake ending”. “Are you done with the dishwasher,” says I? “Yes, Mom,” says the child while closing the dishwasher decisively. When I open it up half an hour later with a fistfull of grimy dishes it is not unusual for me to find one empty tray and one full one. Usually the full one is on the bottom and I don’t notice it ’till I’ve dumped something nasty over the top. Sigh.
WORC- My dogs occasionally test their lifetime ban from the kitchen. The trouble is that Hambone is huge (Bluetick Coonhound of massive proportions) and gets in the way merely by being present. Plus he stands behind me and belches. Ewww. Diggedy’s trouble is that he’s stealthy and low to the ground (very short, very round Beagle) and I don’t usually realize he’s there until I’ve tripped over him or stepped on him and made him yelp bloody murder.
White On Rice Couple says
Oh goodness, you are a SUPERHUMAN SUPER Mom! I can’t imagine canning 50 QUARTS?! of pickles, let alon catering an event for 50 people ! Then bringing the kids along. Gosh, you are just amazing!
What makes me tick in the kitchen are my dogs camping out in the kitchen when I cook. Not only is it not safe, it’s annoying to turn around and see a big dog stare at me. They just love the smell of the food!
BTW- Maybe you can help us. We’re catering our first event, but don’t know what to charge. Any advice for us?
You hit the nail on the head with both the bacon grease and the having food that isn’t eaten in time. I’ve been trying to be better about not overbuying. What I hate the most, aside from cleaning up, is when I go to clean up only to discover that the dishwasher is still full of clean dishes. AH!
Also, if I break a fried egg or it sticks to the pan, I’ll occaisonally send the spatula flying.
“(I hates the laundry. Wicked. Tricksy. It increases when no one is looking.)”
You imitating Gollum just made me love you twice as much as before. 😛
I don’t know about what bugs me in the kitchen. I can tell you there are certain nights though that just mincing garlic/dicing onion seems like an incredibly boring chore. Like it actually takes me mental effort to get up and get started cause I don’t want to deal with it.
And I can’t say I’m a big fan of deveining shrimp. I can’t think of anything else right now.
Well Becky, I hate all types of cleaning, home or food! So I’d have to admit I agree with you on every point. Now for the melting the garbage bag….yup, I’ve done that…lets just say a couple of times. It is very hard to clean your garbage can…there is that nasty word clean again.
Maggie- Cousin Jennies, Mmmmmmmmm. I love to eat there when I go visit my family out in Benzie County. I have to say, though, that my favorite all-time pasties are my Grandma’s. She used to make literally thousands of them for fundraisers in Baraga County (da U.P.) I think, despite summer weather, that I feel an insatiable pasty craving coming on…
I used to be in the dish-hating camp but we finally got a dishwasher and I’m pretty psyched about it. I hate laundry WAY more than dishes, but I know what you mean about the hand-washing! We also rarely eat out and my husband also works from home regularly. The dishwasher gets more of a workout here than in most homes. I was thinking of getting one of those big industrial spray jobbies the next time I see a restaurant going out of biz.
I hate, hate, hate doing dishes! Since we so rarely eat out and my husband works at home, we produce a ton of dishes. I never seem to be able to catch up and there are always dishes waiting to be washed in the sink. My dislike increases exponentially when it comes to hand washing.
#3 I feel your pain.
#4 Mmm pasties, I love the veggie ones from Cousin Jennies in Traverse City, MI. They have blobs of cream cheese mixed with cheddar mixed in with the vegetables and they have excellent pastry.
#6 and #7 These usually aren’t a problem for us. Dogs are excellent garbage disposals.