Saturday, March 6, 2010

Kitchen: Unplugged.

Back home my kitchen was well equipped with pots and pans in every size and shape imaginable.  Small appliances for mixing and blending, slicing and chopping were always at arms length.  My rice steamer, slow cooker and toaster oven held permanent residence on my countertop.  Every drawer held an overabundance of measuring spoons and cups, flatware, serving utensils and a plethora of other random kitchen gadgets.  I had plates and bowls for every meal and any occasion.  Now, here in my Island kitchen, inventory consists of three wooden spoons, a whisk, a 2L measuring cup and an oven that has two settings; ON or OFF.

Ok, it's not really THAT bad.  In fact, with the help of a my less equipped kitchen, I find myself fully reconnecting with my love for cooking.   I've learned to measure by weight (if I even measure at all) using my wall mounted scale.  My knife skills are consistently improving and I've finally mastered the art of rice.  I am far more familiar with the behaviours of ingredients and, being blessed with an inbuilt gas stovetop, regularly practice the art of  saut√©, simmer and stir.

It's amazing how a change of environment can completely alter your perception.  What I once considered mandatory (or at least extremely helpful) suddenly seemed not only unnecessary, but also inhibiting.  I began to wonder how much time had I actually wasted assembling blades and unraveling cords, rushing around looking for the right size spoon or trying to find a funnel at the back of a drawer.  Now I see that the real convenience comes from taking out one sharp knife and a cutting board, rinsing as necessary. 

Here in my unplugged kitchen I make better dishes in far less time.  I leisurely enjoy my meal rather than dreading the the trail of mess left of my preparatory wake and the stack of dirty dishes soaking in the sink.  I have developed a deeper understanding of the process and greater appreciation for the product.  It's a sense of satisfaction that will never be measurable in cups.

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