Kitchen unconfidential

Crossposted from

Currently working on: Juggling
Mood: Cue circus music

This week at Silk And Shadows, we’re leaving our cozy writing lofts and exploring that other holy mecca of the working writer — the place from whence all snacks spring: the kitchen.

I live with a professional cook. Before you decide to hate me, consider these repercussions of living with a professional cook:

  • Professional cooks believe they are followed sometime shortly after closing by a professional cleaning crew
  • Professional cooks use a lot of spoons — I mean a LOT of spoons, an insane number of spoons, a ludicrous and baffling number of spoons, more spoons than you will ever, ever own
  • Professionals are not to be questioned on their home surf’n’turf (even if you don’t like, have never liked, and WILL never like peas)
  • Professional cooks believe that amateurs shouldn’t play with knives (this despite the fact that if my cook ever develops alien hand syndrome and is murdered in his sleep by his left hand — he wields his knife right-handed — his left hand will walk on a self-defense/PTSD plea; yes, it has that many scars)

Despite these occasionally troubling aspects of living with a professional cook, I will STFU already because without him, I would starve.

My mother is a wonderful cook and fed me through high school. (Thanks, Mom!) I don’t remember eating anything after I left my college dorm. No wait, I think I had a hot dog once. My semester in Moscow, after my imported peanut butter ran out, I survived on bread and honey alternating with Georgian cheese bread. By the time I got to my first apartment by myself, I filled one cabinet with nacho chips and the other with brownie mix: for, you know, dinner and dessert.

So to say my live-in professional cook’s kitchen craft confounds me is to speak with severe underemphasis. He can make all three stove burners, the oven AND the toaster oven yield up completed — and completely heated — dishes at the exact same time. Crazy, yo.

My minimalist impression of cooking is to melt the chocolate chips before pouring them over the brownies. When I’m feeling wild, I melt the choco chips with butter. I call that my French method.

Despite my incompetence in the kitchen, I do have a favorite kitchen implement:

spatula loveThe spatula.

You can tell spatulas are my favorite because the one on the left is still dirty from my last batch of brownies. (The remains of the French method chocolate is in the skillet on the stove.) Well, maybe you can’t tell it’s dirty because I licked it clean. But trust me, spatulas are my favorite.

Not only is “spatula” a hilarious word to say repeatedly, the spatula is also often the only kitchen implement available to you when a professional cook has stolen all the spoons and forbidden you from using the knives.

(Warning: Extreme tangent and whine. My cook broke the tip off his best cleaver in a futile attempt to assassinate a mole that was uprooting our garden. But I’m the one not allowed to use the kitchen knives. Does this seem fair to you?)

Not only are spatulas the one reasonable way to lift a giant chunk of frosted brownie from the pan to your mouth (okay, fine, a plate) but a spatula can also be used as a spoon (should all your other spoons be mysteriously missing). The edge of a spatula even makes a passable knife (should you be hollered at whenever you touch real knives). Spatulas are frequently slotted (middle and right spatulas pictured above) and can be used to drain mac’n’chez or ramen noodles for those meals that aren’t coated in melted chocolate.

Spatulas are undeniably the best.

[Updated: I’ve been informed that the spatula pictured on the right isn’t actually a cute mini spatula but one half of a salad tosser. Who knew?]

So do you consider yourself a kitchen klutz or a kitchen craftsman? If you’re not sure, the answer may be related to the number of times you’ve bloodied your knuckles on the cheese grater. Or do you think the immersion blender is more dangerous?



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