My Place is In The Kitchen

Nearly everyone has a recipe or two that they love to make.  I have a few that I have perfected over the years.  So does my wife.  We also love trying new recipes.

I am a master at making schnitzel.  I’m also one of the best at BBQing pork.  Not to mention how great I am at deep frying.  But breakfast is my specialty. Omelettes, waffles, pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs…  Almost alway perfect for starting the day off right. All of this is thanks to my father.

Every Sunday after my father finished watching golf on tv- cooking shows would go on. PBS was a staple on our family room television every weekend. I learned how to cook through osmosis by just being in the room listening to the chefs explain food preparation while I played Legos or Transformers. My father would often be upset at me for not wanting to help him in the kitchen. I tried, but he had a quick temper and very little patience for teaching.

Yesterday while cleaning out our kitchen cupboards, my wife discovered two of my fathers old kitchen appliances. I have kept them for over 17 years with an intention of using them one day. My father had an electric meat grinder he bought back in 1983. (I’m pretty sure it was from the days of when he owned a deli.) This machine was only used a handful of times and is in near pristine condition. The other is a pasta maker from the 90’s that was only ever used twice to my knowledge.

But my favorite machine of my father’s is his old Kitchen Aid mixer. This is from the mid 80’s and cost about $450 back then! (Today’s dollars would be like $1025- good thing the mixers are usually about $299 at Christmas if anyone wants one.) I remember being with my mother when she bought it for him. When I inherited it back in early 2001- I quickly went out and bought every attachment available. Kitchen Aid has never changed and this has made for an extremely durable and valuable piece of equipment. Of course, I “vandal-eyezed” it a couple years back to give it a personal touch.

Perhaps if my father knew that I became pretty good in the kitchen- he’d have been proud. Heck, I’ve even improved his old recipes over the years. Cooking is a skill that I feel everyone should have. I’m now looking into cooking classes for our oldest child (and possibly me) at the local food specialty stores.

I love to cook. But they say you can’t trust a skinny chef…

Grilling on a Long Weekend 

This weekend is Canada’s 150th Birthday. So naturally people have a long weekend planned.  Either today or Monday off.  I’m planning on enjoying the time with my family tomorrow during the day.  An old friend of mine will be visiting in the evening for dinner.  Pretty subdued and relaxed. My favorite part of the weekends in the summer? We are going to BBQ!  

I forgot to Instagram my dinner tonight.

Smart shopping and preparing meals is another aspect of my father that I took away from him.  Sure, when I was younger I just wanted to take off instead of help.  But I did learn a lot about being a savvy shopper when it come to meat.  I learned to buy in larger quantities and separate the meat into meals.  Today I bought some grilling steaks and divided them into three meals for the five of us.  As I trimmed the fat off the meat, I remember clearly my father explaining the easiest way to do this to avoid waste.  

I also recall late afternoons on weekends, my father would come home from his morning golf game and we would watch PBS.  Sometimes it was “This Old House” or “Fawlty Towers”, usually it was “The Frugal Gourmet”.  I would sit on the floor and play with my Transformers or Lego and the show would be on as background noise. The room we had was segregated from the kitchen with a half wall. When cooking at the stove, you would face the tv.  My father would be in the kitchen preparing our weekend meal and talk to no one in particular about “what a good idea” when he saw something on the tv.

Maybe it was subconscious.  Maybe I took my father’s acknowledgement of the show as intelligent.  Whatever it was, I have become a great chef in our home.  I can make some of the most flavorful meals around with some of the simplest ingredients.  I love experimenting with foods and spices.  Not to mention accompanying sides.  This summer, I look forward to all of the meals that we can cook and enjoy outside.  Hopefully I can convince our children to help out.  Maybe they could learn a thing or two.  Sort of how I did- even without my father being aware of it.