Foodie Tuesday: What’s *Not* in My Kitchen

I don’t mind simple foods, simply prepared, and I’ve had plenty of pit-roasted and wood-stove cooking that was far better than merely edible. Sometimes there is nothing more delicious than the freshly caught fish grilled over an open fire or fried at lakeside in a worn and well-seasoned cast iron skillet. The smoky goodness of things cooked with live coals is sometimes so far superior to what I could conjure out of a high-tech kitchen with the pallid assistance of bottled liquid smoke (no matter how genuine and unprocessed that might be) that I would rather wait months for the proper weather and occasion to arise.
Photo: Chuckwagon Cookery

But I ain’t no chuckwagon Cookie, if you know what I mean. I was never fond of ‘roughing it’ in the sense of being outdoorsy and happy to labor over the building of my kitchen kit before I can even bother to lug buckets of water up from the stream to have on hand for stifling the coals at need. I haven’t the skills or the desire to do my own butchering, and I barely know a chanterelle from an Amanita, if left to forage anywhere wilder than my own pantry and the grocery aisles.
Photo: Chuckwagon Cookery 2

So my kitchen doesn’t sport the assortment of enameled camp cookware and the range of well-weathered cast iron pots and dutch ovens required for real down-to-earth preparation of meals. I don’t even have a clue what I’d do, short of going out in the backyard and having a go at such prairie wizardry, if I were faced with any of the old-school stoves and ovens that my ancestors and predecessors considered modern conveniences in their day. To cook with a wood stove, no matter how much I may have admired others’ mastery of it and the fantastic foods they’ve produced from such contraptions, is beyond my ken and requires subtleties of understanding how recipes and food science converge that I never learned. Even the electric ranges of earlier days have mystical mystery about them that would scare me right off to the local fast food joint for succor. And yes, I’d want fries with that.
Digital illustration from a photo: The Old Swedish Stove

In truth, I am a very limited and unskilled preparer of foods. I have a small palette of familiar ingredients upon which I rely, because I don’t have a clue what to do with many others that will make them safe for human consumption, let alone palatable. I have little patience for the suave or the grandiose in recipes, those techniques and tricks that require grace and keen senses and molecular understanding of the ingredients at play. I’m a reasonably willing eater of new foods and preparations, but not much for trying to make them myself, especially if I think anyone smarter and more experienced is available and willing to fix said dishes in my stead. The exception is mainly to be found in instances when real cooks let me play at being their sous chef without requiring better brains, knowledge of ingredients, or knife skills than I can offer.
Photo: Vintage Cooker

What I do have in my kitchen, most of the time, is fun, and enough decent eating to keep me (and anyone else on hand) from going hungry for long. Thankfully, I do live in a place with good grocery stores close at hand, family and friends to share meals and their preparation, and a kitchen full of my idea of modern conveniences. And if the ovens I got with the purchase of the house have outlived their peak performance by a fair distance and the only mixer I’ve owned for the last couple of decades is a wire whisk or fork, it sure isn’t the same as having to shovel up hard Texas clay to make room for my hand-split mesquite hardwood or having to figure out if those fruits gleaming at me from over there are the euphoniously named Farkleberry or are the similar looking but highly toxic Chinese Privet, so I don’t have to dig a privy, too, in a hurry.

8 thoughts on “Foodie Tuesday: What’s *Not* in My Kitchen

  1. Farkleberry, almost sounds like something the faeries would eat. Farkleberry, farkleberry, that which makes you sparkle very..hehehe..
    I am sure you are an excellent cook, Kathryn! And I think it takes more talent to cook with a limited palette!

    • *Nice* poem, darling!!! How can you not skip around laughing and doing somersaults while saying a word like that!!!

      Maybe the limited-palette cooking is a little like why I enjoy renovation as much as a new design/build—it’s a whole different kind of problem-solving puzzle fun to work within the limits of such confinement.


  2. You are so funny, Kathryn! While reading this, I’m thinking to myself, yep, that’s me, yep, me again…so many similarities in our cooking experience and desires. I don’t love to cook. I do it because no one else is going to make dinner. My hubby isn’t a cook, but he can heat up soup, bake a potato, make a salad. And my kids have helped me, but I’m it. It’s normally my role, so I do it to prevent anyone from starving around here. 🙂
    I do love to bake, however, but we can’t or shouldn’t live on baked goods alone. 🙂 Back to cooking, I’m actually burning out on what to make. Every so often, I get in a rut, making the same things, so I’m trying to step out of that rut box and make different recipes. But, like you, I don’t have patience for long, detailed dinner recipes. Make it simple and I’ll try it. xo

    • Now that we have a housemate for a couple of months, it’s fun to get into the kitchen with just a slightly different perspective than my usual, so it’ll be interesting to discover where that takes me.

      I’m not surprised that we have such similar approaches in the kitchen, since we seem to in so many other ways! ❤

  3. I’m a simple cook only in the fact I use very few appliances to make my meals. Why? I HATE doing dishes! Ha!

    • Funny lady. I’m not particularly fond of dishwashing, either, but thanks to a spate of cookery (mostly slow-cooker cookery, to be exact) in the last few days I’ve found myself doing endless dishes both by hand and by machine! Joke’s on me!!! However, I got something out of it all, too, so I guess it’s worth gearing up and doing it once in a while. 😉

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