Into the fire.

February 21, 2010

“Why did you give me all the decent knives?’

“Because you are the one who cooks?” I responded.

Joel moved out in January to a studio four blocks away, allowing us to share cab rides on the few occasions we cannot walk to a destination, like tonight when we attend a dinner for Portland Opera. Of the six plus tons of things in my flat, he chose only to take his computer, printer, some clothes (Portland is very casual. Suits, ties, shirts and dress shoes remain in our closet), a French press and “his” frying pan.

When I was first single I baked soufflés in my Center Plaza studio in Tulsa. My kitchen had two, divided, feet of counter space, no dishwasher and doubled as the entry hall. Those were the days when I rewarded myself for finishing a CPA exam review module with a purchase from William-Sonoma and a dance around the place to Marley’s “Jammin’.”

When did I stop cooking? Mid-90’s. Why? A writing gig with long-distance, evening interviews. Joel’s not the type to complain or sit moping, waiting for someone to cook for him. He discovered new talents; as I earned the family extra money tap, tap, tapping away on the computer, writing advertorials, pitching editorial. It was during the days when those of us with a home office enjoyed the benefits and challenges but had to pretend to be in a “real office.” Many such efforts were foiled when Clay and his friends forgot to close the bathroom door, regularly bungee jumped off the grand piano, slammed the back door and never paused to think a professional colleague wouldn’t bellow “MOM!” from the next cubical. I think I still have a note Clay slide under my office door that read, “Sorry for swearing so loudly! I love you. Clay.”  I know some of you have lived through this experience.

Ten years later it would be Clay who would walk into my office to say, “I have a friend over. Please knock and wait for me to answer my bedroom door.” Cool.  Back to cooking.

My Valentine’s gift from Joel arrived yesterday. This morning I bounded out of bed, eager to take its marvelously sculptured metal body with stainless accents for a test drive in the kitchen. Serious business that the perfect fry pan is, I even read some of the owner’s manual before firing up the stove.

To say it performed like greased lighting is misleading. Beauty of it is, no grease, butter, olive oil, high-flash point grape seed oil…none of that, is required for my flying pan to produce perfect eggs that slip onto the plate. My Danish Scanpan* Ceramic Titanium 8” Professional Poele (Fry Pan) is inspired and cleans up in a snap (best “done while the pan is still warm”). Every kitchen should have one. Shop today at http://www.scanpancookware.com/

On my next visit to the kitchen I am going to edit the spice collection to Martha Stewart guidelines. Past a year spices & pantry items lose their desired flavors.  I’ll also make time today to buy frozen shrimp, a staple suggested for a quick meal by Chef Ellie Krieger and my Tulsa roommate, New Orleans native Judith. I figure by Mother’s Day I’ll be dropping hints about wanting a microplane grater. For now, I am taking myself to lunch at Lovejoy Bakery. Best I keep cooking a bit of a novelty, don’t you agree?  In the meantime, please write and tell me what other kitchen “essentials” I should stock.

Enjoy your Sunday! Trix

*Chefscatalog.com writes, “On the forefront of cookware technology, this Danish company uses a patented ceramic titanium nonstick process to craft pots and pans that not only offer foolproof release, but also sear, brown, deglaze and make sauces. The incredibly smooth nonstick surface stands up to years of everyday service. Made with extra-thick pressure cast aluminum for excellent heat distribution, Scanpan classic cookware provides outstanding heat retention without hot spots. Tempered glass lids let you monitor the cooking process. Stainless-steel rims surround the glass lids and phenolic stay-cool handles, adding to the durability. PFOA-free.


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