Monday, March 16, 2009

A new fangled day

As my faithful readers know, I was a reasonable cook in my youth, but then Rebecca became the queen of the kitchen, and I took a twenty year hiatus from culinary pursuits. During that time, the food world seemed to have changed. There are new concepts, new foods, and new equipment. There seems to be many food items in common use which I have no idea about. “Is that a meat or a vegetable?” I think as I read the food page. Rebecca prepared very different things than I had used to make, and so my tastes changed as well. Now I am often at a bit of a loss. I think of the yummy squash or beets she made and haven’t a clue where to start. She persuaded me to try out a pressure cooker despite my terror. “Lookit!” she said as we were passing a cooking store. “There is a big sale on pressure cookers! Let’s get you one.” So we did. I girded my loins (query: do girls have loins?) and Tom and I bearded the pressure cooker in its den, and now I am fairly comfortable with it. She got me a new-fangled can opener. This defied Tom for weeks, and me for months. Finally I grasped its use. In a totally non-intuitive way, the opener goes on parallel with the top. The first picture is how a normal can opener works. The second is how this one works. The little tooth-like things that appear to have something to do with opening the can actually have nothing to do with it. They are there to confuse you. The amazing thing about this can opener is that when you have finally mastered its arcane use, you get a little lid which can be put back on the can – and a lid with no razor sharp edge with which to cut your thumb. This is what the little teeth are for – to remove the lid once the can is opened. (Third picture) So this weekend, I made a dinner from both worlds. I used the pressure cooker and my modern can opener to make a Brazilian rice and bean dinner from that antique tome, Diet from a Small Planet. The recipe said to cook the beans two to three hours, but the pressure cooker did them in twelve minutes! There is something to be said for modern times.


FugueStateKnits said...

Joanna - I gotta tell ya, it's hard to read your blog right before I'm about to make dinner! (talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous, LOL!!!)
Looks yummy!
Are you all vegetarians? If so, you do it well!
Take care,
Joan aka FSK

joannamauselina said...

My cooking is pretty ridiculous most of the time. Yes, we are all vegetarians, (and have been for nearly 40 years) but recently Rebecca and Rachael have become vegans. That is too extreme for me. I eat eggs and drink milk.

Samos said...

I'm still very fond of using my "new" Swing-A-Way can opener (which is just like the one I used as a kid, only new and not rusted). Suddenly, however, I feel the need to buy a pressure cooker!!! BTW, my newest kitchen gadjet (that I've now spent 2 or 3 hundred dollars on), are my new OXO stacking airtight canasters. Now all of my flour, sugar, coconut flakes, etc., are very neatly organized and easy to access (see and click on food storage). Unlike other airtight containers, their lids come off with just a push of the big button on top.

rebecca said...

What's that cake? Gingerbread?

joannamauselina said...

It's the gingerbread that Ana brought. Très yummy!