Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kristen's Kitchen Chronicles

photo credit here

My kitchen isn't nearly this pretty. It's also falling down around my ears all of a sudden. But I am woman enough to tackle it, sort of. First the dishwasher went. It wasn't working perfectly, the soap trap not always opening during the wash cycle, but it was mostly working. Until the day it wouldn't turn on. Not even one reassuring blue light on the control panel as it at least *tried* to work. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. So after many days of washing dishes by hand, which I find to be an oddly soothing chore (as long as they aren't too disgustingly dirty), I finally talked to a repair man. His first question? Did we check the circuit breaker to mke sure it hadn't tripped? Well, of course we did. I'm not the world's biggest nincompoop. Well, did I check to make sure the outlet that feeds it power was on? Wait! An outlet to the dishwasher? Seriously? Ok, apparently I am not the biggest nincompoop in the world but I'm second tier stupid. Switch located and flipped on, dishwasher is working again. Color me embarrassed and also thankful that the repair man diagnosed my idiocy over the phone so I didn't have to pay a service fee.

Dishes gleaming and no longer sporting dishpan hands, I smugly buzzed around my kitchen using all my assorted and much loved appliances again. And then the garbage disposal quit working. After I had shoved epic quantities of orange rind and tomato seeds down it, of course. No grinding, just a sad and sick sounding hum wavered out of its maw (probably much muted by the slimy muck now slowly rotting in it--hey all cautions say not to reach into the disposal and I wasn't interested in fishing it out and slopping it into the garbage). Now, being a garbage disposal problem veteran, I immediately dropped to my stomach and pressed the handy dandy red reset button on its underside. Didn't help. And that was the end of my garbage disposal fix-it knowledge. Not wanting to get laughed at by another repair man though, I did some poking around on the internet and discovered exactly where to shove that disposal key that gets shuffled unused into the back corner of the cabinet under the sink in every house we've ever owned. After removing the cutting boards from the cabinet (yes, they knocked over and crashed into my head before I had the bright idea to remove them), I was once again on my stomach under the sink, this time turning the handy dandy key to dislodge whatever was causing such problems. Eventually it was unstuck, water was run and the problem was fixed. I am woman, hear me roar! (An optimistic note for anyone else with a stopped and stopped up garbage disposal: when the water drains out of the sink so slowly--and it will, you will still have enough soapy water left in said sink to wash the stray glass or plate you find hours later. Saves on running another sink full of soapy water. Of course, you could also just toss said article in the now working dishwasher too, but I was trying to look on the bright side.)

It's not just appliances killing me in the kitchen lately though. I was cooking up a storm for book club the other day. I really enjoy cooking but I am a bit scatter-brained. Now I've gotten more adventurous about not measuring everything exactly but when baking as opposed to cooking, well, it's best to follow a recipe to a T or risk producing bricks and hockey pucks, neither of which is particularly appetizing. So I was makig scones. This is a recipe I've made before. I know it works; it's easy; and it turns out tasty results. Then again, with enough butter, anything will be wonderful. (Is it any wonder I have a weight problem?!) There I stood, having assembled various other appetizers, throwing the scone ingredients together. But then I made a fatal mistake. I threw in 2 tsp. of baking soda instead of baking power. Now the recipe did call for 1/2 tsp. baking soda so it wasn't a total loss but since it would have been all but impossible to fish out the extra 1 1/2 tsp. I decided to just multiply all the ingredients by 4 and call it good. Even with poor math skills, this actually worked and the scones were a huge hit. Multiple people asked for the recipe. But I have about 4 dozen scones left after the night was over. Here's hoping the freezer isn't the next appliance to go on the fritz because I'm about to pack it to the eyeballs with cranberry scones.

As if the scone over-population problem wasn't enough, as I went around cleaning up after book club left, I noticed that I had made the bacon and tomato tart by the recipe but had completely neglected to put the Swiss cheese on it. No wonder it tasted like it was lacking a little something. Apparently I'm a reader but not a recipe reader. Then I went to put away the half drunk bottle of wine. I personally am not a wine drinker. I buy it by the pretty labels. But I know a half drunk botte of red stays on the counter and a half drunk bottle of white goes back in the fridge. Now my fridge (still working as of this posting) is not configured to suit me. And I can't take shelves and stuff out to re-do it better because I need all the shelves so I can store things long past their expiration dates and observe the cool colors of mold you can grow on perfectly common former foodstuffs. So this fridge doesn't have enough tall spaces in it to stuff big things like milk jugs and wine bottles. They have to live in the door. And yes, I know milk shouldn't be in the door but as it lasts all of 6 nanoseconds with my growing children, I don't worry my pretty head too much about it. But the door was crammed so I took the wine bottle, cork firmly stuffed back in its neck, and slid it onto a shelf on its side. Big mistake. Did you know that cork screws sometimes go all the way through the cork, thereby creating a little spigot so you can have a nice, fancy wine-fountain cascading from shelf to shelf in the fridge? Yeah, it was news to me too. Twelve trillion scones, a cheeseless tart, and a leaking wine bottle. All in a day's kitchen work for me. I don't think I'll be earning any Michelin stars in my kitchen any time soon. On the other hand, I might hang out my shingle as a garbage disposal repair goddess. At the very least, it's going on my resume.

This post was written as a part of Beth Fish Read's Weekend Cooking meme in which I contribute very sporadically. Feel free to join in or just to surf through other folks' contributions. They seem more competent in kitchen matters than I do.


  1. I would kill for a kitchen that looks like

  2. It sounds like your adventures really didn't turn out too badly. And thanks for reminding me I should figure out where that disposal key is...

  3. Don;t you just love housework, though? I don't like ti much but it always makes me feel better when I've done a good job of it!

    Book Dilettante

  4. LOL! Despite everything, it sounds like you're still on the winning side of things. Loved this post.

  5. What a great post! Love your repairman story... I called one for the garbage disposal a couple years ago - who knew about that reset button??


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