Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not A Cook's Kitchen

That was a line I recently read in a book and it immediately brought to mind my little area of food paradise. Would one refer to it as "Not a cook's kitchen"? There is nothing so energizing about cleaning a kitchen as pointing a camera into its dark places. A critical eye will notice I do not have any gadgets. Except a microwave. My stove is old and on its last leg. This is so disappointing because six months prior to leaving FW I bought a new gas stove. I prefer to cook on/with gas. Even though there is always the chance of asphyxiation from loosely connected lines. (I knew I kept catching a whiff of gas every so often in the house, but Joe told me I was just imagining things!)

My stove is not so bad if it is put beside the winner of the Food Channel Chicken Cook-off. I knew she was going to win when they showed her stirring the pot in her tiny space on her lopsided stove in Bloomington, Indiana. Besides the Hoosier bit, anyone that can balance a skillet on a appliance that gives the impression that an earthquake in happening right outside her window is a real champ.

I am cooking a pot of sauce/gravy for a spaghetti lasagna. My Sis is having a bit of a

crisis in her husbands family and I thought it would be the least I could do to help her out. And, my daughter is staying with me, maybe only tonight, as she has her wisdom teeth extracted today and the Doc said she could have spaghetti.

I am very happy when in the kitchen. I hate to clean up, but that is why God gave us dishwashers. I use to resist a dishwasher thinking it was a flagrant waste of precious water. But, after spending a Spring break in a condo being the maid for three people, including two teenagers(!) I broke and feel in love. Not only does it wash the dishes, it is a good place to hide them, unlike the sink where the pile up smacks of slovenly and lazy behavior.

What do you think determines a Cooks Kitchen? Duel stoves, a warming oven, two refrigerators, expensive appliances? Or, a well stocked pantry? (I could not believe that I did not have spaghetti in my cupboard, two boxes of linguine, two boxes of lasagna noodles and a box of macaroni was it. Finally, about 50 stands of angel hair! Help!!)

Once I was requested to bring a casserole to a family dinner. I did not manager my time and found myself aghast as I frantically clawed through my freezer to discover I did not have the required boxes of spinach for my famous souffle!! With an act of genius inspired with no time to make a trip to the grocery store, I whipped together a now much praised and copied Spanish green bean casserole. I may post it here someday...someday I remember all the ingredients again!

My Mother tells me that is the way her Mother was. She would fling a handful of this and a pinch of that and could never tell you, never be able to give you the correct amounts that made that soda bread. That rhubarb pie.

I hate that pie and always thought my Mom was mistaken about my Grandmothers abilities in the kitchen.

After all that cooking, it's nice to look out the window as rinsing the dishes for the washer. Poor roses, only buds escape the Jap Beetles these days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It was a Hot and Steamy Night

I never forgot, all those years living away from Louisville, about the summer Catholic Festivals. They are the absolute best and more fun than one would think. First of all, there is the cake booth. How can it get any better than winning a delicious confection made by a church lady covered in colored coconut. Yum yum. And what if it cost $10 to finally win? It goes for a good cause. And it's tax deducible...maybe, that is if you do creative tax reporting. Next there is the beer booth. Thank God Almighty, because it was 96 degrees during the day and not much relief at night. The beer went down easy.

And last of all, the gambling. This is not your Grandmothers gambling of yesteryear. No longer are there long lean tables of bingo cards and hard corn markers scattered about under the glow of dangling yellow lights. No, now it is "Beat the Dealer" (which I kind of still do not understand) and it is a form of craps played with over sized dice that somehow are fixed in favor of the house! I played with $10 and it was up and down for about 45 minutes and I left with one measly dollar still in my hot hand.

Or not so hot hand

Truly amazing was the wheel that had different colored horses, 1 through 10, that you could bet on up to $1.00 by choosing the winning number horse. If per chance your horse came in, the odds were paid by the number designated by the lip thingee. (can you tell I am not a gambler?) much like baseball cards we once attached to our bicycle wheels to get that sweet summer sound.

It was very hot and we sweated a lot. After dropping a lot of money, drinking several beers, and not winning a cake we dragged our sorry selves back to the car and headed to a pizza joint.

Because we were hungry.

Every week end there is a similar summer festival. But, lurking somewhere in the not too far away future, in the month of August is the grand daddy of them all The St. Joseph Orphan's Picnic.

I'm saving up my money right now, because you never know, $10 chance could win you a Mustang.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Place #3

A Movie House! Any Movie House!

I remember the first movie I attended in my small home town. (Didn't everyone have a small movie theater in their home towns back in the 50's and 60's?) Our movie house, called The Bacon was located on the street that entered the heart of downtown. At the time we lived on Broadway which was only a quick walk away. It must have been the week-end, and the movie was Tom Sawyer (or some adaptation of the movie). One particular part of the movie scared me to death! I was only five years old and mortified that my four and three year old brothers were unaffected by the horror of scary life on a raft! My father walked me home. The walk of shame. That quick walk, a mere two block became the longest walk of my short life.

The Bacon is an icon for all of us who grew up in Smalltown, KY. Saturday afternoon all of us kids, and I mean all of us, would flock to the theater and plunk down our 25 cents for the matinee, a double feature with a cartoon. A bag of popcorn and a small coke, add another 15 cents. Being the era of segregation, the black kids sat in the balcony, which I though was so unfair! I wanted to sit up there with a driving passion!

At times we had to go into into the Big City for our Saturday afternoon fixes. There were three movie houses in the downtown area of Lexington! (only one remains today). It was our great joy that Dad loved going to the movies with us. Talking him into driving us the 12 miles into Lexington and then enduring a movie was easy.

It was, I think (researching in IMDb) The Magic Sword, (1962). There is this one scene where the guy comes our of the cave and the sun hits his skin and his skin begins to turn into ulcers and sores and I leave the theater....again. There was no walking home this time, and I waited outside the theater.....with Dad, while my blood thirsty brothers, which may have included my three year old bro too(!), finished watching the atrocity on the screen. (which is really funny when I read the only review and understand how hokey it really was).

Can you tell I have never been a fan of the horror genre?

During the 1980's when Bridget was little, every Saturday afternoon we went to the Dollar Theater in J-town. They carried on the tradition of having family friendly films showing weekly. I love the memory of Bridget climbing into my lap and watching the films.

Can you believe there is a Dollar Movie within a mile of our house right now? Such a lovely place to escape the heat, settle down in the well worn seats, the tiny thrill when the lights fade to dark and then....and then, a movie! Nothing compares to seeing a film on the big screen in the dark, with a bag of popcorn.

I find myself seeking the comfort of films to cure most everything, at least for a short time. Loneliness, sadness, frustration, boredom......

Good therapy for just one buck.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

As you may know, I have to get back into the working world. It is no longer possible for me to stay a Kept Woman. The jig is up! It is time. This morning I began in ernest picking up the telephone to campaign an interview with my Old Company in a new position. A position that has been posted since March. Why? Not certain but it seems no one wants it. It's too hard. Shoot, I'll give it a shot, just give me an interview!

So, I'm on the phone calling everyone I know zooming in on someone and giving him a chance to contact me before I have to go to the Big Guns, my first boss who is now some sort of major player this side of the Mississippi.

Gosh, I hate having to go back to work, but that is life. While reading the Career Search section of the newspaper today I gobbled up the article about being thrown into the job market "at at certain age" and competing with all those young whipper snappers just graduated from college, all dewy eyed and full of vim and vigor. All your experience and wisdom does not add up to a hill of beans sometimes if you appear "out of date".

So, I went and had all my hair cut off!! What I have wanted to do for years. And I do mean years! I went to my friend, the Internet, and asked it (Mirror mirror on the wall....) "Louisville Best Of...." and sure enough I found last years list which included hair salons. That is how I found him. He could fit me in at 230pm today. The place was on the hip Bardstown road and I was taken back when I entered and the place was empty. He made his entrance about five minutes later and I just loved him right away! He did not sing me Herman Hermits like my hairdresser in FW (the name that must be whispered) but he said something that convinced me I was in the right place. When I mentioned this fabulous hair dresser I had in the 1980's whose middle name is Magic I was pleased to hear that many of Mr. Magic's customers were now Mr. New Guy's customers. I closed my eyes and let him work.

When I opened my eyes, my hair was magnificent! Stunning! And I love it!

The visitation and funeral was totally overwhelming. I can not imagine the turn out if it had not been a Holiday Week-end.

Funny story. My SIL lives way out in the country in a gorgeous house, very secluded and vulnerable if anyone got ideas to "visit" while she was in town. So, her sister house sat that evening.

As SIL was preparing to leave she went back and pulled out a small 22 gun and tried to hand it to "Sissy". Sissy refused it and waved it away.

"Sis, you may need it. You never know." and she thrust it at her again and once again she shook her head no and pushed the gun away.

"I would feel so much better if you took it!" my SIL pleaded.

Sis reaches into her purse and pulls out a 38 and lays it on the table, close at hand.

Sis was packing.