Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creative Kitchen

Dear ingenious divergent thinkers,

When Mr H left for boot camp in March 2011, almost all of my Stuff was packed away into Rubbermaid boxes in my parents' shed, and there it has remained during my past year of traveling and cavorting.

I kept aside a small amount of Useful Items to bring with me when I stayed in Chicago for a few months, and subsequently when I stayed in California for a few months.  (I didn't bring any to Florida ... that trip was too short!)  I kept out such items as my favorite handy-dandy peeler, a mesh strainer, a large soup pot, a cast iron skillet, a jelly roll pan (rimmed baking sheet), an airbake cookie sheet, a blender, and so on and so forth - items that would be hard to find a replacement for (a disposable mesh strainer?  Haven't seen one yet, and your straw hat does not count!) but that could all fit into one, tightly jammed box.

A leftover bottle from Trader Joe's makes a great pitcher for orange juice -
I put chunks of concentrate in a funnel (which fortunately was in my Box of
Tricks) and inserted it in the narrow mouth of the bottle; then poured hot water
into the funnel and smashed it all around with a plastic fork.
It has been a very enjoyable year, and I've learned to be creative in the kitchen plenty of times.  Not only by using regular old fashioned skills (making whipped cream with just a jar and a lid, for instance), but also by repurposing dishes over and over.  As a simple example, a soup pot also makes a good mixing bowl, sort of.  It is, at any rate, a container, and can contain things.  A glass baking pan makes a pitiful but serviceable cutting board.  Foil makes an excellent pan in many instances.  An oven is just a well a toaster as any toaster is, and a microwave will boil water if you have no other option.  Alternatively, an oven makes a great microwave, albeit a slow one, if you have no microwave.  Mason jars are great for a double-boiler - set them in a pan of hot water and cook away!  Or a pan of hot water is great for a microwave, since the Mason jar is also working as a leftovers-container - just set the jar of soup or whatever it is you're heating in the hot pan of water, and again ... cook away!

Mincing onions for Sunday lunch was a drag with no plate or cutting board,
so I sliced them on a piece of foil and then minced them with scissors
There is always more than one way to skin a cat; you just have to remember what the final outcome is to be, and then simplify the procedure to get there.

Now that we are living in Virginia, we have a regular ol' apartment and I am eager to see my little dish friends again.  But once again we are living a Spartan lifestyle as we await the long and slow delivery of our items by Naval shipment!  Our Goode Items will arrive at the end of April, so we've been enjoying plastic silverware and we finally broke down and bought paper plates (it was getting really tiring for the three of us to share one tiny Glad container), coupled with an excellent Kitchenaid immersion blender and a row of empty Mason jars.

I love our air mattress - it has saved us many times.  And yet I am so looking
forward to having our real bed once again! 
You can always make things work ... but I am excited to get my dishes out again!

Mrs H



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