Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stash


Photo courtesy Flickr

Now and then I have to leave the house a little sooner than usual, and I become aware of every second that is available to leave the place in good shape for my return. The principle is to leave things ready to use the next time they are wanted.

I realized how important it is to have room in a drawer, cupboard, closet, or transit case easily to stow whatever belongs there. The slightest hesitation or stress in the process means it’s easier to leave something sitting out rather than where I’ll look for it the next time I want it (close to where I’ll use it first). The Shakers maintained that if one can put something down, one can put it away.

I’ve long assumed that a storage area should be no more than 80% full. Now I know why.

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More after the jump.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Hot Tray


Photo courtesy Flickr

A while ago, I was invited to lunch at the home of a woman with whom I share several mutual friends. When I arrived, one of my companions gently kidded her about her vintage collection of hot trays. Trudie replied cheerfully that they make it easy for her to entertain.

Over the coldest winter in the history of Western Washington I cooked every meal on a cast-iron wood stove that had been converted to burn oil. The cabin I was living in had no source of heat other than a huge fieldstone fireplace, so I had every incentive to cook constantly. The vast surface of that stove allowed me to push a pot to the exact spot where it would cook best. It was a small matter to park a finished dish on the back of the stove while we completed an early course of the meal.

Every time I think of that stove, I miss it. I tried a thrift store hot tray and decided that it was not for me, but small appliances serve well. A portable convection oven set on warm holds dishes ready to serve, one electronic pressure cooker equals a crock pot that can saute’, an induction hot plate heats in a flash, and an old school chafing dish makes an elegant front and center presentation.

Whatever format tickles your fancy, the basic idea is the same: prepare food that is not time-critical to serve, so that you can enjoy the meal as much as your guests.

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More after the jump.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Future Shock


Photo courtesy Flickr


You know things have changed when a network anchor-cook says assembling beef Wellington is like rolling a burrito.

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More after the jump.

Monday, November 4, 2013

This Is Luxury?


Photo courtesy Flickr

Last year I decided to substitute a choice hand-carved barrette for six haircuts. I wore the thing in public for the first time last week. One of my fellow gym rats tapped me on the shoulder, handed over three figures worth of buffalo horn, and said, “I think you dropped something.” My guard, perhaps. I learned after the ornament arrived that it is meant to be kept dry. This is Seattle.

The work on the barrette is so lovely it is a coif in itself. When I opened the package, I discovered that the pin is sharp enough I might have trouble getting through airport security. That feature may be a cultural one, the southeast Asian variant of the old school hatpin with which women defended themselves. The packaging was nearly as sophisticated as that from Pomme. I worked my way through matte silver mylar, a ribbon woven with integrated logo, a stout paper box just the right size to store writing tools, and a heavy cotton velvet pouch. 

It is tempting to take the barrette to my friendly local three-d print shop, but respect for intellectual property rights stays my hand. I’d certainly like to see something of similar design quality in plastic.

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More after the jump.