in my kitchen

Fact: I’ve turned into a cooking machine.

I mentioned my new mechanized status to a friend at church on Sunday. “You should see the piles of food we go through,” I said. “It’s crazy!”

My friend leveled his eye at me. “You could have stopped with one, you know.”

“Good one,” I said. “Way to shut me up.”

Saturday noon, we had a crowd: our family, plus my nieces and nephew, a college student, and Melissa. At the stove, loading up plates with lentils and rice and green beans, I had to keep reaching for more dishes. Finally, I turned around to survey the room. “How many people are here anyway, huh?”

I’m pretty much in my glory, cooking for all these people. I explained to one of my friends that I like the hubbub. It makes me feel necessary. She wrote back, “Hubbub makes me sink down and grope feebly for my smelling salts.” As they say, to each her own!

Here’s a peek at my kitchen hubbub:

I used a rice cooker (secondhand, gifted from a friend) for the first time in my life on September 1.
Did you know that September is National Rice Month?
And did you know that rice cookers are awesome
I am deeply, profoundly, and irrevocably in love. 
Consequently, we are eating a lot of rice.
Waiting for the oven to empty: the wets and drys for a double batch of baked oatmeal
PSA: ten pounds of pinto beans equals three-plus gallons of refried beans.

The job that never ends.

A fruit cobbler that didn’t impress. And I so badly wanted to be impressed, too.
She cooks! I overeat! Life is good!

Pepian: the final product, and then with a scoop of hot rice on top.

Under construction: a chocolate peanut butter cake for potluck.

Fuel for movie night: three-and-a-half cups of kernels. 
(And nearly a dozen apples.)

In  the night kitchen: hot toddy for one.

What’s happening in your kitchen?

This same time, years previous: roasted tomato and garlic pizza sauce, rainy day writing, almond cream pear tart, a quick rundown, and say cheese!.


  • Athanasia

    How big of a kettle did you have to use to cook 10 pounds of beans? I have some pretty big kettles but I don't think any could manage that. I only do 2-3 lbs at a time.

  • Anonymous

    I'm cooking for one now and still use a rice cooker. I've found cooking a double batch produces the best results. I got my 6-cup rice cooker at WalMart.
    Also – I use the rice cooker to cook my oatmeal (full flakes, not instant). Works great and is ready with no fuss when I'm ready for breakfast. I cook enough for two breakfasts. SJ in Vancouver BC

  • Lana

    I've been at my Mom's for 5 days letting her feed us. Yum.

    I have no idea what I would have done without my rice cooker when the kiddos were growing up. Sunday mornings I left the rice cooker and 2-3 crockpots going when we left for church. My daughter, who is now the one feeding the masses has a 20 cup rice cooker and she does 20 cups. Oy!

    Now that we are two I have not found a rice cooker that does a small amount well. But, it is no big deal to do it on the stove for us now.

  • Aili

    I've thought off and on about getting a rice cooker. And I never do because I feel like it's one more thing to take up space and I make decent enough rice on the stove.

    But you have a similar sensibility about gadgets and space and things like that, and I'd bet your stovetop rice is better than mine. So sell me on this rice cooker notion…

    • Jennifer Jo

      So far, I've only done white rice in my cooker. I made great rice on the stove, but this rice is even better. The grains are more individualized and tastier…somehow. They taste fully rice-y. And it's SO easy. I don't even THINK about it. I haven't tried brown rice, yet, and I'd be surprised if it beats my baked brown rice, but we'll see…..

      As far as convincing you: my mother who doesn't like unnecessary tools and doesn't even have a microwave has a rice cooker. And my Japanese sister-in-law says that all Japanese apartments come with rice cookers. If Japanese people—the kings and queens of rice—use rice cookers, then who am I to quibble?

    • Lana

      You will be amazed at the brown rice. So, so good! You cannot make it any better than with a rice maker is what I am betting. Brown rice was the reason I bought a rice cooker to begin with.

  • Athanasia

    That "cobbler" recipe looks just like my great grandma's kuchen recipe except that hers cuts the butter into the flour and it's less butter. A cobbler needs that liquid underlayment of delicious thick fruit juices with just islands of biscuit topping for the fruit. We make her recipe often in the summer, weekly, because it is excellent with juicy fruit like peaches, plums, raspberries, blackberries, sweet cherries, pears etc…or any combo of above. Our topping is butter, flour, cinnamon and sugar crumbled together. Maybe don't look at it as a cobbler and try it again. I'm making one tonight with peaches.

  • Anonymous

    roasted tomato sauce and refried beans…oh my deliciousness!
    and the rice cooker in our house gets multiple duties in the colder
    months coming ahead (gah!): overnight creamy steel cut oatmeal.
    any leftovers (rarely) go in the refrigerator and are heated up fast
    for next morning's breakfast.
    bon appetit!

  • Zoë

    It's ridiculous and my kids are less than half the size of yours!

    Two loaves of sourdough every other day, 3 bushels of apples, 2 of pears, just finished who-knows-how-many-bushels of tomatoes (Amber is getting the rest), three meals a day (leftovers are scarce, for some reason), and occasionally a meal for 6 farmer men. I haven't even had time to bake any desserts lately. Boo.

    I made a delightful marinated tomato salad the other day. Grilled cheese and tomato soup for supper last night. Brad barbecued enough chicken for 35 on Sunday. I made okra for the first time yesterday (our herdsman is growing it in our garden). It was ok. Did applesauce today and I'm pretty sure baby is going to have a blowout tomorrow as a result. She climbed up and helped herself to the gigantic bowl of it. Tomorrow morning I want to get up early enough to make a gingerbread for breakfast. That ought to scratch my baking itch.

    I'm tired. Goodnight!

  • Second Sister

    Canned roasted tomato pizza sauce, canned dill pickles, vegan banana/zucchini bread, vegan biscotti, crabapple jelly, kombucha!!!

  • Mama Pea

    Canning, preserving, preserving, canning. I'm ready for it to end. Garden has been a rousing success this year (I'm not complaining . . . am I?) because of our unusually HOT, humid (the little humidity measuring thingie in my husband's office this morning registers 92% — arrrgh) summer season. And here I thought we lived in the cooler part of the country . . .

  • Becky

    I've been a canning machine! I put up a whole bushel of peaches by myself this weekend (not one of the people who live here who will be popping some of those jars open and eating them with a spoon could tear themselves away from Saturday's football games) WITHOUT trashing the kitchen. That's a feat in itself.

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