We've moved! We are now at genmaicha.tumblr.com.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Armed to the Teeth

Looking at the resurgence of popularity in the notion of 1950s housewifery and all that it stands for, the perfectly dainty female who makes a shoo-fly pie like a pro and keeps her house without a speck of dust yet retains her wit, charm, and style, the Periodically Stylish girl today faces a conundrum many women have struggled with for decades. We want and deserve careers, respect from our peers, equal rights and education, and yet there is something particularly alluring about the Becky Home-Ecky life, ruling over the mysterious domain known as Kitchen. Do you remember June Cleaver? I do. She was the uber-Mom. The woman vacuumed in heels, petticoats, and pearl earrings. Maybe it's just me and how I've grown up, but I have to say that today, there is no question that young women of our generation will be able to "do it all"--raise a family, work to support them, and cultivate an engaging intellectual life equal to (if not greater than) men. Then again, you have to learn from somewhere, and cooking is a complex sport. In fact, my mother is a non-cooking stay-at-home mom, of all things, so my brother and I are just discovering that making your own food is a genuinely enjoyable experience. This may be the first step on my journey into domesticity.

Thus, somehow, over the last week, I have succumbed to my inner 1950s housewife and accumulated an astounding amount of kitchen-y tools and things for baking. Behold:
1. A red three-cup Kitchenaid food processor. No longer will I labor over flour and butter pieces with a pastry cutter!
2. A new pie/tart spatula (it is very thin and sproingy).
3. A food scale that weighs in grams and ounces--no more bemoaning the fact that I can't use non-American-measured recipes! Quickly, bring me all of my Japanese cookbooks on muffins and pies, whither the British scones and shortbreads!
4. A sifter, definitely a tool that will have to take some getting used to. Here's to hoping it makes clumpy powdered sugar easier to deal with!
5. A glass bowl with which I can melt things like chocolate and butter over a makeshift double boiler.
6. Red wire shelves for my kitchen, upon which to arrange my cookbooks and recipes that seem to be scattered all over the apartment.
7. Three new cookbooks: 1 Noodle, 50 Sauces all about pasta with lovely photos (who knew you could get macaroni that wasn't already cut into short little elbows?), The Best 50 Dessert Tarts, and a surprisingly fascinating copy of The Original White House Cookbook, 1887 Edition, found at an antique store in Danville, California of all places. I love vintage cookbooks more than words can say, not only for their home remedies (warm borax water cures dandruff? chloroform rubbed on delicate fabrics like silk will remove even the toughest paint stains without damaging the garment, apparently), but all of those great recipes for cuts of meat and pieces of animals that you would never see in grocery stores today. Anyone for calf's head cheese?

Cookbooks make for excellently entertaining bedtime reading, if you are into cooking and all--I used to be a crossword-puzzle-before-bed girl (yes, I am very single), but the pleasures of a cookbook in hand are many. Yes, you may get an odd middle of the night craving for banoffee pie, but unlike an engrossing novel, the cookbook is easily abandoned for sleep and you need never worry about losing your place. These three new cookbooks of mine already added to the massive list of recipes I have to try.

From 1 Noodle, 50 Sauces:
Pinzimonio Rigatoni
Spaghetti with Shrimp and Raisins
Farfalle with Two Types of Peas
Rigatoni with Pumpkin Mousse
Linguine with Salmon and Mint

From The Best 50 Dessert Tarts:
Pastry Nut Crust, with walnuts or salted peanuts
Ginger Pear Tart
Blueberry Buttermilk Tart
Pine Nut Tart

From the White House Cookbook:
A corn bread recipe from the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans using buttermilk and molasses.
Pop-overs, those ever-elusive buttery babies.
English crumpets (how I love them!).
Boiled frosting, and frosting without eggs, described as: "An excellent frosting may be made without eggs or gelatine, which will keep longer, and cut more easily, causing no breakage or crumbling, and withal is very economical."
Not one, but FOUR recipes each for apple custard and lemon pies.

All told, those half-empty bags of white whole wheat flour in my cupboard and that unsalted butter in the freezer had better WATCH THEIR BACKS once schoolwork calms down a bit. Perhaps my next investment will have to be in a couple of removable-bottom tart pans and a cake stand?

Can a girl survive on tarts, pies, cakes, and pasta alone? With all my education and credentials, will I end up slapping on an apron and a string of pearls to keep a home, making pot roasts for some hard-working spouse someday?

Images from 180degreeimaging.com, tabletools.com, silverbackbooks.com, and cooking.com.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails