Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cooking with My Grandmothers

My microwave died a couple of weeks ago. Quite suddenly. No heaving out it's last breath for a few days, it just didn't work one minute, and I needed a new one.

But, I was sick--really sick--and these things take a bit of research. It needs to fit a very specific, small hole in the cupboards. It took a while before I even felt like looking, then another while to decide which one to buy.

In the meantime, I got to ask myself, "How on earth do I melt the butter for popcorn? --are you kidding me?--a saucepan? . . . frozen edamame beans that Alice insists on daily--no! another pan! . . . I need a quick roux (flour mixed in melted butter) to add to the potato soup? another pan just to mix the roux?"

It was seriously irritating. I ignored all leftovers.

Then one afternoon, I really wanted to reheat some mashed potatoes, and it dawned on me that my grandmothers knew how to manage leftovers without a microwave. I asked, "How did Grandma reheat mashed potatoes?" And, then, without ceremony or any visible indicator, my kitchen transformed into a holy intersection between heaven and earth.

"So simple. Just put a little milk in the pan, get it hot, add the potatoes, and stir really fast before it burns."

It worked perfectly. "Wow, thanks Grandma. What about the gravy? Dinner rolls? Bacon is so messy! and the pans are extra dirty."

"So, easy, just a little extra scrubbing, or soak it while you clean up." So fun to hang out in the kitchen with my grandmothers this week. Whether my DNA retains their memories, or they are actually more available then we thought, it was a party with the grandmas every night in my kitchen.

My new microwave arrived today. It's stainless steel and very sleek. Works great.

Not as fun as my grandmas. I'm going miss them. 


Diane said...

I look back on years of being on the swim team, and our family having three different practice times. Dinner being held in the oven for hours. My mom rejoiced with the invention of the crock-pot. Oh, how she would have loved a microwave back then - and so would we have!

elnaclark said...

Sally, that was priceless. I too remember years of reheating the grandmother way. You write beautifully and I was almost in tears. Thanks.

Catherine Cooper said...

Sally, The only thing I know how to use my microwave for is to warm up leftovers. I feel like the bridge between your grandmothers and you! Now that I know it is possible to make a roux in the microwave, I will do it.

e. said...

oh i love those grandmas!!!

Lori said...

So beautifully put! I love grandma's too, but I still don't think I'd know the proper way to reheat mashed potatoes on the stove. You're so awesome. By the way, Congrats on the baby BOY!!

Ina & co. said...

Ok, so I loved the post... (I sometimes wished I had paid more attention to the woman in the kitchen who seemed to do it ALL with no effort.) But I must admit - I'm intrigued by Lori's post. A boy? Totally awesome! I think I missed that news somewhere along the way! :)

Dave and Bianca Lisonbee said...

Oh Sally, how I love experiencing life through your eyes and words! We've lived for 18 months now without a microwave here in Italy on the mission. I haven't missed it as much as I thought I would. But I do miss the garbage disposal. I remember my little Italian grandmas and aunts taking the garbage our of the sink drain and ever so carefully putting it in little sacks to dispose of. They still do it like that here. Loved the post!

Amy Martinsen said...

First off, congrats on the boy...your oldest must be so happy :)
I loved this brought back so many memories of when I was little and we got our first "magical microwave" Ha! And I also remember having a homemaking meeting at Marilyn Connolly's and wondering why she was heating up leftovers for Ray on the stove top...and not using her magical microwave. Her reply: "Well dear, they just don't taste the same. And Ray's been working hard all day and I want him to have a good dinner." And I thought, they do taste better reheated as they were originally it because of the extra bit of love? It made me I waited impatiently for the two minutes to tick off the front of the microwave :)
Take Care!