03 August 2012

Kitchens then and now

I was thinking recently about the things that I have in my kitchen which would have never been in my family kitchen growing up. The computer I’m working on, for example – but it would be very strange for me if I didn’t have one in the kitchen. I've gotten quite used to it being here when I need it. It’s quite useful and not just for writing posts for this blog-thing. I have a DSLR camera with an additional macro lense right next to my 12 cup food processor. My stand mixer has it’s own area on the counter with the sugar containers and flour containers nearby.
orange, lemon, lemon-rosemary, celery
I am ridiculously obsessed with salt and have kosher (of course), sea salt, Maldon salt, bourbon smoked sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, malt salt (this is outstanding on potatoes), Portuguese traditional salt, plus the four salt blends I made (lemon, orange, lemon-rosemary, celery) with the flaky Maldon. Pepper is a lesser fascination, but my list includes: India Tellicherry, Sarawak white, reunion pink, and India green.
I probably shouldn't get into the spices that I have that my mother would never have even heard of, much less tried. Maybe I will do that one day. 
One thing I totally take for granted, but am glad everyday I have is a dishwasher. When my mom built her house, the kitchen was small and there was no room to add one. She always did dishes by hand. I don't mind doing that, but I like having  the dishwasher all the same. It makes life so much simpler to set it to go off at midnight and have clean dishes in the morning. 
My digital kitchen scale is always at the ready as is my electric knife sharpener. I have learned a lot using the scale when canning and, particularly, when baking. It does make a difference to go by weight and I prefer that now that I'm used to it and it's easily done with my scale. 
It's an interesting thing that in the kitchen of my childhood with few bells and whistles, my mother made wonderful food. That's a true talent that you don't get from gadgets.

30 July 2012

Wacky Cake

In cooking from 1945, it's hard for me to imagine going through rationing. My mom talked about it from time to time, but not much. Let's see, she would have been about eleven in 1945, so I'm certain it would have made an impact and her and the vast majority of her stories were about food rationing. 
So this week, at America's Test Kitchen, it's cook the 1940s. I suppose this is called Wacky Cake because it makes no real sense, unless you get the science. The combination of vinegar and baking soda at the last possible second is what gives the cake lift. With no eggs and/or butter, this is also vegan - first vegan thing I have made and it's from a recipe that from World War II - ironic, isn't it. 
So I made the cake one evening and planned a nice picture the next day, with good natural light and what do I find in the morning? What I should have expected. The Boy had gotten home from work late that night (or early the next day) and had helped himself. 
That said, this is a tasty cake. Chocolately, but not too much so. Since I'm not a huge fan of chocolate, that's a good thing. Wonder if there are other version as this makes a very quick cake to put together and could certainly do for a sweet tooth.