Thirty-five and Counting the Miscues

I married for the first time at thirty-five years old, to a cook who could turn out a meal for twenty without breaking much of a sweat. Anyone within earshot might sweat at the vocabulary used to ease the pain of cooking that much that fast and in a facility built to cook for three,  … Read more

A short stay in the hospital and hospital food

Just got out of the hospital and a whole new perspective on meal preparation came to light. I wanted to get downstairs into their kitchen and see what they used and how they used it, but that area is deep in the bowels of the hospital and beyond several sets of security. Sometimes I can … Read more

Fire Kitchen and the Redhead

I worked at a forest fire kitchen where the cooks could knock out fried chicken for a hundred firefighters, mashed potatoes by the bucket, sandwiches and brown bag lunches. The forestry department wheeled in a mobile kitchen with a grill and ovens, a couple of microwaves, a refrigerator and a freezer. A generator kept everything … Read more

Mr. Ed and Mr. Big

Essential elements of the cowboy kitchen included cast iron dutch ovens, iron ladles, coffee grinders, tongs, and cast iron skillets. The chuck wagon used the same tools as we settled the west and drove cattle. My family moved to a cattle ranch in Del Norte county in the early sixties, a far cry from our … Read more

Tin Foil, Brown Bags and Wax Paper

Mom used a lot of tin foil, and brown paper bags, wax paper played a prominent role in our kitchen. Plastic bags, Tupperwares and plastic films did not exist in our home. Angel Food cake pans with the column in the center hung so proudly on the wall. and next to it a two-foot-long industrial kitchen … Read more

Parchment Paper and a Paper Lion

Meal preparation aboard an ocean going tugboat had its idiosynchracies. Geraldine, my first maritime cook, used a lot of parchment paper, range rails to keep sauce pans from sliding off, cast iron cookware and flatware designed to resist sliding off the table. She treated us like a mother hen, fussing over each meal, always consoius … Read more

Soups, Strainers and Stuffing

The ocean-going tugs have an expansive array of cookware and gadgets, but knives, whisks, spoons and special items the cooks often bring to work from their own homes. The company stocks the pantries before departure, fills the freezers and adds enough fresh vegetables to last a couple weeks. Once at sea the cooks make do … Read more

Culinary Cuisine Below Sea Level

My first memory of kitchens and meal preparation my grandmother introduced me to from her home where we lived on the sand dunes of Samoa, California in the late 1950s. My grandmother, a migrant from Oklahoma, took care of me, cooking meals on a wood stove, teaching me to hammer a nail, build a fire, … Read more

Life on the Mountain

An endless argument exists over the advantages of electric ranges verses gas ranges, and not having cooked much I would not know if the hardware required differed or the pots and pans used to heat on one stove or the other needed to be different. Mom and grandma made good use of cast iron cookware … Read more

From the Skagit Soils to the Kitchen

The Skagit River’s origins come from deep in the mountains of British Columbia and flow a hundred and fifty miles to the Puget Sound, passing through Skagit County and the very nutrient rich soils of the valley, the result of centuries of flooding. Revetment walls and levees protect downtown Mount Vernon and low-lying residents from … Read more