I am hoping to spend some more time in the kitchen today but I have been promising my girls I would take them shopping and today is the day.

I hate shopping, I hate malls and I am no fan of the teenage girl/shopping mall combination but my girls actually do need to get some things. Both are finally full-grown (I think) and really do need some new clothes as they have grown out of much of their stuff. I am grateful for what good shoppers they are (amazing how good when they are spending their own money). They are also willing to take my advice and they don’t get nasty when the answer is no. Well, they may get a little nasty but not for long and they always apologize. While they get some jeans and shirts I will be in housewares. My oldest son gave me a gift card for Christmas and I am going to spend it on kitchen equipment. I looked over my notebook and I see many things I would like. I need new pot holders but I can make those. I need some rugs for in front of the sink and stove, the two places I stand most. I can see the floor is wearing and I want to protect it. I need a glass, 2 cup measure as I shattered the one I got for a wedding gift 36 years ago. I also need a new pepper mill. Something is wrong with mine and it no longer grinds. The last thing I want is a cast iron dutch oven. I want the kind that is designed to hold charcoal in the lid and has an internal chamber, rather like a bundt pan. What I  have read is that it works a bit like a pressure cooker/crock pot as the lid fits snugly and the chamber directs heat to the center of the food as well as from the sides. I am thinking that I can save a good deal of energy if I get the oven and pan really hot and then turn off the heat. I am sure I will need to fiddle with it some. I am hoping it will work well for beans, stews and less tender cuts of meat. It can be used on a wood stove as well as sit in a fire pit so it’s versatile. I found one in the Lehman’s catalog but the shipping made it prohibitively expensive.

I suppose my son thought I would buy clothes or something but clothes hold no fascination for me unless I get them second-hand or make them myself. I do enjoy finding some excellent outer wear on a 75 % off sale but beyond that, clothes to me are just not that interesting. But put me in a restaurant supply store and I am a happy girl. I have to laugh at my daughter, Karen. She will ask me very gently if that beautiful bowl I am drooling over is a need or a want. Will it give lasting value or just become clutter when the new wears off? Honestly. I don’t where she learned to talk like that.

I have been asked about my plan to rid my kitchen of as much plastic as I can. I am concerned about the plastic leaching chemicals into my food but a good part of the reason has to do with aesthetics. I love the look of glass. Convenience plays a role too. I like being able to see what’s inside without removing the top. That brings up a final word about organizing your kitchen. I have found several containers that have no label. Kidney beans are easy to recognize but a powdery substance could be any number of things. An indelible maker will write on a canning jar lid and not wash off without a bit of scrubbing. I also use a lot of stick on mailing labels although they tend to peel away from glass pretty quickly. What holds better is medical adhesive tape. It doesn’t come off until I want it off and I have many rolls of it.

As I cleaned my cabinets I saw that my supply of juice is running low. I used a lot when Jackie had the flu and I gave some to the food pantry. I will have to make a run to the market and restock. In addition to the cider I have in the freezer, I usually keep 30 cans of fruit juice concentrate, 20 big cans of pineapple juice and several cartons of things like Tang on hand. Tang is not real food but it will last for a very long time, provide some vitamin C and make stale water taste a bit better to children. I usually make my own fruit juice concentrate but it was a terrible year for wild grapes and I didn’t get any juice put up except for some elderberry concentrate. That’s all gone too as we used a lot for tea during flu season.

I enjoyed reading about your kitchens.  It felt like I had been to visit.