My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mordor's Kitchen

As we prepare to move away from our small two-story apartment in Saginaw, I am moved by how the worst kitchen that I have ever had the displeasure of working in has been the one that has turned me into an excellent amateur cook. I can differentiate between four different levels of roux (I’m still learning what to do with them), can taste the difference between the quality of ingredients, and am comfortable making a full four-course meal by myself. I am, by my own admission, a completely different person in the kitchen. It is the only place on the planet that I lose my temper. I am a man possessed. Mordor-bent on perfection. Every recipe guarded, researched, and reworked. I am proud enough to say that most of my regular menu trumps most restaurants and the biggest compliment that I’ve heard came from a friend a couple weeks ago, when at an extremely nice restaurant exclaimed, "I think you make this better". In short, I am a damn good cook and I got so working in the shitty kitchen ever.

What’s wrong with the kitchen? It is four feet from counter to counter and eight feet long. There is an electric stove with uncorrectable crooked burners, an oven that cannot hold a temperature and whose door cannot be opened all the way, small cabinets, a dishwasher that can be heard from the front yard, and a refrigerator from the bargain bin at Goodwill. The counters are inadequate in every definition of the word and the kitchen itself can only handle two people if they are working in perfect unison. Add to that the insufficient lighting, laughable ventilation, and substandard storage for anyone who does not wish to exist only on soup and rice, and you have a cook’s worst nightmare. This kitchen is where I learned technique, where I made recipe after recipe trying to perfect dishes, and where I feel the most comfortable cooking. I will deeply miss this shit-hole.

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