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Marilyn Heltzer: Kitchen coordination these days

The kitchen was once a woman’s domain. Now more and more guys are cooking. More wives are working. And more couples cook together. And we all arrange our kitchens according to our own plan. We know where the knives and cooking pans and spices and coffee and all the rest are.

The questions when others try to cook in my kitchen are endless. I am ever patient when my daughters, all of whom have their own kitchens, ask:   

“Where do you keep your strainer? I should be able to find it, but….”

“Glasses? Is plastic OK, and tell me again where you keep them…whichever.”

“I can’t find a frying pan. I know it’s here somewhere and I oughta be able to find it…..”

“I’d be happy to set the table, but there are several sets of dishes here….do you want the good ones or are the ones from Target OK?

“Now, I know that there’s yoghurt someplace in this fridge, but I’m just not seeing it”

Meal preparation in another’s kitchen is a guessing game. Thank heaven that kitchens have basic equipment: the stove, the refrigerator, the dishwasher, But the cupboards are always a mystery. And we, who have arranged our kitchens to our liking, are the experts. We know just where to find everything. I know exactly where the coffee filters and the Folgers’s are. But tea?  Yes, there are tea-drinkers in the family. And ice cubes in the freezer are logical.

One daughter doesn’t have a microwave in her kitchen. I couldn’t live without mine. Another has a gas-burning stove. Mine is electric, and fortunately the other two girls also know about electric ranges. But when I go to the gas-burning household, I’m not sure how to regulate the heat. It’s so simple with electric.

Last week, we took a trip to Chicago. My oldest daughter was in charge of planning. She rented us an apartment close to Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, who were unfortunately not playing at home in their historic park. . We experienced the el and took pictures at the bean in Millennium Park. You can Google both to see and read all about them.  We ate deep dish pizza and went to a live broadcast of a radio show, and listened to it on Minnesota Public Radio on the way home.

We were supposed to take Amtrak, gazing out of train windows. But the Empire Builder comes to St. Paul from North Dakota where oil comes first, grain is second, and Amtrak takes third place. And the train we were to take was hours and hours late. The  Amtrak folks cheerfully give refunds. And we drove. Thank heaven for Garmin. Which you can also Google. .

But back to kitchens. Yes, we shared a kitchen in that well-designed and thoroughly equipped apartment. I only had to ask about the location of coffee cups once. The girls did the shopping and I am ever amenable and probably gained a few pounds on the trip.

Yes, June was bustin’ out all over. Our world greened up in that short week. And now the summer is ahead!  Happy cooking to all and Happy June, too.