Thursday, August 04, 2005

My Mom's Kitchen

IF you like to cook, you probably know how frustrating it is to cook in someone else's kitchen. In your own kitchen, you know where everything is, you have your favorite pots, your favorite knives, and you have a smooth work routine all planned out. Here at my parents' house, I am constantly frustrated by Mom's kitchen, even though much of the stuff she has is what I grew up with. It's just, there is so much of it, and it's all packed in everywhere and it's just not what I am used to anymore, you know?

My Mom's kitchen is like a minefield for me. She has managed to fill every square inch of that kitchen with stuff, and I can't find a damn thing. Mom is one of those people who doesn't throw things away, and the fridge is completley packed. It's all stuff like heels of bread, leftover little bowls of salad, random sauces and jars and bottles and vegetables and it's all piled up so you have to take everything out just to get that one thing you need. I always dread having to find a place to put something in, or having to find something. Ever since I was a kid, the fridge has been full to the limit of fullness. It groans when you open the door. Ditto the freezer. Or shall I say, freezers. She has three full size freezers, and a spare fridge. And they are all packed. It never changes, and she grocery shops weekly, I guess to fill in the tiny litle gaps of light that appear in whatever storage container she is looking in. The shelves in her non-perishables pantry are bent and warped from the weight of cans bought in bulk. She has enough toilet paper to wipe the asses of an army. Seriously.

Basically, if ever the world goes to hell and it becomes one of those post apocalyptic scenarios, I am gonna get my ass to my parents' farm, because I can feed myself (and then wipe my butt) for years on just the stuff Mom has now.

I think it runs in the family, though. Just yesterday, over at my grandmother's house, I found a little can of mushrooms (pieces and stems) and the design on the label tells me those mushrooms are circa 1978. She bought them when she still lived in Mississippi, before my grandfather died in 1987 and she came to live with my folks. Those are some OLD mushrooms, practically a cultural relic. (I'm going to take a picture of it with my new digital camera, and see if I can post it.)(More on the camera in a later post, I'm still a little scared of it!)

I will admit that I have inherited some of that acquisitive nature. I feel nervous if I don't have a certain amount of chicken stored in the freezer, and for some reason, every time I go grocery shopping, I always buy a can of black beans and one of chopped tomatoes, resulting in a rather large collection of beans and 'maters in my own cabinets. I also have a thing for shampoos and hair products, which, as I see in my parents' bathroom, is also an inherited trait.

i'm no where near my Mom's level, yet, but I have a few years to catch up with her. Though I doubt I will ever find, as she did, a 20 year old jar of jam in the back of the fridge. Yes, when my parents moved from Houston to Missouri, Mom found 20 year old jam in the fridge. She left it behind for the new people, saying that it was tradition and came with the house. It may well be the only thing she did leave behind. The other day I found some Tylenol that expired in 1992. At least it was fresher than the jam.

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