Thursday, January 13, 2005

Gadgets Make for Interesting Kitchen Time

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 12, 2005

To avoid writing about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston this week, I’ve decided to write about cooking.

Although cooking was the bane of my existence during the early years of our marriage, I’ve come to terms with spending time in the kitchen every day. And I’ve actually begun liking it.

I know what happened. I had children. Of course I love them and everything, but after dealing with little people all day, I’m ready to hand them off to their father and head to the kitchen for some culinary therapy. It’s amazing what stress relief a few kitchen appliances can provide. I get to chop things. I get to crush things. I get to tenderize things. And if I’m lucky, I get to use my electric knife.

The electric knife was one of those wedding presents that I didn’t think was really for me. I mean, it’s practically a power tool, right? I figured it was for my husband to use on the turkey at Thanksgiving and that was about it. But one day I needed to slice up a loaf of French bread, so I decided to fire up the knife to see what it could do. And I was amazed. What power! What speed! I could have sliced all the bread in France in one afternoon.

My kitchen adventures were not over. Next I discovered my slow cooker. This was another gadget from which I kept my distance at first. I didn’t understand the concept. I had grown up in the age of microwave ovens. I remember when they were so big that they were more like shiny, black walk-in closets. Isn’t the point to cook stuff faster? Why would you want to cook something all day?

So when I got five Crock Pots at my bridal shower, I returned four and put the remaining one on top of the refrigerator with the juicer and the rice steamer. (Note to young brides: Buy the juice. And you don’t need a device designed by NASA that takes up half your kitchen counter to steam rice. You can do it on your stovetop.)

The slow cooker sat up there for a long time. Then about nine or so years into our marriage, I plugged it in, put some food in it, put the top on and left the house for the day. When I came back, dinner was ready. I’ve been hooked ever since.

The slow cooker has been especially useful since my oldest child has started school. Now I have more time in the evenings to listen to the knowledge she is reaping in kindergarten, such as “Emily told me she tasted her dog once. She said it was gross.”

I can only imagine.

Of course, slow cookers are not fail-proof. I still remember the wail from the kitchen the day we returned home from church and my mom discovered she had neglected to plug in the Crock Pot that contained the Sunday roast. Because a big hunk of dead cow did not seem appealing, we went out for lunch that day. Mom had a complete recovery eventually.

But you can stick a fork in Brad and Jennifer because it looks like they’re done. I’m sure they had a glamorous life together, what with red carpets and all, but maybe they needed to spend more time in the kitchen.

Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is


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