A toaster oven most holy
On a whim and to attempt to not want to murder the children on our wonderful 4th day in a row together off from school due to weekend and “professional development days” we took them to D.C. Our nations capital is but a short drive away and yet we don’t go as often as we would like to and tend to go to the same places each time. Today, because we all had to pee and we were parked very near a museum we hadn’t been to we ducked into the American History Museum.
Like most things American its big and difficult to get around in a reasonable amount of time unlike smaller European countries who have the decency to be so small one could tour the entire nation in a two-day minibreak holiday. The American History museum has some cool shit, really. You should check it out. Like the flag from Fort McHenry. The Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Lots of classic cars. A nice display of birth control pills. Toy Geiger Counters. First Lady fancy dresses and shoes. Stuff we stole from Native People’s like the Quileutes (holla Forks and Debbi and Velma!).
Among the weirdly magical items housed at the American History Museum is Julia Child’s kitchen and exhibit. It’s her 9th kitchen as they point out over and over again as though her 9th kitchen has some importance and made me try to remember how many kitchens I have had-9 also!
I stood and watched 3 episodes of the original series on PBS from the early 60’s where she encouraged people to drink wine, not crowd the pan with meat or it will steam and not brown, hassle your grocer into getting brocoli and a variety of mushrooms and made good cooking accessible with using a regular oven, a regular stove and your own pots and pans. I was teary looking at her stained wooden counter tops and was happy to see she owned a toaster oven. Somehow I just assumed she made toast in some sort of hand-held over the flame type of campfire tong thingy so the toaster oven was odd somehow. It reminded me that real people eat. People who like good food can cook it if they want to without any fancy stuff. Julia was a real person and a food snob in the best sense of the phrase. Julia loved good food. She admired hand crafted cheeses, flavorful sauces, good wine, a finely butchered critter, smoked meat and fish, BUTTER and salads with homemade vinegrette and crusty bread, flourless cakes and ganache. I love her display of pans and utensils and measuring cups. I love she had a big table in the middle where they ate whatever amazing delicous thing she cooked. I love that her dishwasher had a sign on it that said “DO not move this”. She kept her cook books in the kitchen and they were dirty from use.
I learned how to love food because my grandmother was a good cook. One who would make her own noodles for turkey noodle soup and would lay them all over the dinning room table and chairs to dry for the whole day before putting them in the soup. Who made creamed sauces for veggies. Nothing came out of a can except peas, corn and tomatoes. I learned to love to cook because of Julia Childs and The Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith on PBS-before Cable TV because thats how fucking old I am.
My latch key childhood lead to hours watching PBS after school and getting cookbooks for christmas along with the latest Pat Benetar album. I had a dinner party for friends when I was a sophomore in hight school and I made Poulet with Saffron and tomato, steamed rice and chocolate mousse for dessert. My friends came over and ate it and thought it was good but didn’t want to listen to me talk about how I made meringue first and then melted the chocolate and folded it together….yep, totally lost them while I had officially became a food porn addict.
A lot of my friends tell me that I cook well. In fact, I also will tell you that I cook well. I like food. I like cooking. Its something that I was born to do as it comes very naturally to me and I enjoy it very much but do not enjoy how little money you can make cooking and how much you have to work evenings, weekends and holidays. I am content to have dinner parties, invite people over and make something delicious.
So while the Ruby Slippers were pretty cool and I also became teary eyed gazing at Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown I will remember to make a trip at least once a year back to the American History museum because I must pay respects to a shrine of goodness-a shrine to good food that anyone could cook.