Getting Over Kitchen Fears
By Jen Brehm
I’m a traveler. For the past 10 years I have worked in jobs that required me to live in airports and hotels and eat a majority of my meals in restaurants. When I was at home, my apartment was never stocked with much food because I wasn’t going to be there long enough to cook let alone shop.
My job still involves a good deal of travel but now I have a husband who is a chef and a kitchen that is stocked. I have gone from a gadget-obsessed, computer person to cupboards stocked with home-canned goods and a root cellar with strings of onions in panty hose and shelves of potatoes and squash. Making the transition each week from home-cooked meals with food grown in our backyard to restaurant-prepared meals four days each week can be a bit tough. I’ll admit it – I’m hooked on fresh!
This life of gardening, home canning and pressure cookers is pretty intimidating though, but I’m learning. The name of my blog “Airports and Frozen Corn” represents my attempt to blend the two worlds. My packing routine now includes explorations of what homemade goodness I can take through airport security. While banana bread wrapped in tinfoil will pass security tests, it does not make for a quick trip through screening lines. My cooler has been my carry-on several times when I knew that my hotel would have a microwave and I could take some frozen foods along to prepare in my room.
But I’m still intimidated by the tools and techniques of the kitchen. This week I took on the deep fryer.
My husband finds my fear of these gadgets to be rather amusing given my fascination with all things electrical. Risk of electrical shock from my iPhone is just not on the same level as a container full of hot grease.
One of my favorite guilty pleasures is sweet potatoe chips but I’m working very hard on avoiding processed foods. When my husband suggested that we make our own, I was thrilled. I grabbed the mandolin and told him to heat up the oil. That’s when he informed me that I would be taking this one on myself.
He prepared everything for me and walked me through the process, showing me how to tell when the oil was ready and setting up my various stations for draining the chips. I stood about two feet away from the fryer as I put the first batch of chips in one-by-one. I poked and prodded them with a wooden chop stick as I severely overcooked the first batch. By the second batch I had stepped closer to the fryer and was even managing to look away from the bubbling grease without fear that it would burst into flames. And then the third batch started a routine that would see me through the process of creating a bowlful of homemade goodness.
It wasn’t an earth-shaking event but I was proud. I never imagined that I would be making my own chips from potatoes that I grew. When I first thought about writing this blog I was so hesitant because I’m a beginner. I don’t have any tips that I can share with users and no great advice on how to live the rural life. What I can offer though are hopefully amusing stories about choosing to live this lifestyle and maybe even encourage a few folks to step outside their own comfort zone.
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