Let’s Eat — A Writer’s Guide to Cooking

Our kitchen, being small, is in a constant state of turmoil. There are never enough burners. Counter space is virtually nonexistent. Every so often things fall off the top of the refrigerator. What do we have up there? A plastic canister of oats; several packages of yeast; a sack or two each of sugar, flour, and cornmeal; packages of chips and bread; and dust-caked recipes clipped from newspapers, still waiting to be tried. Beyond that, I’m afraid to look.

I am always amazed by people who have clean kitchens. I suppose it helps if you have a lot of cupboard space. We don’t. We store things right out in plain view. Next to the bags of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and oranges, there are two or three cans of coffee, a sewing machine, jars of mint and basil, bulghur, a frying pan, a container of my mother’s homemade granola, wine, crackers, and a half-eaten cake. When my wife wants to roll out pizza dough or make pie crust, we have to move everything to the kitchen table to make room.

But, that’s okay. The arrangement has taught us to be efficient. We wash the dishes every half hour or so, and immediately recycle every bit of waste. Fruit and vegetable trimmings go into a blue plastic bucket, and are then transferred to the backyard, where they are dumped into a pit to make compost, which is later added to the space where we grow tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

In short, we have a system. What looks like chaos to the casual observer is really the result of many years of trial and error — mostly error. The best part, though, is when the kitchen fills with people, who are somehow drawn to the tiny space between stove and counter, and who take turns lifting lids to see what’s bubbling underneath.

Potatoes in a Pinch

Potatoes. Where would we be without them? Get out your biggest frying pan, but some butter in there, and start slicing. Leave the peels on. It saves time and adds flavor. Add some thinly sliced onion and bell pepper. Salt and pepper. If you have it, use a generous sprinkling of dry purple basil. (Armenians call this rehan. If you can’t find it in a natural foods store, get a package of seeds and grow some. It’s great.) Serve on a big platter. Garnish with parsley. (I prefer the kind with flat leaves.) Goes with just about anything.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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