It is always different cooking in someone else’ kitchen. Things inevitably are not in the spot I would expect. Some kitchens are better than others. My kitchen is very small, but really functional. Because it is open to the biggest room in our house, it feels much bigger than it is. A few of my favorite items in our kitchen are our Grohmann knives, our GE stove with its convection oven, and little Miss Nancy. Now before you going thinking that I am forcing my sister Nancy to cook for us, our Nancy is a wonderful rancillio espresso maker that has been with us for more than twenty years and a regular part of our family. I hope that Gordie never has to admit which girl he loves best… it might be a close call.
The kitchen that I am using right now, might have come directly out of an IKEA showroom. Even the dishes and cutlery has an IKEA stamp on it. The kitchen is small, but looks quite modern, very similar to the in-store displays that I have wandered through when living in Ottawa. It is in fact quite clean and pretty.
Great a nice clean, modern kitchen to use for a month. Unfortunately, when I started to try to use the kitchen I found a few things lacking. For instance there is no oven, just a four burner counter top stove. There are no bowls, we are now rationing mugs for coffee/tea and for cereal/dessert. There are no mixing bowls. The microwave is a grey metal box which keeps running until time runs out, whether or not you have opened it and removed your food. There are two dials, one for time in minutes, the second for power. The power dial is a bit of a mystery to me. It has settings 1 through 5 which I am guessing are increasing power amounts. After 5 it continues with C1, C2, and C3 then ends with a G. Perhaps the C1-C3 might be convection, but the G has me stumped. Perhaps it means Go For It! So far power level 5 seems to heat up a mug of water for tea in about 1 and 1/2 minutes give or take.
Please let’s not even discuss the knives here. One thing that I really considered before we left home was figuring out how to bring good knives with me. I love cooking and good, sharp knives are a necessity. Unfortunately, I could not imaging trying to explain at customs, just exactly why I need really sharp knives. Especially if I had to explain in an language that was not English.
One little side note. I now understand why some people in the past have insisted that I must be northern European. Ever since we got off the plan in Iceland, I have looked like I belong in each country we have visited. There are many people here who look like me. Lots of others who look like they need to buy a sun lamp and whose eyebrows and eyelashes are all but invisible. The downside of looking so at home is that most people we run into assume that I am a local and thus should be able to speak, Icelandic, Dutch, or German. At the monument at the Wall, the man selling information packages tried to sell me a dutch one when I stared blankly at his German. I really wish I could speak some of each language. I am sure that I would get even more out of this experience. That said, people have been just great with my smiles, points and Dankes.
Sorry my “little” side note ended up being pretty long.
Despite the limitations of the kitchen, we are having lots of fun cooking and eating. Everyone is helping and having fun guessing what some of the ingredients are. For example, tonight we had pan-fried white fish. The type of fish is still a mystery, but it was very tasty. We have been working on simplifying our diet, getting rid of the little processed foods that we used to eat, and eating even more fruits and vegetables. Today marks the start of me getting rid of simple sugars from my diet. I don’t do well with them. My blood sugar spikes and I am very, very happy, then it plummets and I am very, very tired and, worst of all cranky.