Sunday, November 20, 2005

Snippets from the Kitchen

To Grind or Not to Grind

So I bought these little disposal grinders/spices because they were on sale. McCormick makes 'em. One was "garlic pepper" and one was sea salt. Like I said, they were a buck a piece from

I can't use 'em because they kill my hands. I think I might be able to use them if I put on rubber gloves (like the ones you wear to wash the dishes, if you're not fortunate enough to have a dish washer). But, donning the rubber gloves to season my chicken wings doesn't appeal somehow.

By the by, those rubber gloves increase your grip strength a lot, if you're doing something where the trusty jar opener doesn't help.

So, I'm going to give the little grinders to my sister, who cooks more than I do anyway.

Yes, I know there are other ways, tools to grind spices -- I'm not that interested, this was strictly a whim. Although it would have been cool, if I had been able to use a little grinder, off the shelf, for a buck.

When did Sara Lee Take Over the World?

All of a sudden, I'm aware of Sara Lee having way more products out there than I expect to see, including all manner of bread.

Most of my efforts at self-improvement are contingent on the effort being relatively painless. Hence, I have checked out both the Wonder Bread and the Sara Lee varieties of white bread that is "whole grain". If I understand the "experts" correctly, "whole grain" is what's good for you, "whole wheat" can be misleading, in that it can be no better for you than regular old white bread.

The Sara Lee "soft" white "whole grain" bread is good stuff. Makes good toast anyway. I'm on a kick of putting honey on my toast -- not because it might be slightly more healthy than jam, it is just a phase I'm going through.

The Wonder Bread equivalent (and I am a life-long eater of Wonder Bread, particularly for peanut butter and jam (not jelly) sandwiches) is nasty. Cardboard like. Don't buy it unless you're into small, bread-shaped frisbees.

I Won't Convert

My mom is a good cook. I never really realized how good until I was about 12 and ate dinner at a neighbor's house. The neighbor was a perfectly nice woman, but a lousy cook. It made me feel sorry for my friend, the daughter of the bad cook.

I grew up on Uncle Ben's Converted white rice. In the intervening years, I have learned that other types of rice, including brown rice, are better for my health. I don't care, I don't like brown rice.

The latest incarnation of Uncle Ben's, called "Ready Rice", is great, particularly for crips. It's about 2 servings (as a side dish), one serving for me, as I usually use it as a base for a bunch of broccoli or string beans. You nuke the package in the microwave for 90 seconds, and you've got perfect rice.

Yes, at $1.99 a package, it isn't the most cost effective way to eat rice. I understand this. But, given my typical alternatives of 1) a Stouffer's entree, which can be between $2.50 - $4.50; or 2) fast food, average $5.00, I'm still coming out ahead. Plus, I'm eating it with real vegetables (with real butter and salt).

Elegan by Rubbermaid Gets me Steaming

This is a great steamer for the microwave. It is sturdy and doesn't feel like you're getting a nice extra coating of plastic on your food. I've used it mostly for steaming broccoli and cauliflower, my favs. It is also comes through the dish washer like a dream.

This is the perfect example of a crip friendly piece of kitchen equipment. "Crip friendly" because as long as your microwave is set up at a good height for you, you can do most of your cooking in it sitting down. What really makes microwave sit-down cooking work for me is having a lot of counter space free to set hot things down, stirring, switching dishes and the like.

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