La Gioia della Tavola
I'm going to go off my beaten path a little here today. I read an article in yesterday's NY Times that has been popping in and out of my head for the last 24 hours- that can be quite a dangerous thing. Now, many of you know that I work at a couple of different professions, among them trainer/nutritionist, designer/decorator and cooking teacher, so I'm thinking I might have a bit of credibility in this discussion. Here is the article.
I'll preface this by saying that I believe the people I live and work with on a daily basis are a fairly normal and average representation of society. (well, okay- maybe not the people I live with...). The majority of the women work outside the home and, due to the close proximity of 2 major university hospitals and the Research Triangle Park, many hold occupations in either the fields of medicine, corporate administration, or IT. In short, these are busy people.
A chicken nugget button?? 1 button pizza?? Bar coded food??? REALLY?? I honestly can't wrap my brain around the fact that enough people cook chicken nuggets often enough to warrant LOOKING to buy a machine that does it with one button! Now, my boys happen to be the ones that would eat chicken nuggets 6 times a week if I let them- they are the world's pickiest eaters- thanks to my culinarily impossible husband. (He's lucky I love him, but that's for another post) I'm amazed.
Now, granted, I can only form my opinions based on what I know. As you are all by now aware, I was fortunate enough to be raised with a family that lived for and BY their food. I was taught from an early age to love and appreciate every morsel that we were blessed enough to have on our table. My grandmothers both lived and cooked their way through wars and Depression. I know that I get constant requests for cooking classes from busy working families. Our local Whole Foods and farmer's markets are always packed.
I'm a trainer/nutritionist. I start my day every morning at 5 a.m. in a gym. I do NOT subscribe to the theory that in order to be thin and healthy, you have to look at food as "sustenance" and nothing more. Food is one of the great pleasures of life and that's the way it should be. There are wonderful meals that can be put together in the time it takes to boil water or throw a steak on the grill. There's something to be said for the release of daily stress that happens in the 5 minutes it takes to slice an onion and chop a tomato. Personally, I get rid of a ton of frustration using my mezzaluna on cilantro. :)
So tell me- are you a gadget person?? When you're shopping for your home and kitchen, do you look for appliances that "specialize" and make quick work of convenience foods?
A toaster/egg maker
Do you keep a bare bones kitchen with only a whisk, mixing bowl and good knife?
Or do you, like me, fall somewhere in between?
I will tell you that I could not survive without my stand mixer and food processor- they are used multiple times daily.
I will never have clear expanses of countertop. S-i-g-h...
My panini press died and I am in mourning- it will be replaced as soon as I find one on sale.
I love my rice cooker/steamer, though admittedly I could survive without it. I just don't want to
My immersion blender is one of my favorite toys as is my torch (hmmm, my husband is giving me a strange look)
I don't use a bread machine simply because I don't see the need for us. I have a heavy duty stand mixer to knead dough if I want it to and I actually love seeing it rise in my oven or on my counter. There's a lot of satisfaction there.
So, I'm honestly curious and look forward to your responses. What kind of cooking do you do? Is it a family affair or a one-man show? Are these gadgets really the wave of the future? Inquiring minds want to know. The answers may also help me in the planning of future classes, though I don't expect to be able to figure out bar-coded food any time soon. I'll follow up and let you all know what I find out
Now for the fun stuff. My Grandma Josie always told me that no matter what appears on our table or how it gets there, it should look beautiful and make your family and guests feel special. She imparted her love of linens and textiles to me and I always remember her when setting a table
This table was actually done in less than 10 minutes. A former client and her daughter called and wanted to drop by.
These place mats and napkins were found at an estate sale in upstate NY about 8 years ago. I love how they seem to "say" Spring.
The cake server is resting on a vintage ceramic knife rest with a tiny vase attached- so cute!
Had to bring in the bunnies- Easter is just around the corner
silver rose napkin rings
and an old sugar scuttle to go with the ivory coffee set
Syracuse cake plates found in a thrift shop in NY
Can you see the mottled pale yellow glaze and mother of pearl inside the cups? The china is so thin as to be almost transparent
We are joining our lovely hostess Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her Tablescape Thursday party! No matter what or how you cook, remember to appreciate
"La Gioia della Tavola"
Buon Alimento, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie
I have to add a post-script here. After reading this post, my husband pointed out that the Advantium microwave that was installed by our builder has a chicken nugget setting! Who knew??!! In my defense, it's only been 3 years- you didn't honestly expect that I'd have read the directions to the thing by now, did you? I only learned to use "defrost" a week and a half ago!