Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Ghost of Julia, Past and Present

My son gave me a new, brushed stainless steel toaster for Christmas. No doubt he was tired of hearing me whine about the cheap small appliances I buy at Big Lots. So he paid handsomely for a good one. It is so good in fact, that it reminds me of the church I go to when I’m not sleeping in.

Let us pray. Please kneel. (The bread slowly slips down the slot.) Amen.
Please stand. (The blessed slice of bread pops up as though resurrected.) Sing Hallelujah!

I named my brand new, over-sized brushed stainless steel toaster, Miz T. She has more ways of cooking bread and bagels than Julia Child had butter to spread on them.

In addition, she speaks to me in gentle, female language that I can understand ~ after my second cup of Starbucks, that is. My upscale toaster converses with a quiet Ping! Ping! when the toast is ready, but should I need more time for preparing other foods, Miz T happily keeps the toasted toast as warm as … well, toast.

All I have to do is locate the correct button on the face of the toaster and give it a slight click. There are way too many buttons to choose for my small brain to comprehend. I keep a book of instructions close by that I don’t attempt to read until after Mr. Starbucks has kicked in.

With the knowledge that a newfangled piece of electronics was living in my tiny little kitchen, how could I be satisfied with the bargain microwave bought at Big Lots when I was in too big a hurry to be selective? And the twenty-dollar toaster/oven from WalMart next to it looked seriously gross. It was white when I bought it and remained that no-color until after I set it on fire along with the leftovers inside of it. It had to go. In foodie lingo, the old toaster-oven was toast.

I may be getting on up there in age, but I can Google and email as well as a fifth grader. In my opinion, that translates to ‘I’m an up-to-date, electronic state-of-the-arts kinda gal.’ So by all rights, shouldn’t my kitchen footprint reflect the authentic ME and not the best bargain brand to be found at Big Lots or Walmart?

So I gently rubbed my hand over Miz T, my new electronic toaster, and when I did, was inspired to ask her two questions: What would Julia think of my mish-mash of a kitchen? (I shuddered at the thought). Okay then, what would Julia do? Duh.

The answer my friends, was not blowin’ in the wind. In epicurean lingo, you might say that the answer was a piece of cake, as obvious as a partridge in a pear tree. If I learned anything at all after reading Julie’s blog that inspired the movie I went to see twice, I can guess what the lady in question would do if she were me.

The Queen of Chop Chop would haul her considerable tush down to an upscale appliance store where she would gush over one thing and another in that easily recognized voice of hers. And then she would very grandly pull a wad of cash from her 1960’s style patent leather pocketbook and put her money where her mouth was most comfortable … in good food and the appliances that make them good. That’s what Julia always did and that’s what she would do if she were in my situation.

A kitchen timer waits for no one.

I beat it downtown today and am proud to report that I am now the proud owner of a new brushed stainless steel Panasonic microwave oven and a new brushed stainless steel Oster Toaster Oven. They match each other. They also match their holier-than-thou sister (the Sainted Miz T), best known for kneeling and praying for a better life than her predecessor.

My two newbies are both biggies so I no longer have much counter space on which to work. But so what? Just this morning I learned how to poach an egg in less than a nanosecond in my new microwave. I warmed up leftover sausage in my new toaster/oven, and then got down on my knees and prayed with Miz T that my bagel would rise up with a soft-sounding Ping! and not be burnt at the stake. I was justly rewarded.

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

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