Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Joy? of Cooking

Cooking is interesting, challenging, and rewarding here. First, of course, all of you cooks know how difficult it is to cook in someone else's kitchen. Its even harder when they aren't there to tell you where things are. Are there no bread pans, or is it just that I can't find them? It took me five days to find the cutting boards! Adjusting to a gas stove instead of electric takes a little bit of effort, as well.

Then there is the matter of cooking for two versus cooking for five. (Rev. and Mrs. Wilcox have a 5 year old daughter and 3 year old twins--one girl, one boy.) All the pans, bowls, and even liquid measuring cups are in giant sizes. They work, but they sure do fill up the dish washer! Some foods come only in larger sizes here. Forget the small flat can of pineapple--it comes in big cans only. Likewise there are no 3 oz. packages of Jello in the stores, only the big 6 oz. kind. Some standard items aren't carried at all, e.g., IMO. In general, however, it is astounding how complete is the selection of even specialty items such as non-dairy ice cream.

Even more shocking is the price of food. Everything is more expensive, as we knew, but some are outrageous. The 2 lb. package of Kirkland brand pecans that we buy at Costco for--what--about $12? Here it sells for $25. I've included some pictures to show you what "seasonal" fresh produce costs. So we do some menu adjusting.

Of course the menu here is delightful. At home, people ask if you'd like a zucchini, or perhaps some tomatoes. Here we get a phone message announcing that there are crabs waiting for us on the front porch for dinner. (And sure enough, there were three live Dungeness crabs in a big white utility pail on the front porch.) Or George's fishing partner will call and say, "Come over and get some Red (Sockeye) salmon fillets,"--and that means enough for four meals! Of course since George has been going fishing we also have halibut and cod available. The only dilemma is what kind of fish to have for supper!

It is easy to see how native cultures in coastal areas thrived. The bounty of the sea is not just a metaphor--it is very real.

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