Hey now people! What’s going on? Everybody got their partridge in the pear trees all ready? That’s right, it is December 1st and you have made it! In the past 50 years, Christmas has really never been a holiday that has brought much joy, really. Well, I guess when I was a school kid, I looked forward to Winter break and getting to sleep in and watch cartoons and playing football or three flys up with the neighborhood boys in the streets till our fingers were frozen and our noses were red and runny. Yeah, it got that cold in the San Gabriel Valley. True it never really got below 50 degrees most afternoons and when we had visitors from places that were accustomed to snow days and wind chill, they used to laugh at us all bundled up and call us “Pussies!” Well, you know what, “Meow…meow.”
Here is a little music from back in the day and truly words to live by….please press play….
When I got older and started working, winters were a nuisance. In my twenties, before I could drive, winter meant cold waits at the bus stop, long walks in shoes that didn’t fit but I bought them at the thrift store so the kids could get their shoes from Sketchers as I hated Payless Shoes because they fell apart and they made the kids feet smell. Sketchers was a step above Payless, really. I remember staying up late wrapping gifts that I would buy haphazardly on Christmas Eve as it was hard to hide anything from the prying hands and eyes of the gang of four. I tried to give them one big item that they wanted and I got them several little items from Santa that I bought from Pic n’ Save and the 99 Cent Store so they could spend Christmas morning opening gifts while I slept on the couch. Traditions, you know. That is how Bad mother breakfasts came about. Usually, I had to head off to work somewhere later that Christmas morning, the time and a half thing. I must say, I was truly the luckiest Mom, ever. My kids would get excited over getting new under wear and socks, really or PJs. It makes me glad that they grew up sans social media. There was no competition of who had the best Christmas lights or best party or who got the best gifts. Most of the kids that my children went to school with were all in the same economic class. Thank God we did not have to see endless photos of holiday plates of dinners either full plates or half eaten food and selfies. The simple life…Oh yeah, that brings me to my favorite things, at least a few of them right now. You know the things that make life easier, kitchen utensils.
First of all, I am not embedding this with affiliate links! I am not trying to monetize this post or any of my posts. Me, I am just passing on the gobbly gook that has been swirling around in my head in hopes that it may help my kids. You see, this whole pandemic thing has people crying fowl (pun intended- bock bock) about having their rights infringed upon because they can’t carry on their usual business and such. Me, I get to stay home, as usual and pass judgement, not really. Really, I just keep all these ideas in my head waiting to speak to someone or write about it. Anyhow, when I was cooking, I thought that I might as well pass on a few pointers to my kids about the things I liked to keep in the kitchen when I am hungry but have a tight budget and gourmet taste buds.
To begin with, the above photo represents the only utensils I would keep if I were told to throw everything out and only keep 10 items. Okay, I am fudging, I would keep an additional three items, my Mom’s rolling pin and her molcajete with pestle for grinding. ( I am Hispanic so you know I am hiding a soup pot under my skirt.) I will photograph those at a later time. In the photo above are two knives. A santoku and a chef’s knife. A pastry brush, a spatula, mini ceramic sauce pan, 9 inch cast iron casserole (with cover), bamboo spoon, metal tongs (to save my other non-burned finger tips), a clay roasting dish – this is Pampered Chef item and the small one. (get bigger one than I have if you have a bigger family). Personally, I could McGuyver a full Thanksgiving feast with the utensils in that photo, really and feed at least 15 people comfortably. I would need foil and wax paper and a grill, but still. The funny thing is that with the exception of the roasting pan, all were inexpensive items. The brush and spatula are from the 99 cent store. The knives are Chef Mate from a restaurant supply store and cost less than 10 dollars each. I do however have a great sharpener/honer. Once upon a time, I owned a couple of prized Hinckles, I hope the chef that inherited those appreciated all the work that I had to do to purchase those fine pieces of metal that I was not allowed to take with me when the restaurant sold. Not sure how they became part of the inventory. The past owner would have never bought Hinkles! Anyhow, they mysteriously disappeared. Really though, a Chef Mate is just as good as a Hinkle as long as it feels good in the users hands. Trust me, the eater will not know that you cut that choice piece of beef with a butter knife or a 400 dollar piece of finely honed steel as long as you cooked and seasoned it properly.
Next, and this will be short and sweet. Do keep the following items on hand (if humanly possible). Always try to keep the basics, salt, pepper, flour, sugar, milk, butter, oil, and eggs. There are other fresh items that I try to keep like all the time like an onion and celery but really if you have to you can do with out. With those items, you have a good foundation and can make thousands of things and have your own Chopped! competition if you are looking for games to play…just saying….What would be on your list of must have and favorites?
Here one more song break as I surely need it! This was shot at the Indio Date Festival in 2018 and features my favorite performer named Lou Gramm!!! I love, love LOVE this song, Midnight Blue and felt like a giddy teenager as soon as I heard that first familiar click, you know that click. The drummer, secure behind that drummer condom, keeping perfect rhythm and the guitarist, hitting those chords just right. I was right back there, in the back of my Dad’s burgundy ’87 Buick Park Avenue, listening to my Lou Gramm CD. I didn’t own a CD player and that was the only way I could hear it back then. Oh sorry about that…it gets easy for me to get lost in a memory…Please press play.
I just saw a post regarding the fate of the Date Festival here in Indio, California. It is an annual event and draws needed revenue for many hard working families here in the Coachella Valley. The pandemic has shuddered the event this year and now there is talk that it may not be returning, ever. Truly, this cannot be the case? I have only been to one since I have moved here from Los Angeles in 2015. This festival and many of the festivals that are held across the US are the only way that people like me have the chance to see our favorites musical acts from the past that maybe we never had the chance to see when we were younger. Trust me, I would have paid more than the amount that we paid to see Mr. Lou Gramm that night just as we paid to see a Bob Seeger tribute band right at the start of the pandemic in Laughlin, Nevada. So, hopefully, if the eyes that are reading this has any say in politics and passing legislation, please be sure to help fund art and entertainment, as well art and music in education. Again, sorry, I will get off my soap box again. I know I am a silly, pot smoking Grama but really, I do mean well and all our cannabis taxes…
Well, you made it to the end of this post! Hope I gave you a couple of things to think about or ideas to try. I guess it is the Grama thing. Where ever in the world you are may you have a day that is peaceful and may all your lights be green. Hugs to you and you and don’t forget to keep washing those hands and covering those sneezes…thank you!