Normally in these situations, I would call Mom

23 Sep

Unfortunately that’s just not an option right now. During my sophomore year of college, the first time I was responsible for managing my own kitchen, phone calls to Mom leading right up to dinnertime were a frequent occurrence.

I really enjoy cooking, but it also stresses me out a little bit. I get sorta flustered. And I still rely pretty heavily on the experience of Mom and the Grandmas for the dishes I learned from them.

Italy doesn’t make the whole process easier. I admire the intimacy of small shops that specialize in fruit or cheese or bread or wine, but it makes it difficult when I’m searching for something a little different—like ground coriander, or elastics for my hair. Of course there are supermarkets, and they usually stock what you need or something close enough, but I struck out looking for the spices I need to make Mom’s refried beans yesterday.

Yup, that's a mortar. Somewhere nearby is a pestle.

"Hey Mom? Is it supposed to look like this?"

I also knew I wouldn’t find cheddar or jack cheese here (for less than €30/kg), so I found an Italian cheese listed as a substitute for jack cheese and went looking for that. No luck, but the cheese man suggested another kind—a substitution for my substitution. They turned out pretty good; no photos, as beans aren’t overly photogenic.

Usually I’m my own worst enemy in the kitchen. For example, today I made a spinach-ricotta pie to take to a potluck tonight, and I completely forgot to take the rolled dough out of the freezer until I was ready to pop everything in the oven. Two hours of thawing time? Merda.

Faster, faster!

3 Responses to “Normally in these situations, I would call Mom”

  1. Mom September 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Cooking from scratch is good. Somebody has to grind those spices, right?

  2. Oudekki September 23, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    But there are little shops specialized on spices (and also the “organic” shops which sell a lot of spices 🙂

  3. Monique September 25, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    I remember being INSANELY let down by the 365 cheeses France had. Nothing even came close to Mexican-style cheese.

    An enchilada really isn’t the same with Swiss fondue cheese…

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