Good Food Blog
Reclaiming the kitchenPosted at 11:45AM, 06 May 2008 by Jenni Muir - Food writer
My parents have been staying with us for several weeks and, as I've been really busy at work, Mum took charge of all the shopping and cooking. It's been a great help but, as soon as we'd deposited them at Stansted airport (they're working in Ireland for a while), I felt the need to head to the kitchen and reclaim my turf.
First I had to find everything. Measuring jugs and beakers for the hand-blender were hiding in the saucepan cupboard. The soup pot was sitting right at the back, instead of in easy reach at the front (I make a lot of soup!). The cafetiere was on the bench, not over on the shelves; teaspoons in the big spoon compartment; mixing bowls in with the crockery. Of course, whenever we or anyone else goes to stay with them, they have the same problem - doesn't everybody?
Mum keeps one spoonful of every dish she's made in little plastic containers in the hope that one day it will all turn into lunch...
But finding the cupboard under the sink now contains Tupperware I haven't seen for ten years is nothing compared to the alien state of the fridge. And it's here I realise I am no longer such a chip off the old block. We both have a tendency to keep scraps: mine are vegetable trimmings for making stocks and soups, and the last bits of cheese which (in theory at least) are for turning into potted cheese or for sprinkling over pasta.
Mum keeps one spoonful of every dish she's made in little plastic containers in the hope that one day it will all turn into lunch Ã¢ÂÂ not so much leftovers as a museum of the past week's meals. She goes and buys what she wants to cook for dinner; I look in the vegetable drawer and see what needs to be cooked before it goes off. She has a hundred ways with spring and summer vegetables but leaves me to do the cabbage, which is actually very easy, she's just not used to it.
Still, a few extra minutes to find things and a day or two of working through the unknown country that is the fridge is a small price to pay for their company, a gleaming oven (I'm sure it wasn't that clean when we bought it) and a balcony full of happy herbs. For while I've developed my own grown-up habits when it comes to cooking, in the cleaning and gardening departments I'm still a dozy teenager.
What are the best tips you've learned - or failed to pick up - from your mother?