Kitchen-y things

So tonight I made dinner: chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream (well, milk) gravy.

Implements used: my great-grandma’s cast iron skillet (circa 1896), which I received from my grandma in 1989 when I got my first apartment on my own; and my new Calphalon 8-quart pot. Potatoes in the pot, CFS and gravy in the skillet.

My stove works. For suitably broad values of "works". The burners don’t have the oomph I’m used to from the nice (new) GE stove we had/K has in Michigan, so it took a while to get the spuds to a boil (the 15,000 BTU Burner Of Doom in MI makes short work of that task), but I eventually pronounced it Dinner, ate it, and it was Good.

Then I had to clean up.

I officially hate my kitchen faucet. It’s too short, combined with a shallow sink, and that means cleaning the 8-quart stock pot and my extra-long potato masher (purchased at IKEA in Michigan at the time I was moving into a newish townhouse that had a tall faucet and a deep sink) is a bit of a challenge. The good news is that it’s in such poor shape after 20 years of use that I have authorization from the landlord to replace it.

I’ve cooked here before, of course, but it’s still satisfying to make something you like from scratch using the old family recipe (there’s a secret to the breading, and before you ask, if I tell you, it’s not a secret, hmmmm?). And there are potatoes and gravy left over for microwaving later (or, more likely, tomorrow).




    1. Oh, yes. I’m still trying to figure out the cause of the occasional thumps from above — as best I can tell, it’s squirrels and birds dropping stuff on the roof. 🙂


      1. I live in what is basically the attic of my building, and I have long since gotten used to the thump-thump-thump of squirrels and raccoons running across the roof. I have some friends on the Oregon Coast whose home emits a loud bang! at the same time every evening. It’s the wood in the roof readjusting to the heat change. Wild.

      2. Someone forgot to account for thermal expansion… one pinned joint, one allowed to slip, and Bob’s your uncle. In engineering terms, their roof is overconstrained and the cracking is not good. A lot of times, stuff like that was built properly in the first place, but someone came along, saw the slotting, and said “Well, this here thing’s loose. I’ll just fasten it down…”

  1. Okay, that does it. I’m coming to *your* house for dinner. That meal description rang all the right bells. Appliance excentricities notwithstanding.


    1. 🙂 Give me a couple more months to be fit for guests. Everything *is* on one level, at least. I should add I had a large salad at a place called “Sweet Tomato’s” for lunch, so it wasn’t an entirely Crestor/Tricor double-down day. 🙂 As far as the appliances go, I just need to get used to them. I’m going to get a decent oven thermometer so I can map out “the dial says X, the temperature is Y”, and just get used to the burners. That said, I still hope to talk G the Landlord into a new stove for re-upping for an additional year. I’m probably going to talk him into replacing the microwave/vent hood combo with the dead microwave (that I can’t get parts for as they’ve been discontinued, and if doesn’t have them, they don’t exist).


  2. That meal sounds good. I’m curious about chicken fried steak. It sounds very interesting, but fried steak? Do you do it in a deep fryer?


    1. Iron skillet with about a 1/4 inch of oil in it. It’s a round steak or cube steak (which is usually round steak that’s been run through a tenderizer machine), not exactly a prime cut. Beat the tar out of it with a meat hammer to loosen up the connective tissue, bread it, and fry it. I wouldn’t do this with filet mignon.


      1. The breading is heavier, but yes, similar idea. Wienerschnitzel uses more of a bread-crumb coating and is more of a saute, at least how my pal B’s grandmother in Wurtzberg made it. Commercially, it’s deep fried. I don’t have a Fry-O-Lator or its smaller home equivalent, so it’s iron skillet time. It’s a great piece of cookware.

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