Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

jalapeno ketchup

Am I seeing jalapeno everywhere? (After the last post.)

Found this limited edition Heinz ketchup blended with jalapeno at the local Target store. It tastes the same as the original ketchup – the difference is the mild-medium spicy end note.

Ketchup is an important ingredient in my kitchen, not only as a condiment for fries and potatoes. When I cook chicken or beef curry, I often add a touch of ketchup to give it a more rounded flavor.

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lusterware japan toki

Vintage lusterware tea set, from Japan.

Once in a while, I treat myself to a flea market expedition, looking for vintage kitchen ware, something that I really enjoy.

Here are two of my recent finds, and some information that I discovered.

The lusterware tea set bears the brand “Kudo Toki”. It was made in Japan, probably some time between 1920 and 1960. Luster is a type of pottery with a metallic glaze that gives it an iridescent sheen. Lusterware was invented in Egypt and Iraq, and later became popular in England and Japan.

I like the shimmering quality, the classic design and the graceful curves of the handles.

The other is a cake plate with the mark “Schumann, Germany”. The Schumann factory was established in Bavaria, Germany in 1881. And it closed in 1994. The design is called “Wild Rose”, one of its most popular motifs.

schumann cake plate

Schumann, Germany cake plate, with wild rose

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mind escape

juiceHaving your own home is great most of the times.

But there are times when challenges crop up. Like when you’re dealing with property tax bills, and a clogged kitchen sink at the same time.

I tried all kinds of do-it-yourself remedies – bleach, liquid drain cleaner – but they didn’t work. I had stalled calling the plumber, whose fee can almost rival that of a lawyer.

So, in the midst of all this, I kept dreaming about Hawaii. Scenes of lush, verdant greenery….clear, delicate breeze flashed in my sleep.

I looked up dream interpretation dictionaries to see what this dream mean. They all say the same thing: dreams of Hawaii are symbolic of relaxation and leisure, and that the person is attempting to escape from her daily stresses.

Sounded logical, but honestly, I was disappointed with this interpretation. I had been thinking, or anticipating, that there might be a deeper meaning to this dream.

Anyway, a trip to Hawaii seemed unlikely at this juncture. I did the next best thing: attempted to recreate a feel of the restful place of my dreams. Poured fresh pineapple juice in the most resort-looking glassware that I have, put my feet up in the backyard, and tried to let my imagination do the rest.

A short escape. Before I go back to bailing out water from the sink.

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kitchen wisdom

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”

― Agatha Christie

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role of the kitchen

Cooking in a cluttered kitchen can be quite stressful.

kitchen equipment

There is always the temptation to buy more kitchen tools and gadgets.

In this season of eating and cooking, the kitchen can be quite a mess.

It might take quite a bit of effort to clean the kitchen up after all the cooking and preparation, but the reward is worth it. I think a clean uncluttered kitchen adds a lot to the enjoyment of our home.

Of course, it’s not that easy to maintain a clutter-free kitchen. There is a kind of “natural” tendency to fill up empty counter space with kitchen appliances, gadgets as well as boxes of food or soda bottles whenever there is no more space in the cabinets to store them.

I recall a report about the practical impact that a cluttered kitchen can have on people. According to the report, one of the main reasons that people give for not cooking, and buying prepared food instead, is that a cluttered or messy kitchen puts them off from cooking.

Well, that could well mean that they are spending more on their food bill, and that’s not a productive strategy in today’s economy.

There are lots of articles giving tips on how to declutter the kitchen. But the first step is probably the hardest: deciding and discarding things that we no longer use or need. Hm.., I wonder if we use the word “edit” instead of “discard”, would that make it more psychologically palatable to clear some of the clutter.

In addition, we are constantly bombarded by television commercials and images of products that promise to make us a better cook or make our lives easier. The more recent ads include the meatloaf pan that drains the fat so that you will have a perfect, non-soggy meatloaf. There was also an ad for a vertical cabinet organizer that enables you to store your spice bottles using less space, and puts them in easy reach.

I admit I was quite tempted to order it, as my spice bottles are all mixed up in the cabinet. I have been telling myself that I should separate the spices bottles into one section for savory dishes, and another for baking or sweets. But I have yet to do that.

Well, I have not succumbed to ordering the organizer yet. But I have to say that these commercials are well-made, at least for the purpose of making you want their products. Another item that we may or may not use after purchasing; a potential permanent resident on the kitchen counter.

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 Microwave oven

The microwave oven has changed the way we spend our time in the kitchen.

Can you imagine it? The microwave oven has become such a fixture in our lives and in our kitchens that we use it, without much thought, almost everyday.

We heat our food in it, we boil water for our tea or coffee in it, and some people cook dishes from scratch in the microwave. In the United States, the “convenience food” capital of the world,
you can have all your meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, even `freshly made’ desserts – with microwavable meals that you buy in the freezer section in the supermarket. Just take it out of the box and nuke it.


Popcorn and sandwiches are popular microwave snacks.

Not that it’s healthy, but there’s a huge variety of food that you can eat without putting a saucepan on the stove.

I got thinking about this when I happened to read about the history of this ubiquitous appliance. The first microwave oven for home use was introduced in October 1955 by the Tappan Stove Company of Ohio. Its size was 24”x24”, almost the size of a small conventional oven or a television set. And it cost a whopping $1,300!

As they say in the famous line, you’ve come a long way, baby, So, happy belated birthday to the microwave oven, one of the modern inventions that have revolutionized our lifestyle, like the automobile and the computer. Wonder if we will see another such innovative invention in the near future.

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