04 August 2013


America certainly has its issues, especially where the government and the phrase “Land of the Free” come in but the country is still good for a few things. First, the land is beautiful and, even though people have to pay to get into many great parks, a good bit of that land is visible free of charge. In one country, we have snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, plains, beaches, lakes, oceans, rivers, a gulf, wetlands, desserts, quarries, cities, farms and four seasons.

Secondly, the American Dream does still exist and it is great to know that I come from a country that allows an individual, in most cases, to succeed no matter which caste or family a person is from. I say in most cases because, let’s be honest, high school is not like that at all.

The third thing America is good for is food. The Land of the Dwindling Freedoms has a ton of great restaurants, chefs, cookbooks, cooking and entertainment classes and food tours that center around an amazing melting pot of flavors from nearly every country in the world. And where are those fabulous dishes made? The majority are produced in kitchens.

In America, the kitchen is considered one of the most important rooms in the home, often a focal point, especially for entertaining. Kitchen appearance and functionality rank near the top of nearly all house-hunting lists and one of the top two most remodeled rooms within a home is, you guessed it, the kitchen. Kitchens are beautiful. Dream kitchens are spacious. Kitchens are functional and custom designed. Kitchens make people happy.

I have recently discovered that I have obviously taken all of my American kitchens (five between graduating college and moving to Singapore) for granted. None has been my perfect, dream kitchen but at least they all worked and we had enough room (sometimes barely) for our belongings.

Our kitchen in Singapore was a nightmare because of the fake storage (there appeared to be cabinets but nearly half the kitchen cupboards were merely decorative), the constantly-breaking oven and the strange layout. On the flip side, I had a tremendous amount of counter space and likely the biggest kitchen compared to the rest of my friends so I got by.

Here in PNG, we have a long kitchen but, again, I find myself in a hate-hate relationship with my kitchen. While I enjoy a pseudo island that is technically a peninsula against the wall, usable counter space is limited. We do have more shelves, cupboards and drawers than we had in Singapore but the shelves lack usable height and almost all of the cupboards smell like mold when the doors open.

All of that is pretty easy to manage most of the time so most of my anger, frustration and rage is directed at the appliances, minus the now-to-me-giant-refrigerator, which I almost love, and a dishwasher that I could never hate because I don’t actually have one.

I hate my flat-top stove because I cannot easily control and monitor the temperatures. I hate that there is a ventilating unit above the stove that, other than the light feature, doesn’t actually work. I hate an oven that does not evenly cook food. I hate that the oven bends the oven sheets. And the whole set hates me back by not producing the great food I and my husband know I can make.

I hate that I have one skillet and that everything sticks to it. No matter what I put in the skillet, the skillet never comes away clean. Potatoes stick, meatballs stick, burgers stick, pancakes stick, eggs stick. And don’t tell me it’s because I don’t have a substance like butter or oil in the pan when needed because I do.

In those cases, two things happen. First, if I use butter on say, bread, to toast some buns to be used for sandwiches, the buns stick. The buns have butter on them and the buttery bread sticks to the pan! If I use butter or oil to cook something in the middle of the pan, the butter or oil around the edges smokes and fills the whole place. And most food burns before it cooks, even on a low setting.

I tried again this morning, a peaceful Sunday morning, to make a fabulous breakfast consisting of pancakes from a mix since I don’t have a lot of supplies, hand-made hashbrowns with scallions and some eggs that I would either do scrambled or over easy, depending on how I was feeling in the last three minutes.

I went to war with the oven, the stove and the ventilating system this morning. Paul ate a few unremarkable pancakes, I ate one semi-normal and one undercooked yet brown pancake in addition to a hashbrown that was on par with the latter pancake. I did not make eggs because I was too furious with the pan that had emitted enough smoke to kill my sense of smell due to the amount of overcooked butter surrounding the skillet’s edge. Three pancakes were sacrificed in the process and, yes, the temperature was set to low.

This morning I vowed to never make breakfast again. 

1 comment:

Mom said...

I bet you will make breakfast again, & knowing you, it will be amazing! You know the saying, if at first you don't succeed, try try again!😁even in PNG