We are closing on our new house in 2 1/2 weeks. This means that I am in the process of packing up. And the question is always, “What can I live without for the next x-number of days?” In going through the kitchen, I’m pretty sure we don’t need 36 wine glasses–until we move and unpack again, we can probably get by with two. Do we really need 40 plastic containers, or can we live with, say, five or six? Will I be doing so much frenzied baking over the next couple of weeks that I need both stand mixers? How about the blender? Will we be whipping up piña coladas before summer?
For a kitchen pack rat like me, this will be an exercise in minimalism. If Bittman can work in a kitchen the size of a half-bath, do I really need to keep all of my pots and pans, cake tins and accoutrements out and within reach before May 1? I guess not. So, I will grudgingly pack away a bunch of stuff. If I were to be brutally honest with myself, which I guess I am being as I sit here, I would tell myself that I can do without all of it. One or two pots and pans, some tongs, my chef knife and a wooden spoon, and I can cook for us with no problem.
But what about the baking? What if I feel the need to make a cake, or a quick bread? Or muffins?! What if I need a muffin between now and May?! I can’t bring myself to buy the Scary Kind in the grocery store. Most of the food on the aisles isn’t real food anyway; it’s just manufactured product. Some factories make car seats. Some make baseball bats. Some make Cheese Doodles. And that’s the world in which we live. Uh oh. I feel myself trying to sidle up onto my soap box. I will resist the urge right now; I’m talking about packing. Right then; focus, Jen.
Anyway, to be Spartan about the whole packing thing (if it were up to The Beloved, we’d already have bare walls and be sleeping on an air mattress), in the baking arena, I can make do with:
- cast iron skillet
- mixing bowl (okay, maybe 2)
- wooden spoon
With these five Kitchen Implements, I can make cornbread, quick bread, shortbread and upside down cake. Heck, I can even make brownies. I can whip up a Little Something and still be relatively Draconian in my packing. The Beloved will be proud, and I’ll have baking choices. Win-win!
Oh, and speaking of corn bread, here:
Pre-Move, Last Chance Cornbread
- 2 oz. oil
- 2 oz. melted butter
- 8 oz. whole eggs
- 4 oz. sugar
- 1 can corn, well drained
- chopped pickled jalapenos, to taste
- 4 oz. shredded cheddar or jack cheese
- 12 oz. all purpose flour
- 8 oz cornmeal
- .3 oz. salt
- .6 oz. baking powder
- 2 grams baking soda
- 8.3 oz. buttermilk
Whisk dry ingredients together really well.
Whisk wet ingredients (minus 1 oz. cheese) together really well.
Whisk wet into dry just until smooth-ish.
Melt about 2 oz. butter in your 9″ cast iron skillet.
Pour in batter and smooth. Sprinkle on last ounce of grated cheese.
Bake at 375F until deep golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool for a few minutes, then slice and eat.
Notes: All the mix-ins–cheese, corn, jalapenos–are optional, so change them or leave them out; it’s your choice. Add some cayenne or smoked paprika to the mix. Maybe some chili powder. Make it yours.
Well, I gotta go pack now.