Confessions of an Easy-Baker
“This is a PYGMY?” husband-head asked with disbelief when I set his dinner plate in front of him. “Aren’t those the small hunter-gatherer people in Africa?”I rolled my eyes.”No, it’s PANINI,” I corrected him. “They’re grilled Italian sandwiches and very popular right now.”Husband-head still peered between the slices of bread – just to make sure.”It’s pretty much like a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, only it has grill lines going through it,” husband-head summed up after he’d eaten it. “We bought a whole new applicance for that?”Actually, husband-head was the person who had given me the panini maker as a gift recently, knowing how much I like kitchen and cooking gadgets. I love to cook – which doesn’t at all mean I’m a good one – but, like they say, it’s fun to play with your food.I made quesadillas, grilled chicken, vegetables, steak and seafood on my new panini maker – which basically consists of a hot grill pan on the bottom and another adjustable one on top that lowers onto it.”STOP it, already!” husband-head screamed, holding his gut after I put yet another panini experiment on the table. “You’re like a little kid with a new toy! I can’t eat another bite!”You should have seen me as a little girl with my Easy-Bake oven, pal …But the panini maker is just one in a long line of kitchen paraphernalia I’ve collected in the last 15 years since husband-head and I have been together.We won’t talk about paraphernalia before that …Prior to the panini maker, I had also recently acquired an omelette pan. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to make an omelette that even resembled what they serve at the Village Inn restaurants.Husband-head is not a big breakfast-eater, but he does like an occasional omelette on Sunday mornings. So I would put out the Sunday newspaper, light the fireplace and a scented candle and put some smooth jazz on the stereo while I proceeded to make him a nice Sunday breakfast.However, the string of obscenities that flew out of my mouth as the omelette completely fell apart when I tried to flip it and put it on the plate totally ruined the mood …That is, until I discovered a little plastic omelette pan at the grocery store for $3.99.This sucker takes two minutes to cook the eggs in the microwave, fill and flip it and turn out a perfect omelette that even Emeril Lagasse would be proud of.My best friend, Marianne, gave me a breadmaker for Christmas. I’ve now made white bread, wheat bread, French bread, Italian bread and bread you could use as military weapons when you forget to put in the yeast …And if it doesn’t turn out, you can always just make a panini with it.At one time, I went on a “mini” spree with my new mini muffin tins and mini meatloaf pans.”It looks like you’re cooking for Barbie,” husband-head observed, with a raised eyebrow, looking at his mini-meal. “Next thing, you’re going to want to have a make-believe tea party…”However, he did like the football crockpot with the little wieners and barbecue sauce in it during football season.And the decorative ice cream cone milkshake containers were a hit, as were the sundae glasses – but only because of their contents.The Bloomin’ Onion maker with all its blades nearly sent me to the hospital. And I would advise from experience that chefs NOT drink multiple glasses of wine while operating the Fry Daddy…My butter warmers, like the kind you get at a restaurant when ordering a lobster, are still sitting on the shelf collecting dust, although it’s just cool to have them.The pizza stone has seen plenty of action, but I’m not sure exactly how to use the lemon zester.”I’m going to start calling you Gidget,” husband-head announced. “You have more gadgets than anyone I know.”Maybe so, but I’m thinking now I need one of those stove-top grill pans …Heidi Rice is a staff writer for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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