Sunday, December 26, 2004

Ingredients for a Special Christmas

Due to the fact that Clever Grandma's kitchen is being renovated, the crock pot in her small, make-shift kitchen has been getting quite a workout.

Smartmom stands corrected. The pot in Clever Grandma's kitchen is actually a Presto Pot: a pot with a cooking element built right in. It is not a slow cooking crock pot but rather an efficient stove subsitute.

A Presto Pot is a handy thing. Great for trailers, small kitchens, and kitchen renovations: ssential tool for fast, creative cooking in a pinch.

On Christmas Day, Clever Grandma used the Presto Pot to steam sweet potatoes, to cook cranberry sauce, and to make Wasil, a hot mulled cider. She never once had to clean the pot. Because the oven was working in the work-in-porgress kitchen, the group was also able to bake the ham, the pumpkin pies and Clever Grandma's famous scallopped oysters.

On Christmas eve, Hepcat made a salmon risotto in the Presto Pot that was as good or better than any risotto he's ever made. And that's saying a lot. The night before that, a savory ground turkey meat sauce was prepared a la Presto Pot as was the linguine.

Exploring the possibilities of Presto Pot cooking has added an element of adventure - gastronomic and inter-personal - to this Christmas visit.

The lack of heat, too, has contributed favorably to the family dynamic. Huddling together by the fire encourages bonding and good conversation. Everything takes place near the fireplace: working on the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, dressing up OSFO's Kit doll, drinking coffee, reading one of the thousands of interesting books in Clever Grandma's library, computering, talking.

As for sleeping arrrangements, three of four of the Smartmom clan have been sleeping in the same bed for warmth. The grouping changes nightly depending on who gets to the bed in the room with the electric heater first. Last night it was Smartmom, OSFO, and Teen Spirit. The night before it was Hepcat, OSFO, and Smartmom. The slow poke ends up on the floor of the warm room or under three covers in the icy cold bedroom with the broken electric heater. It's warm under the covers but mighty cold if you venture out to the bathroom. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Hopefully this post has disabused you of any notions that Smartmom and Co. are having a warm and sunny vacation in warm and sunny California. Northern California is a different kind of California.

But there is no place Smartmom would rather be than this magical house, Hepcat's childhood home. Drinking Wasil by the fire, she watches her urban children quickly adapt to life on the farm. Smartmom and Co. are blessed to have this balance in their lives -- Brooklyn on the one hand, the San Joaquin Valley on the other.

Who knows what the Presto Pot has in store for today? Something delicious no doubt. And when the oil tank gets refilled, Smartmom may be a little bit wistful. A little bit warmer too. But wistful just the same.

No heat. No kitchen. Ingredients for a special Christmas.


At 10:20 AM, Blogger Udge said...

Sounds like fun, and yes, I am disabused. One (this one) always forgets that there is more to California than Big Sur.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger mamainwaiting said...

sounds awful cozy in California. You're really living like pioneers out there - keeping warm by the fire, cooking in the ye old presto pot. sounds like a lot of fun and togetherness. Glad you're having such a good time. MIW


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