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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thoughts from the Summer Kitchen

To cook or not to cook; that is the question. Whether it is better to turn on the oven and heat the house even more or eat peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of the week.

It is not nearly so eloquent as Shakespeare’s soliloquy in Hamlet, is it? Nor is it likely to last for 400 years and more, stimulating the philosophical imagination of millions of people. No, it is just the question we face on these hot summer days. For those with air conditioning, the question may seem even more significant as we pay to cool the house and then deliberately set one appliance working against another!

Many years ago when I was a youth, farms had no air conditioning but some had summer kitchens to solve this dilemma. This was a room on the back of the house, or sometimes a separate building with the capacity to prepare meals or do the home canning without heating up the main house. There would be some kind of big stove (wood fired in the era of my childhood), and at least one big table on which to prepare the food to be cooked. In some climates, it may have been a room with less than four walls, which would not keep out the flies, but would at least allow in any passing breeze.

Whatever happened to summer kitchens? Did urban dwellers ever have such things? Did they just become too expensive, too luxurious for the modern world? Did the era of the supermarket and fresh produce all year round supersede the need for such a device?

I stand in my kitchen and idly ponder this question of no importance at all, then glance out the window to my back porch where my eye falls on what I realize is probably the modern equivalent: the bar-b-que! Talk about miniaturization; a whole room has been replaced by a fairly small device! Of course you are unlikely to can your peaches in the bar-b-que, but most of us don’t do that any more anyway, do we? We simply store all those sealers in the cold room in case we ever decide to try it again. Mostly we just cook frozen hamburgers and hotdogs. Oh there are persons who are really industrious who try some more exotic creations in the name of keeping the house cool; my wife once baked rhubarb crisp in there, but mostly we don’t, do we?

All of this means nothing at all that I can think of, and that is exactly the point. Every one of us need time, once in a while, to contemplate what are merely the musings that get caught in an idle mind. It all rather reminds me of Eeyore in A. A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner;
They haven't got Brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake.

How delightful! No wonder I love Pooh so much.

I hope you are enjoying your summer, and blessed with time for some idle musings of your own.

Posted by Carman

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