I love vacation! I know, I am not alone in this, but I may be alone in one of the reasons why. I love all the time in the kitchen. Particularly when there is a crowd for which I can cook.
This week has given me the opportunity to make cinnamon rolls and peach pie – things I rarely make at home.
I just love the mixing and kneading – the smell of yeast and of buttery crust baking. And there is a strange satisfaction when the dough rises – even though that is what is supposed to happen, it is a bit surprising each time the chemistry works. I passed the waiting time by working on our group puzzle (1,000 pieces – a work in progress), enjoying some music in the cool evening breeze and reading a good Karen Kingsbury book. That’s part of the joy of cooking for me too, the in-between time – like the pause in music or the negative space in art.
Yesterday was crabbing day. Although I am not patient enough to wait for hours for the crabs, it was fun to take part in the beginning of the festivities. It is interesting that you don’t need sophisticated equipment and surprising to me that crabs like chicken necks. Having made many roasted chickens in my time, I’ve discarded a lot of chicken necks – now I wish I had saved them for this trip, in the freezer of course! It is true what Tom Petty says; the wa-ai-ai-ting IS the hardest part! Waiting for the slack in the line to tighten and then the anticipation of whether or not there is a crab on the end of the line is maddening. But when you finally get one in the net the celebration is glorious. Not glorious enough for me to stick it out – I went to the beach for several hours while the Felty’s toughed it out with the crabs. They brought home 8 and cooked and meticulously cleaned them. We will be adding the sweet meat to our crab cakes this evening……I am drooling just thinking about it. Crabbing brought me to the conclusion that if I had to catch my own food I would be extremely thin – maybe I am on to the next diet craze!
There’s also a well choreographed ballet going on in the kitchen with 6 adults, 3 kids and 2 dogs. It’s not a big space, but somehow it is working well for us. We’ve learned to dance around each other while we are cooking or cleaning up or pouring drinks or getting snacks. The only misstep in the dance is Kissy, an adorable, lovable, extremely food-motivated golden retriever. She is always underfoot when there is a possibility of food. I believe her prayers go something like this, “God, please let them drop something. Please, please, please, please let them drop something. Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please let them drop something. Amen!”
Vacation defined – an extended period of recreation, esp. one spent away from home. Vacation defined by Jan – an extended period of recreation, esp. one spent in the kitchen!