Archive for the ‘Pet Peeves’ Category

I Heart Kitchen Design

The light was nice in my kitchen a few hours ago so I took some shots. Shots of IKEA-ville. I’m a huge fan of IKEA, but would be a fan of any other store that sold decent quality, practical, and dare I say ‘nice looking’ kitchen gear too. Maybe that store’s out there – I could have missed it But it seemed that every other kitchen place I went into had things like a Viking beer cooler for $4,900. Or a range similar to the one I have but with RED knobs, for only an additional $10,000.

Can I just not afford it, and am just jealous of the name brand and the coveted red knobs on the range? Perhaps. Red is supposed to stimulate the appetite, afterall. Black knobs do nothing for the appetitie, I can assure you. Am I jealous that MY fridge isn’t playing hide-and-go-seek amongst my cabinets, or doesn’t have a TV in it? Probably. I’m at least pretty sure that spending a few grand more would mean my food was kept cold better. Oh wait, it wouldn’t.

Should I have spent a sum large enough to build an African village to try hard to play pretend that my kitchen was in Italy? I do like pizza, afterall. Nope. Nope, that’s not it. Stone counters. That money should be spent on stone counter tops. EVERYONE knows that stone counters totally make your food taste better, and make you a better cook. For that price, they totally must.

In conclusion, because we live in a democracy I am going to start an anti-IKEA facebook friend group to devalue their stock, and then open up an awseomer store in competition with IKEA so that next time I renovate my kitchen, I have real choice. Then: hostile takeover. Look out IKEA, I’m on to your games.

Kevin’s Dictionary: Counter, 10" Strip


Counter: Available workspace. Critical square footage in kitchen required to prep, to cook, to plate, etc., without which no work in the kitchen can be executed in a practical fashion. Typical depth: roughly 25”.

Things to not do with a counter: storage of anything not used daily, including but not limited to: small appliances, kitchen gadgetry, televisions, microwaves, VCR/DVD players, picture frames, any type of pantry item [guess where those go…], pets, keys/glasses/wallets, kitchen décor or knick knacks [especially those which have no culinary function and are unable to be cleaned].

10 inch strip: the 10 inches of available depth once the rest has been filled with things on the above list. Counters with a 10 inch strip are not recommended for the preparation of food.

Ps. For a quick read of some people hating on what I do, check out the comments on this article.

I, Kevin Kossowan, am an egg snob

Well at least I’m not in denial. These are the first eggs I’ve had in while from the farm I’ve talked about before. 4 glorious dozen. To honor them appropriately, I have visions of vanilla ice cream, creme brulée, and egg salad sandwiches. And of course, fried egg over easy with toast and home-made bacon. Come on. That’s real food.

Having not had an easy supply, I went back to Sunworks at the market, buying their fine eggs for $4/dozen. Sadly, I was disappointed. I’d had it too good. I’ve even recently had supermarket eggs. My newly beloved farm eggs stand up when cracked in a pan – not running like they’re half full of water. Their yolks vary in color from deep yellow to deep orange. Not ‘light lemon’. The shells are not paper-thin and fragile. They’re rich and lovely. They’re a marvel.

I was recently informed that one would have to be completely unreasonable to pay more than supermarket prices for eggs. Those who bought at farmer’s markets or specialty food stores were clearly stupid. Cause eggs are eggs, after all.

I may need counseling to come to terms with others not appreciating good product. Hey – let’s bash the posh stuff without even trying it! Awesome! Why try the illogically overpriced posh stuff when I can pay even MORE to buy prepared foods made with SHITTIER product!!!

Maybe I should start a lobby group to get ‘food economics’ taught in high school. Maybe I need to relax.

As I paid my dad for the 4 dozen today, I had to re-count a couple times to make sure I was right….$6? No…that can’t be right. 4 dozen…$6. $1.50 a dozen…yup. That’s right. Superior quality AND lowest price? My inner cheap-ass will sleep well tonight.

And that’s why I hate pot-luck


Before you get all defensive, let me just say this: I love sharing food with people. It’s what I do. And the concept of pot-luck is pure genius. Everyone brings something that they’re into or good at, it all gets plopped on a table, and you all tuck in.

But it never plays out that way. Here’s what really happens: someone calls ‘Potluck’! and I think ‘Great!’… Then comes the dreaded and inevitable pot-luck-ruiner question: ‘so what are you bringing?’.

‘Oh, relax..’, you say. But to me, when it starts to become ‘well you bring a salad, and I’ll bring blah’, the fun spirit of pot luck just got hit by a truck.

And it always gets worse. You concede, offer a salad idea, and then get a critique. ‘Don’t forget that so-and-so doesn’t like [or can’t eat] such and such’. I’ve previously mentioned my toiling wrath for fussy eaters. You think I don’t remember what people don’t like to eat!?!? How could I when they keep telling me?!?!

So I bring a salad that I totally wouldn’t normally make because it doesn’t include an ingredient that actually makes it good, and I go to the pot luck, kind of deflated. And have to hear about everyone’s dish, and why they made it. Which again, in theory is cool. But somehow by this point I just want to eat. But someone brought a dish that needs warming up for an hour in the oven. So my salad gets limp under the dressing, my head starts to cave in from hunger, and I wonder why I ever said yes to participating. After the thing in the oven takes seemingly forever to heat, we find out an expected participant or new ‘surprise’ guest is running late. Well let’s just wait for them. Great idea. It’s a happy-go-lucky pot luck event, after all. The person suggesting we wait must have had a big lunch. This further delay is terrible news for the once-chilled seafood dish. And for my soggy salad. And for my hunger making me just wish I wasn’t there anymore.

Maybe I have an attitude problem. Probably. But I’d like to offer the following pot-luck guidelines to ensure cranky people like me are appeased:

- no committee discussions of who will bring what. Isn’t a surprise better anyway?

- the dish musn’t need to appease everybody’s ‘needs’. If a dish contains something that will kill them, or turn them into a whiny complainer, they can avoid it. Not hard.

- decide on a time, and if someone’s too inconsiderate to be on time or have their dish ready, THEY can accommodate everyone else.

So let’s see: eating a bunch of surprise dishes, people bring whatever they want or are good at, and we all eat at the agreed upon time? I’ll happily come to one of those. But if I get asked the dreaded question right out of the gates, I’ll know what to expect.

Fussy Eaters


I don’t get it. Do people not have to eat what they’re served anymore? I thought we learned this simple etiquette when we were toddlers.

I get not being into certain foods. I don’t particularly like water chestnuts. But you don’t find me making a face, and creating a scene about it when faced with a feared water chestnut. Water chestnuts will not permanently harm my internal organs, my ability to have more children, or cause violent diarrhea or vomiting, so I eat them, and make a mental note to not cook with them at home. Ever. And while I’m at it, I don’t bother my dining company or worse, my host or hostess by clearly stating my unimportant preference, for all to hear. I don’t insult them by making faces as if they just served me feces. I don’t make a scene – heck, I don’t even pick them out of the dish. I just eat the damn water chestnuts. Is that so hard?!?

My conclusion: people are fussy eaters because a) they are closed minded and/or, far more commonly b) they are trying to be special. If I hate water chestnuts and make a big-ass big deal about it, it makes me different and special, and gets me some attention. The bigger the fuss, the more special I must be, and the more attention I may garner. People will then cater to my specialness. I think people should try to be special in other ways, and eat whatever they’re damn-well served.

Hit it with a car = regional.


Today I read an add in the paper from Normand’s – a respectable local restaurant – advertising: “Fine Regional Cuisine, Featuring Wild Regional Game: ELK, CARIBOU, and MUSKOX…”. Now for those of you who do not spend much time outdoors, you will not find, no matter how hard you search, a wild caribou or muscox within many, many, many hours of driving of here. Perhaps they mistakenly think they’re in the tundra. Sometimes seems like it in the winter. Perhaps they think their clientele are too stupid to know better? I’m really not sure what the real reason might be. But it did guide me in my search for what IS regional. If you drive the highways at all, you KNOW deer are everywhere here. So many that vehicles kill them regularly. [them and porcupines, but we’ll forget about that for the time being] So where’s the venison on every menu? You’d think that the meat in a Donair shop or in your burger would be venison – it’s local, it’s everywhere, and it can be procured cheaply [not referring to road kill, here]. It’s lean, it’s healthful, I don’t get it. Driving around, you’ll notice elk farms, bison farms, alpaca farms, lama farms, and loads of horses. But only a couple of those might ever make a fine restaurant menu. I’m guessing the vast majority of people have never considered eating any of them. Probably because McDonalds doesn’t sell them. Okay, that’s mean. Probably because the local super-grocer doesn’t sell them.

So I will continue my search for what is regional. Things I’ve got in the ‘are not’ column: rice, all tropical fruit, corn products, seafood, muscox, alligator, chilis, figs, and sugar cane.