January 29, 2009

Ode to a Cooking Pot

When I was about 6 or 7 years old, my father pulled an old red book off of one of our shelves and gave me a lesson in poetry. "If you even need a poem to memorize, I've got a great one for you." he told me. The book was Ogden Nash and the poem was titled Ode to a Cooking Pot and runs just three short words


There was something about it that I loved even then. Maybe it was an early understanding that I would never "get" poetry. I tried, I really did. In college I tried to be one of those poetry reading literary people, but other than a few tried and true favorites and a smattering of Shakespeare's sonnets, I'm just not that into them. I think I love books too much. But I still love Ogden Nash.

I like to believe that the first poem I ever read led me to love cooking. It's probably not true, I probably just enjoyed my father's conspiratorial manner when he taught it to me. It was as if he was telling me to go out and be a smart ass in life, and I was happy to oblige.

But all kidding aside, this truly is an ode to a cooking pot. My new (second) favorite pot. I am, I believe, contractually required by my husband to declare this pot only my second favorite since he was a very good husband and bought me my longed for Le Creuset French Oven for Christmas this year. And to be honest, the Le Creuset is my favorite. If I could only have one pot for the rest of my life, that would be it (although if it were my ONLY pot, I'd probably need a bigger version, but that will have to wait another 5 Christmases I fear). However, if I was could only have TWO pots for the rest of my life, the second would be my new bain marie. Ok, it's a just a double boiler, but doesn't Bain Marie sound nicer? I thought so. I've never had one before. I've always been a pop a pyrex bowl over a pan of water girl, or, failing that, a shamefully brazen user of the microwave to melt things-that-should-not-be-melted-in-the-microwave.

The only reason that I have one now is that Evelyn and I took a walk on a semi warm day last week up the road to my favorite junk/antique shop to look for a toast rack. A toast Rack you say? You know, those strange little metal things the Brit's use to hold their cold toast! Yeah, one of those. Why? You ask? Well, I got it in my head that one of those would make an excellent holder for my new stationary, but alas, no toast holders could be found. But, while I was perusing the junk section of the store and letting Evelyn ride the one wheel missing plastic wheelie horse that has been there for at least 6 months, I found this lovely little pot on the two for a dollar shelf. This is the spot in the store that things go to before getting chucked, the last resort, the bottom of the heap. I took it (and a funky little biscuit cutter that was also there) up to the counter and asked if it were really just fifty cents.

"If it was on that shelf if it." The clerk told me. How could I resist. Two much needed items of kitchen equipment for a mere dollar. I was in heaven. I pulled out a crumpled dollar and stuffed the pot and the cutter in the basket under Evie's stroller.

So what have I made with this marvel of ingenuity? Well, so far just a batch of uber rich brownies from the website Cocoa and Me, a new find for me from the blogosphere. It worked like a dream. The chocolate melted quickly, the eggs didn't curdle, the brownies turned out rich and dense. I was in love. "This is my favorite pot!" I exclaimed. " I mean, except for the Le Creuset of course." I amended when I saw Will's hurt expression.

Tonight I'll put it to work again, this time to make a sauce for Poule auz Riz (yes, that 's just chicken and rice, but this time I come by it honestly, it's from the fabulous book Clementine in the Kitchen). Up till now, though good, the sauce has never turned out quite right, so I'm hoping that the double boiler will make it perfect. Plus, I forgot to start my no knead bread so I'll have to slave away on some real yeast rolls on which I can use my cutter to make yummy parker house rolls. If I can remember to get them started at the right time......