Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Speed of Cooking

I received an unexpected and surprising of how much things have changed even in my own lifetime this week, and in the kitchen at that.

Last week I happened to have to go to Safeway to buy some odds and ends, one of which was breakfast cereal. I'm bad about buying the same kinds again and again, so I decided to add some variety. It's been fall like here, so I decided to go with hot cereals for a change.

But not only did I decide to go with hot cereals, but I bought Cream of the West and Irish Oatmeal. That is, I did not buy instant Cream of Wheat, instant Oatmeal or quick oats.

Cream of the West is like old fashioned Cream of Wheat, except its whole wheat. Frankly, the taste is identical to "regular" Cream of Wheat. Irish Oatmeal, however, is really porridge, and it has to be cooked. It actually has to be cooked and allowed to stand, so it isn't speedy.

Anyhow, my kids have never had "regular" Cream of Wheat. They like "instant" Cream of Wheat, which has an odd texture and taste in my view. Sort of wall paper paste like. Anyhow, my son cooked some Cream of the West the first day I did, with us both using the microwave instructions.

He hated it. He's so acclimated to the pasty instant kind, he finds the cooked kind really bad.

Both kids found the porridge appalling. They're only familiar with instant oatmeal, and they porridge was not met with favor at all. I really liked it. It's a lot more favorable than even cooked oatmeal.

Anyhow, the point of all of this is that all this quick instant stuff is really recent, but we're really used to it. During the school year my wife makes sure the kids have a good breakfast every day, which she gets up and cooks for them. But it never really sank in for me how much our everyday cooking has benefited from "instant" and pre made. Even a thing like pancakes provides an example. My whole life if a person wanted pancakes, they had the benefit of mixes out of a box. More recently, for camping, there's a pre measured deal in a plastic bottle that I use, as you need only add water. A century ago, I suppose, you made the pancakes truly from scratch, which I'll bet hardly anyone does now.

A revolution in the kitchen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Scenes from days gone by.

A building in Deadwood South Dakota that was once a Hudson and Terraplane dealer, two extinct brands of automobiles.

Interesting for a variety of reasons. One, the then existing variety of American automobiles. Two, that fairly small towns (although the area was fairly well populated, due to mining, at that time), with a fairly substantial automobile dealership.