Sharing The Kitchen

By Dorothy Kalins, November/December 2009

Author Dorothy Kalins remembers the people who taught her how to cook.

"Beautiful illustration with this article. Let's see more art like this in the magazine. Who is the artist? "

Christopher, in her Bucks County, Pennsylvania, kitchen, surrounded by well-used Folk Art cooking utensils and the odd machine part, is about to roast a chicken. First, she fearlessly removes the backbone from the whole bird, rendering it flat. Now, she patiently demonstrates the way her grandmother would hand-pluck the soft white insides from a French loaf. These tender breadcrumbs, browned in butter, mixed with parsley and thyme leaves chopped very fine, and mounded beneath that flattened chicken, make the most memorable stuffing.

In her kitchen, craftily fitted under the eaves of an old house in Venice, Marcella stretches out her hand to me. In her palm are three kernels of rice: arborio, carnaroli and vialone nano. “You make risotto from carnaroli if you can find it,” she instructs. “It is the powdery starch of this grain that makes risotto especially creamy. And never,” she rolls her eyes, “make risotto in a frying pan like they do on TV. It goes too fast!”

Sally is peeling apples gathered from the organic orchards that roll over the gentle hills just outside the door of her sunny kitchen at The Apple Farm in Philo, California. She slices each small fruit in half, then in quarters. With an apple quarter tucked into one hand, she grabs her well-worn paring knife and removes the peel from a pointy end. Then turning the apple in her hand, she peels the other end. “This is the way my mother peeled apples,” she explains. “I never do it any other way.”

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