Friday, December 18, 2009

A Culinary Cultural Conundrum: Kinky and Gazpacho in the Kitchen

Everybody has there own way of doing things, right? And those ways get sorely tested when you make the tremendous decision to get married and start a life with another human being with their own ways of getting things done. Suddenly, everything is about compromise and learning new ways of doing things. And that learning curve is even steeper when you marry someone from a different culture. For me, nowhere was this challenge more apparent than in the kitchen.

Once I married my Spanish esposo, not only did I have to learn some new recipes to keep him happy, but I had to also open my mind to new culinary ideas and so did he. Like, do we spread butter on our bread or dip it in olive oil. And while we're on the subject of bread with dinner, should it be corn bread or a nice crusty baguette? Then of course that all important question, is an egg a breakfast item (me) or a perfect option for dinner (him)? And the list goes on. For the most part, all of our squabbling in the kitchen was minor and we both learned how to appreciate an entirely new culinary tradition. But there was one thing I just couldn't wrap my mind around for some reason, whenever El Esposo brought it up. No it wasn't eating flavored pig lard on toast, or sucking the heads of giant crustaceans. Actually, those things I can tolerate. Believe it or not, my culinary cultural conundrum was the use of kitchen shears.

Yes, dear readers, for some reason, whenever El Esposo wanted to cut something in the kitchen, from a whole roasted chicken to a pizza, he'd ask for a pair of scissors and I would laugh at him and then tell him that in this country we use knives to cut poultry and pizza. And I didn't even have a real reason to shun his suggestion, it just seemed so foreign to me and for some reason wrong. And since the kitchen started off as my domain, my sweet suffering husband would just shrug his shoulders and grudgingly use a knife to finish the job.

But then one day, while on a shopping excursion to IKEA, El Esposo managed to sneak a five-pack of kitchen shears in the cart. I thought they were craft scissors for the kids, because they came in cute primary colors. Silly me. Well, it didn't take long for me to catch on to the bliss of using scissors instead of knives in the kitchen. In fact, I'm a scissor-cutting fool now. I don't know how I lived without scissors in the kitchen before. Now I can cut quesadillas and pizzas in perfect triangles. Cutting herbs is a snap, and sometimes for my picky children I even use the scissors to cut the crusts off their bread. Now it's me who reaches for the scissors to dismember a chicken and even to slice thin pieces of tenderloin. The scissors are so much more precise than a knife, and they make almost every cutting job easier for those of us uneducated in classic knife skills.

So, it may sound silly, but I thank El Esposo every day for introducing me to the Spanish scissor. It's changed my life. Oh yeah, I don't think Spaniards have a lock down on kitchen shears, because you can buy them at Target, but in my sheltered little world they felt foreign. So people, do you use kitchen shears? What for? And for those of you who married (or co-habitate with) someone from another culture, what's the one little thing your spouse introduced you to that you now can't live with out?

Let's hear it.

Peace!

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THIS JUST IN
Remember I forgot to post on Monday because my novel manuscript was due in to the publisher? Well I handed it in and it is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Unbelievable. The release date is slated for August 2010. That's this summer. Wow!
Seriously, the ink is barely dry on the page, but it if you want to order now, check it out here.

3 comments:

Moni said...

Congrats on your book!!!

I grew up (in Bermuda) using kitchen scissors for everything from cutting herbs to cutting sausage into a frying pan. It's so much easier to hold meat, veggies, whatever and cut them straight into the plan with scissors.

kate said...

This is so funny-- I can definietly relate to a lot of this! But you forgot one-- vegetable texture. Specifically, should it have a texture at all (me) or should it be boiled within an inch of its life until teeth are no longer required to eat it (hubby.) I do use shears a lot in the kitchen, for cutting herbs, trimming slices of jamón serrano, cutting lettuce into smaller pieces for salad, etc.

Congrats on the book!

LT said...

Moni,

Thanks. And I completely agree.

Kate,
LOL re: the veggies. And yes, suddenly making a salad isn't such a headache with my kitchen shears.