22 November 2007


I spent all last evening and all morning today cooking, though not for the ordinary reasons.

Back on Sunday we decided to weatherize our utility room for winter. The space that houses our pantry, washer, dryer, pet supplies, and so forth, is at the very back of our house, behind the kitchen, with a window opening between it and the kitchen itself. But the utility room is basically unheated. Thus, as colder weather sets in, the kitchen can become very cold with drafts from the utility room.

So we decided to cover the opening with plastic shrink window wrap. This required using a hair dryer to shrink the wrap, which I did, plugging the hair dryer into one of the outlets, unplugging another appliance to make way for the odd shaped hair dryer plug. The shrink wrap went up splendidly and shrunk tautly almost to invisibility.

Well, last night I went back to the utility room to retrieve some food to make dinner, but when I pulled the boneless chicken breast from the chest freezer it was quite cold but oddly pliable for frozen chicken. It dawned on me then that I had unplugged the chest freezer on Sunday to make way for the hair dryer and had never plugged it back in. Shall we say, "Oops"?

A quick survey found that everything was still very cold and, in most cases, still half-frozen. But half-frozen is also half-thawed. That's several half-thawed chicken breasts, four chicken legs/thighs, about a dozen pork loins and chops, a package of ground turkey, an 11 pound ham, a roasting chicken, an eye roast, a couple loaves of bread, several containers of berries, a container of phyllo dough, a bag of shredded zucchini, and a few other items. Some of those items might re-freeze without difficulty, but meat isn't one of them, at least until it's been cooked.

Thus, last night and this morning I've managed to whip up lots of meat dishes: chicken shawarma; pork chili verde; barbecued pulled pork; Chinese spiced pork slivers (for fried rice); pork vindaloo; boiled chicken legs/thighs then coated with barbecue sauce; chicken stock; taco meat; chicken soup; a roast beef then transformed into sliced beef, piroshkis, and beef and barley soup; a baked glazed ham then transformed into slices, cubes, ham balls, and ham loaf...and I've forgotten what else.

Fortunately, we weren't hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I was able to sit down and enjoy a meal at my parents house for which I cooked precisely nothing. And for that, I am thankful.