Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Day in the Kitchen



In a few minutes I will give my hands a good scrub, roll up my sleeves, put on a big-ass apron and start cooking. Today I'm making stew for fifty people. Yes, fifty.

I love to cook, especially on a nice crisp autumn day like today, and, too, stew isn't hard. After the chopping it's mostly a matter of keeping an eye on the slow simmering. That's why I volunteered in the first place. Well, that and the fact that my roommate said he was hosting his sister's wedding rehearsal dinner. How many people can take part in a wedding? I imagined 15 at the most. But it turns out that these days rehearsal dinners include everyone in from out of town for the wedding.

Hence, stew for fifty. So there will be a LOT of chopping, oh yeah. A LOT of simmering.

This process will be photodocumented, I promise. Have a wonderful Thursday!

23 comments:

Joanne said...

What a happy stew you'll be simmering there in D.C. Rehearsal dinners are great fun, a sense of ease before the big day. Best wishes to the bride and groom.

Meri said...

Now THERE's a worthy thing to stew over.

Reya Mellicker said...

It is a happy stew, Joanne, simmering away happily on all four burners in the four most giganto stockpots.

Now it's time to peel potatoes and turnips. Fun!

glnroz said...

Yummmm,,, that is one of my favorite things to cook except for maybe grilled hamburgers.. lol like in my post last week. Yall have a good time sharing your efforts.. glenn

Steve said...

Good luck with the cooking, Reya! The concentration that goes with cooking is a wonderful practice opportunity!

willow said...

Enjoy your day in the kitchen, Reya. This takes me back to my old catering days. It's hard work, but very rewarding.

ellen abbott said...

If I don't have anything else I have to do in a day, then I like to cook. Happy stewing!

Ronda Laveen said...

Oh, gosh! Stew sounds so wonderful along with some hearty breads. I'm ready for a little autumnal soul food. Although, autumn is a little hard on us at the moment. 111-110 degrees on Sat. and Sun. then down into the 70s on Monday. Along with your photodocumentation, I wish you could give us aromadocumentation too!

I will hold thumbs and space for your Ms. Docent-ness to come into volition. Those terra cotta soldiers look amazing. I was looking for Jake's photo and was afraid it was gone until I scrolled down and found him. Rob Brezney's Aquarian forecast made me smile.

Ronda Laveen said...

Is that frost on the bricks in the lower photo?

Washington Cube said...

I made minestrone last night with a hearty bread and cheeses, so yes, we are paralleling again.

Some of my earliest, living on my own, cooking was always done for large groups, so when that spell of my life ended, I found it very hard to cut back from communal to one. I never found it hard cooking for large groups. Knowing it meant "a gathering" of the tribe as it were, it was very pleasurable.

The bricks made me think of a not very happy song, Pavement Cracks by Annie Lennox:

Where is my comfort zone?
A simple place to call my own
'Cause everything I wanna be
Comes crashing down on me.

I need to knock that song out and think of the communal building toward something that bricks imply.

tut-tut said...

I love to cook; even when I have to slog away at the evening meal, the zen of it is so soothing, and finding new ways with the same old ingredients infinitely rewarding.

Have fun!

Reya Mellicker said...

No frost yet, but we're edging closer every night. It'll be down in the 50's tonight.

The stew turned out great. It's very earthy for some reason (it always tastes a little bit different.) Very hearty.

Bonnie said...

I love making stews in the Fall, such comforting smells in your kitchen. I'm making a pork posole red chili stew aqui in Taos, for my pumpkin party.

I haven't seen your blog in a while, and just noted that Jake had passed away. I am nuts about dogs and, funny thing, I named a loose dog who comes to visit me every day Jake, just cause he looks like a Jake, great name. I bet you do miss him.

Peaches said...

I have been craving stew, but it's still a bit warm for it down here.

steven said...

hey reya - cooking!!! mmm yeah i am the cook in this house. with my hands and heart attached to electricity and metal and wood and food there is food of all sorts. stew some nights is a good possibility but for fifty!! wow lady!! that's a table-shaker of a load of food! so have you thought for even a moment that this is like a rehearsal for a rehearsal?! ha!!! sweet times revibrating the stewy elements reya!! steven

Mary Ellen said...

Looking forward to vicarious feasting. Hope you are having fun!

Reya Mellicker said...

Bonnie: I'm making a pork posole red chili stew aqui

OMG. Hope I get invited to your house for dinner sometime. Wow.

Stew Denouement: It is delicious. I spen almost a full corporate work day (7 1/2 hours, 1/2 lunch break midday completing the stew. I am more than happy with the results.

I think because I used a number of turnips, the stew has a really earthy, almost bitter taste to it. I added some beer at the last moment, to brighten the flavors. Tomorrow I'll add more ground black pepper and freshly chopped flat leaf parsely, bringing up the brightness even more.

Nothing is better for stew than to stop cooking just before it's really done, then stow it in the fridge overnight, then warm gently.

Yes. The stew turned out just right.

Mary said...

OOHHH - all sounds so good. It was down to 35 the last two nights...not quite so bad tonight. I refuse to turn on the heat - I will not surrender ! But Man !! that stew sounds good

Sandy MoreDoh said...

Reya, I stumbled upon your blog and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts. Do you give lectures on how to get your creative energy back? I’ll sign up! How fun it is to present such a heart warming substantial dish as stew to your guests! You have such a great vibe I have a feeling they all enjoyed what you dished out.

Ronda Laveen said...

Mmmmmm.....!!!

Pauline said...

The wonderful woodwork under the eaves in the top photo made me smile in appreciation of hidden but present beauty.

Stew for 50! You're brave.

Barbara Martin said...

Stew is one of those comfort meals I love. That's certainly an undertaking for fifty. Hope it goes well.

Delwyn said...

Dear Reya

I am sure that stew will satisfy more than the physical requirements of your guests made as it has been with attention and love...


Happy days