Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Secret In The Kitchen

About a hundred years ago when I was first married (okay... more like 25 or so) I was given the book, Make-A-Mix Cookery.

Talk about a fun cookbook!

Make-a-Mix gave me recipes to make my own mixes so to save $$'s and time in the kitchen and to keep me from racing out to the supermarket in rainstorms or when I just plain didn't have time (or a vehicle) in which to do so. By making my own mixes, I also skipped the nasty old preservatives which people threaten will all catch up with us one day.

I remember spending whole afternoons blithely making my own mixes while Naomi sat gurgling in her high chair and our portable tv played game shows and cooking shows on the kitchen counter.

Those were the days... and these are the days, too.

This afternoon for old time's sake I again (wearing my 1950's apron) made my own mixes so that when Tom and I get cravings for baked this-and-that, I can whip something up before even one set of commercials during 24 have ended.

But technically, long, long ago I stopped using the original Make-A-Mix recipes -- I just kept using their basic idea. I mean, I haven't used that canned white shortening stuff since I can't remember when, and I always halve the sugar amounts (or go even lower than that) and I can't use powdered milk anymore or else my head explodes (only on the inside, lest you got a different picture in your mind).

No, for years now I've simply consulted my own tried-and-true, semi-healthy recipes for muffins, pancakes and brownies, etc., and then I sift and stir together all the dry ingredients into individual zip-lock bags and then label them. Man, I can't even tell you how good it feels to do that.... or how lovely all those little labeled bags look inside my 1940's metal bread box.

Even after 27 years, I still love playing June Cleaver. I apologize. Or maybe I don't.

But that's just the beginning.... I make little envelopes out of foil, label them, and then add my own special spice mixture for meats or spaghetti. Those shiny foil packages are too cute for words. And when I go Suzy-Homemaker ballistic, I even cook ground turkey and add spices from my foil envelopes and tomatoes and onions and then freeze it all into containers which I slip into our freezer in one-meal portions. Those are then ready for everything from lasagna to enchiladas to tacos.

Well, anyway, I just thought I'd share one of my little kitchen secrets with you. Tom has some days-off approaching and rather than me spending an inordinate amount of those vacation days in the kitchen while he has fun elsewhere, I've got my little mixes just waiting to be tossed into a bowl or a pan in record time.

Suzy Homemaker (a.k.a. June Cleaver) is alive and well, lest you thought she died a long, long time ago.

Here is a website with tons of make-it-yourself mixes. It's one of many on the Net.

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