Daily Archives: October 20, 2014

Clearing the Air

Having merged two households, we have a well-appointed home. This is neither brag nor complaint, though if you need a lamp, a bookcase, some coffee mugs, or a digital piano, please visit before you go shopping.

That said, there are a few items that might make life a little more pleasant. We can purée soup or mix milkshakes using a food processor, but a blender would be less messy. We can, if we keep careful watch on the thermometer, use a Dutch oven for deep frying, but there are devices that maintain more precise thermal control. (They might not keep my crab fritters from exploding, as they did when she came to dinner once, but that was the fryer’s fault, not the Fryolator’s.) Using a stockpot, we can, well, can pickles and applesauce and salsa–well, she can can. I’d read the directions a dozen times and still fear we’d end up with botulism nachos. A pressure canner would offer a greater range of preservable recipes, with the side benefit of making pot roast a weeknight dinner possibility, but that hardly makes it a necessity.

What we do need, though, is an industrial strength exhaust fan. The one that’s built into the over-the-range microwave just isn’t doing a good job. I have yet to put a decent sear on a steak without fogging up the kitchen. She came downstairs just as the smoke alarm started to blare its alert. She pressed the reset button, but the alarm kept wailing. “Just take it outside,” I said, thankful it wasn’t hard-wired into the ceiling. As she did, she probably didn’t say, “There, there, it’s all right, he isn’t burning down the house,” but perhaps I didn’t hear her over the ineffective roar of the incumbent fan.

The steak, seared for 30 seconds a side in a very hot skillet, then finished with a brief stay in a blazing oven, was said to be “perfection.” I was glad to get it right–and glad to remember to bring the now-quiet detector back inside after the air cleared, where it stood silent sentry while we slept.