Sunday, December 30, 2007

I have a good reason...

I know that I said that I wasn't going to disappear again... but I had a really good reason.

See, Fun Daddy's mother, the Angel and Imelda's grandmother died suddenly earlier this month.

We first got the indication that she was unwell before Thanksgiving.. but honestly, Fun Daddy and I assumed that she had an ulcer.... not quite as it turned out.

It was cancer. Lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer. and it had already spread. to her liver.

If you have done any research at the National Cancer Institute's website (and I don't really recommend it unless you have to) you will find that this configuration is lethal... and fast.

And so it was.

By the time that they diagnosed the cancer my MIL had mere days left. We heard on a Friday that she was starting chemo on Monday. Saturday night she was back in the hospital. Sunday afternoon, they asked Fun Daddy to come home.

And we all went. We drove all night, but got there by Monday morning. she was beginning to fail. We went straight to the hospital. She was aware, but unable to talk due to a respirator. But she could still indicate what she wanted or didn't and we could tell that she was pleased to see Fun Daddy and the girls. During the day she did worse and worse. By evening we arranged for a priest to say the Last Rites. By 4 am we were called back to the hospital and by 9:30am on Tuesday she was gone.

sooo... gotta a complaint now? I thought not.

There is a food story here though.

While Fun Daddy was preparing his eulogy.. or words of remembrance according to Grail the Church Lady... and no, I am not making that up... he was thinking of the things that his mom did for him. And naturally, as the lady of the house, one of those things was cooking.

Now truth be told, my mother in law did not really care for cooking. but she accepted that it was her responsibility and took it seriously, if unimaginatively. And odd short cuts abounded in her repetoire . Despite my father-in-laws high blood pressure which should have been a contraindication for processed foods, boxed rices, potatoes and canned vegetables were wild in their menus. But an egg? Bitch, please! no one used those things. So it is a bit odd as far as I can tell.

One thing that I used to notice was that she would use those old Soup Starter kits... dehydrated veggies and bouillion mostly that you mixed with your own meat to creat your own soup. She did it slightly differently though. Her chicken and the soup mix, itself was all cooked together in a pressure cooker. Now this was an old pressure cooker and frankly scared the crap out of me. I had heard enough stories about them to know that if you are unfamiliar you can bloy your kitchen up. I didn't understand how she managed to be so fearless about this monstrosity.... particularly as she was an exceptional fearful woman. But so it went.

And the broth was always amazing. Thick, tastey, almost gelatinous. But still... at what cost of danger.

So I was sticking with my own method... Stock a la crockpot. It worked... and was good.

Still, with my mother-in-laws passing, I started doing a little research on pressure cookers.

And that is when I found a wonder. The electric pressure cooker. Controlled my an even cooking temperature that was automatic.

So this weekend I did it.

I purchased the electric pressure cooker. And tested it out on an old favorite. Chicken stock.

The smell was intense and amazing. The color deep and rich.

And so I introduce to you my new kitchen tool:

The Wilhelmina Neuman Memorial Electric Pressure Cooker... or the Mimi, as I plan to call it for short.

And already it is in use... Chicken Stock, Beef Stock and dehydrated garbanzo beans... cooked from dry in an hour. sigh.

I am looking forward to this.

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