Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Challenges of Cooking in a Rental

The kitchen in our apartment in San Tomà looks more impressive than the one last year in our apartment on the Piscina di Frezzaria. Instead of a cabinet, we have an actual space. But appearances can be deceiving. True we have a microwave. But we have a smaller refrigerator set in a cabiet in such a way that getting to it is very difficult. You have to get on your hands and knees and, because it is on the wrong side of the kitchen, it opens backwards so it is awkward to get into.

We hve a large selection of cooking pots but no sharp knives, scissors, etc. So I can't cut anything up, chop vegetables, or open difficult packages. Getting the coffee open this morning was one instance. I was very careful and manged without getting the coffee all over everything.

We have a mrcrowave but our freezer is practically nonexistent so it would mostly be useful hor heating up prepared food from a delicatessen rather than frozen meals or reheating things I had cooked and were left over. WE can't really store a lot of leaftovers so I am planning a lot of salad with already cut up ingredients and pasta dishes for Peter with tuna and things like that. I did see a frozen mussel dish at BILLA that might work in the microwave for me. I can Also cook meat now that I have started to learn to use the burners on the stove and I successfully made packaged soup for lunch and stored the leftovers.

Even though we have spent a lot shopping for food, eating out is a lot more expensive. With classes ending at 1 pm on Sant'Elena, however, I expect that we will eat lunch out with classmates. And I am sure there will be a dinner or two, at least with Shaul and I hope with Susy although she may be away much of the time.

Today I was able to find rice crackers so I bought cheese and salami as well as fresh fruit and more salad and some grilled vegetables so I could make salade niçoise. While I could buy a sharp knife, I am not brining it home (not feasilbe anyway with carry-on uggage) and I don't plan to help the apratment people equip their kitchen. There are more cleaning supplies here than anything else. Perhaps I should be happy they they, or previous tenant, were so converned about cleanliness, but I am more concerned right now about eating! It's bad enought that I am reduced to Cheerios and yogurt for breakfast. My consolation is that there is always gelato.

As far as garbage, and there is always garbage, we had planned to follow the city guidelines as we did last year. Our previous landlady had left us a schedule of what types of garbage went out on what days, paper bags for papers, stickers for other recyclables, and explanations. There was none of that here. We asked our agent. She didn't know and obviously doesn't follow the guidelines herself. We have no paper bags for papers, just plastic bags for general garbage and no chart for when to put things out so all the garbage will have to go out together. We can't be good citizens this year.

The bad thing about a small mokka pot is that you have to make coffee three times. The good thing is that the third time I lit the stove on the first try so practice does help. I get my coffee, I learn to use the stove--training and reward together. Now I just need to apply that to other parts of my life. I just hope that at my age it isn't too late.

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