Tag Archives: conversatin’ fridays

Conversatin’ Fridays: Mama, I’m Movin’ Out

After a quick three-day jaunt out of town, I am back in Pittsburgh to finish what I really started last week: Moving out of my lovely apartment in the loveliest lil’ borough of Dormont. I packed up the books (Eighteen boxes! Not counting the cookbooks!), then the movies, then the records, which  meant, of course, that I’d have to eventually get around to packing up my kitchen.

Which I’m still in the process of doing. I spent nearly all day in and out of the kitchen, wrapping up glasses and plates in newspaper, stuffing boxes full of random utensils, stripping off the worn and dingy shelf paper, finding the right box to hold all of my spices and baking accessories. In one little kitchen there seems to be so much that needs to be done. You have to wonder how it only took two years to pack this much intricacies into a room. It feels like there’s something in every corner.

Tomorrow movers come in to transport my beloved yellow kitchen table (known as “Goldie”) and chairs to its new home in Shadyside, where the affluent and intellectual will surely sense that I do not match the delicate inner workings of the neighborhood and reject me, sending me right back into the arms of the South Hills.

It’s not that I’m not looking forward to trying out Shadyside. I sort of lived in that area while in my undergraduate years at Chatham, but I always stuck to the Squirrel Hill side of the campus. I know of good places to go, but mostly specialty spots, places that I wouldn’t necessarily visit on a regular basis. I need the rundown on the staples.

While I attack the rest of my apartment, I ask you affluent, intellectual types out there: What is there to do in Shadyside? Best coffee shop? Best restaurant? Best place to grab a cheap lunch? Any suggestions?

Conversatin’ Fridays: If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

I’m getting pretty damn cranky. The heat index is rising to 105 degrees. At that temperature, I’m unlikely to stand let alone get in the kitchen and make anything to eat. If I could couple my complete disinterest in food with any kind of physical exercise, the summertime would prove to be a great dieting season for me. Unfortunately, movement is not exactly at the top of my list either.

Now, if you have air conditioning (central or unit) then you can pretty much ignore this topic. Because you don’t count. If you have air conditioning in your home, you can’t really complain about it being too hot to cook. Not that you can’t find it hot outside, but if it’s cool inside your house, stay inside your house. For the love of God, stay inside your house.

For those of us who don’t have air conditioning, either because we’re too cheap to pay for it or too poor to pay for it or some kind of combination of poor, cheap, lazy, the weather is getting to the point why ere not even a thousand fans are going to do anything but generate more white noise. Shade offers little relief, breeze offers little relief. You take a shower only to dry in moments afterward, then to start secreting sweat moments after that. Drinking a warm beverage helps a little, drinking a cool beverage helps a little, but it can’t make your body dry, it can’t keep the sweat from pooling on your back or on the bridge of your nose.

What can you do? Strip down to as little as possible, keep a sweat-absorbing hankie close by, and drink as much water as possible. As far as cooking, I think I will make some dinner around nine, when the sun has finally gone down. And that dinner will be whatever is my fridge that won’t require even a minute’s zapping in the microwave.

So what are you eating in the heat tonight? If you’re dining out, do you have a preferred spot to run to when the weather gets this steamy?

Coversatin’ Fridays: Music in the Kitchen

Just a quick conversation starter for your Friday morning:

Last Christmas, me and my roommate considered setting up speakers in the kitchen, extending our living room stereo system into the second half of our apartment. For some reason plans for the project fell through, but whenever I’m slaving over any kind of meal, whether it be a quick cold salad or a four course Southern feast, I regret dropping the idea.

To be able to hear whatever is playing in the living room in my kitchen, I have to crank up the system loud enough that our downstairs neighbor is probably getting an unwanted free concert in her living room. When it’s old soul or jazz, I don’t think she minds so much, but I’m sure she’s getting sick of Fucked Up’s David Comes to Life, or Fugazi’s Repeater or any of the smattering of more abrasive music we regularly listen to.

So I’ve taken to wearing headphones and either listening to the radio or my iPod. There’s also always the chance that I might want to listen to something loud enough to the point that I’ll bring my computer speakers down from my room and into the kitchen, but that’s almost as big a chore as cooking, so that’s pretty rare.

Music makes everything a little easier, though, and in the case of cooking, it makes an activity I do enjoy that much better. So the next time I’m setting up a new home, I can guarantee that there will be a set of speakers in the kitchen, carefully and safely hooked up to whatever dominant stereo system is in the household.

So the question: Do you have a system to play/hear music in your kitchen? Do you like listening to music while cooking/baking away? If so, what is on your current kitchen playlist?

Talk amongst yourselves and leave answers in the comments. I’ve got to get to work.