Kitchen Lessons

Being out of the loop of modern galleys, I mean kitchens, for long periods, leaves us at a disadvantage when we come back. We just don't know how to operate in the kitchen. Add together the trendy, high-tech, non-intuitive appliances, the different venues (Boston and Las Vegas) and our bad memories and we are challenged daily to perform basic tasks. I've already outlined the issues just trying to learn how to use our iPhone, but it just gets worse and worse. I don't think we're techno-phobes, just techno-ignorants. kitchen collage

Here's what I mean …

Many times I'm the first one up in the morning and want to get the coffee started. Well, both Lin and Mary have high tech coffee makers which not only make coffee (which is really all I want to do), as well as set the time to start the coffee, when to shut it off, how to make it bold or regular, feed the dog/cat, etc., etc., etc. How many scoops do you put in? ( 6 at Lin's; 3 heaping at Mary's). How do you keep the water from spilling all over the place when you're filling up the reservoir? (No one knows) Oh, yes, and use the reverse osmosis water only. When making the coffee, hold in one button till the BOLD icon lights up, then press it again to start brewing the coffee. Now I realize, there are much more complicated coffee makers than this, but you're talking to a girl who typically adds boiling water from her whistling kettle to instant Nescafe or an Earl Grey tea bag and calls it done.

Or how about the microwave? Yes, we have one aboard. We bought it in 2000 when we started sailing and we think it still works. We can only use it when we have shore power, which is rare. Even when we're in a marina, we forget we have it. We use it primarily as a Faraday cage for the electronic instruments during electrical storms. So figuring out how to use Lin's was tricky. We finally managed and then hers broke and she bought a new one and we started all over again. Then we came to Mary's and hers was a whole new beast. Reading a manual to figure out how to heat leftovers seems counter-productive somehow. I've always preferred cold leftovers.

The fridge-freezer? You couldn't be expected to open the door to get water or ice and no, there are no ice cube trays to refill. You have to select which you want, however, (cold water, cubes, crushed, etc) and try not to change the fridge temperature or set off any alarms while you're doing it. We have no ice cubes aboard … mostly because we have no freezer. We open the fridge lid, take out cold stuff, close the lid. That's it. No technology involved. Cold water comes from the faucet; hot water comes from the tea kettle.

Lin's stove allows two timers to operate at once (although I use my analog wristwatch since I haven't learned to set even one timer yet) and there are all sorts of options for top-of-stove burner use and setting oven functions. Mary's stove is more user-friendly. It's gas (I'm used to that) and as long as I don't have to use the oven, I'm good as.

Play a DVD or watch TV while cooking? I can't even contemplate this. It's like walking and chewing gum at the same time. After dinner, I'm happy to hand the TV remote(s) to someone who cares and seems responsible and head to my computer or iPad where I can watch a YouTube about correct and proper refrigerator use.

There are blenders, mixers, and food processors, pasta makers and rice cookers, popcorn makers, slow cookers, fast cookers, electric griddles, egg steamers and SodaStreams. Oh, we'll eventually catch up once we have a house and have to use all the gadgets every day, but in the meantime, it's nearly overwhelming. Give me a GPS, chartplotter, AIS, radar, Navionics charts on an iPad … now we're talking easy to use.