According to a quick Google search, the phrase comes from a 19th Century ad for gas stoves, touting their superiority to wood stoves.
Most of my life, I’ve cooked with electricity, although for a short time I had a gas stove in the US where the gas company kept the gas coming! But in Benin we have gas stoves that work with bottled gas, which runs out from time to time, always on a weekend! There’s a spare, but I’m always a little afraid I’m going to blow myself up trying to change it with a pair of vice-grips, so when this past 3 day weekend (local holiday on Friday) the gas ran out, I decided to do without.
I’m a guy, and we enjoy our toys, even in the kitchen, so I have a Foreman grill, a crock pot, a microwave (the embassy provides that last one), waffle iron, etc. So I decided I could get through the weekend that way. I made a big pot of gumbo in the crock pot, grilled some salmon on the Foreman and had a grilled salmon salad one night. Defrosted a bunch of cooked shrimp and some tortillas and made shrimp wraps. All in all, it worked out fine, and Monday I changed the gas cylinder.
Which brings us to my next adventure in cooking, rice pudding. I love rice pudding, and like many things, in the US I just went to the supermarket and bought it. Preparation was putting some cinnimon on top. But, not in Africa. I got a couple of recipes off of the Internet and my first attempt a few weeks back came out very edible, but sweeter and thinner than I really liked. So last night I increased the rice by 1/3 and decreased the sugar by a few teaspoons and it came out perfect. In case anyone cares, here is the recipe:
- 3/4 cup uncooked white rice (I made it 1)
- 2 cups milk, divided
- 1/3 cup white sugar (I made it 1/4)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water (I used 2 since I used more rice) to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- In another saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups (I used 2) cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg and raisins. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm.
Since rice is a staple in many parts of the world, finding different ways to cook and eat it is always useful! Fortunately, I really like rice.
My final cooking (using the term loosely) adventure this week was cole slaw. This one involves no recipe, just taste. I chop up some cabbage (I don’t have a food processor, so the pieces are always bigger than most cole slaw) and add mayo to coat, wine or cider vinegar to taste, and then spices (coarsely ground pepper is important to me, some paprika for color if I have it, and after that I just fool around until it tastes good). It’s always best if you can wait 24 hours for it to meld in the fridge before eating, but of course, you never can.
Plans for the near future: I have to get back to bagels. I’ve never made potato salad. And since I’m going home for a week and can bring stuff back, I’m going to bring back pickling cukes to make some half sour pickles.