Category Archives: Changes

On Learning a New Stove

I recently moved from Rochester, NY to Seattle, WA. One of the nuisances we don’t consider when we move is having to learn the peculiarities of a new stove. My old stove was a gas range. Will my new one be gas, or electric? And if it’s electric (which I must admit is a more efficient way to cook), how long will it take me to learn its idiosyncrasies?

What, for example, is a “4.5” on the settings dial? Or how does “medium high” translate into actual heat?

Ovens are pretty simple: they have a temperature right on the dial. And with the help of a decent oven thermometer, it’s easy to check the dial’s accuracy and recalibrate it.

oven thermometer

Oven Thermometer

But I’m not going to worry about that right now. Right now my main goal is finding a place to live. While living in Rochester, I had forgotten that Washington State law allows a landlord to collect an amount 3 times the monthly rent before letting you move in: first and last month’s rent, plus a damage deposit equal to the monthly rent. On top of that, most landlords also demand a $40 application fee to cover the cost of running a background check on potential tenants.

Had I remembered that, I’d have stayed in Rochester until I had saved up enough money to cover those costs.

And that, my faithful readers, is why I have no new recipes for you: I don’t have a kitchen!



Vegging Out

Two days ago I made what is for me, a dedicated meat-eater, a momentous decision: to switch to a vegetarian diet.

I didn’t do it for any philosophical reasons, or out of any sense of morality. I’m not giving up all animal products: after all, I still wear leather shoes, and I have a couple of leather belts. Rather I am forced to do it for survival: the price of meats has become too high for me on my very limited budget.

But here’s the thing: by the time I bought all of the spices, herbs, and fruits I needed to be able to create a palatable menu, my budget was exhausted. I’m just lucky that I already had enough rice and beans to get me through the month, and that I also have enough staples to bake my own bread.

Food or Gas?

One of the reasons our food prices are so high is the growing cost of transportation. For example, chicken, pork, and beef producers have to bid on corn in competition with the petrochemical industry. The latter is dedicated to producing fuels with ethanol—which is made from corn—despite the fact that adding ethanol to gasoline actually results in a net energy loss. This translates to lower gas mileage which, in turn, increases your need to buy even more gasoline than before ethanol was introduced.

The bottom line? Corn prices are forced higher by the bidding wars, which means the price of animals fed on corn also rise.

One solution to this, at least on an individual level, is to become a locavore; that is, eat foods that are grown close to home. I am fortunate to live close to several farmer’s markets, and the Rochester Public Market is famous for its selection of locally-grown produce.

What This Means For This Blog

So don’t expect too see any more meat-centered posts here. I’ll be posting vegetarian and vegan recipes from now on. And honestly? Not very many vegan recipes: I love my dairy products—cheese, yogurt, eggs—too much to take that radical a step.

And since I’m going to be searching out new recipes, I’ll probably be posting more frequently.

After all, a girl has to do something to keep herself off the streets and out of the bars!