Chaos can’t keep us from cooking

It’s time to start digging out and compiling a list of easy-peasy recipes for dinner because, let’s face it, who wants to waste a moment of the upcoming crisp fall twilights in the kitchen?

And, also, the first phase of our long-delayed kitchen renovation may be starting soon.

Believe me, this is not one of those granite/stainless steel/wine fridge jobs that includes a refrigerator that costs more than our car. We’re just tired of tripping over the big patches of peeled-up vinyl by the fridge and the back door. And to make matters worse, Sarkozy, the kitten with a plan, has hastened our decision because his favorite new pastime is  – yep – grabbing the flapping pieces of pathetic flooring and pulling on them. What started out as quarter-sized patches when we moved in 10 years ago are now the size of saucers.

Also, a couple of pesky walls need to come down, along with some bottom cabinets whose fiberboard shelves disintegrated years ago. We dealt with it by ripping the shelves out and setting some wire racks on the floor inside the empty shells.

All-in-all our kitchen is a disaster, but it has never stopped us from enjoying cooking a meal together, having friends over for dinner or stirring up something for a potluck. In the past decade, as we made do, we watched as kitchens became the rock star of homes – overloaded with expensive jewelry, puffed-up and vainglorious and often better looking than better working.

I can’t say I like America’s obsession with overblown kitchens. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll be excited, and probably a lot safer, when the extension cords running the microwave and coffee maker are replaced with regulation outlets. And I have friends whose kitchens make me want to just move in and never leave.

But I’ve always believed that the quality of a kitchen rarely has little to do with the quality of food produced in it. Simply put, my motto through the years of dicey rentals and our current slapped-together look has been Cruddy Kitchen/Great Food.

Now that we’re facing both a cruddy and torn-up kitchen, the crock-pot and toaster oven will likely be doing the lion’s share of cooking for a while. But how perfect is that? Then I can enjoy walking the dogs or, yes, even raking leaves in the evening, taking advantage of the dwindling daylight hours. Seasonal eating is great, and seasonal renovations are even better.

Will’s Hamburger Sandwiches

My husband’s father used to make these for his kids and Will has carried on the MacDonald family’s love of anything with blue cheese on it.

4 slices white, wheat or pumpernickle bread

1/2 lb ground beef

3 Tbsp. butter

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Preheat the broiler. Slather bread slices with ground beef and use a fork to spread the meat evenly and thinly over each slice. Dot each piece with butter. Combine garlic powder and sea salt and spinkle on each slice. Broil about five minutes and remove from the oven. Top with blue cheese crumbles. Broil 5-6 minutes more until beef is browned and cooked through.





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