too many cooks, too many kitchens

we're having a party at my folks' house tomorrow. all of us (and then some) are cooking but we're the type of people who absolutely cannot cook in the same kitchen together--that's why there are three kitchens in the house. we have one upstairs (which is actually ground level as the house is built along a mountainside) that's tiny and hot, and used mainly for storage and warming stuff up; a bigger one downstairs, which is bigger (apparently not big enough for two cooks) with a giant table in the middle where most of the prep work is done; and, typical for guam and the philippines, an outdoor kitchen where we do all the "smelly" stuff like frying and um, more frying.

the outdoor kitchen has several gas burners, including an industrial one which is just a giant ring attached to a tank of liquid propane gas. the heat generated is enough to deep fry a turkey or do a massive amount of wok cooking efficiently. forget viking or wolf ranges--this is the thing my mother always dreamed of, and the whole rig cost less than $100.

the upstairs kitchen has a standard refrigerator, a small convection oven, and a regular range top electrical stove with a broken oven door. i don't think we've ever had a proper working oven, ever, but the broken door is probably the smallest problem we've ever had, so actual baking does get done, even when it's not required. today i baked chiffon cupcakes flavoured with buko-pandan(coconut and screwpine), and others with mango. they are from a mix by pillsbury, but again, flavours probably only found in the philippines from a line called pinoy fiesta cakes. i don't do much from mixes, but these were too interesting to pass up (i also have an ube--purple yam--flavoured mix....somewhere). the texture of the cakes are wonderful--dense yet springy, moist with a very fine crumb. as i said, i'm unfamiliar with mixes, but i can't help but think that the directions for these mixes are quite different from american ones; it calls for at least seven eggs and at least 10 uninterrupted minutes of mixing. is that normal? anyway, they've turned out quite fine, and i shall ice them with a pandan icing tomorrow and post photos, accordingly.

the main kitchen downstairs is a big space dominated by a stand alone freezer, which is always full of stuff i would like to throw away one day, a fantastic freezer-on-the-bottom refrigerator (more energy efficient, and huuuuge), a big prep and eating table, and a view of the airport (just the thing to check up on flights) and the philippine sea beyond. it's sort of falling apart, due to damage from typhoon pongsona in 2002, but i think my dad is waiting for the countertop to cave in before he thinks it's dire. ay, adai. i stopped bitching about it because it doesn't seem to bother my folks that much, and i've got a great kitchen at my pad that is used to store junk mail and showcase the reheat button on the microwave, so i guess i'll just have to wait for that countertop to cave in before any changes take place.

the outdoor kitchen is generally my dad's territory, my mom prefers the solitary nature of the upstairs kitchen (it's so hot in there no one will bother her), and me, i don't cook at my place if i don't have to, so i'll cook here, wherever there's space. only today there are at least five people prepping, so i'm on the internet and listening to aussie rules football in the background, waiting for the moment i can get in and do something....i'm thinking midnight. arrrrrrgh.

view from the kitchen at sunset


hey karina:
as usual, you had me in stitches, especially your b-day blog....btw, i finally figured out "sprogging" but what's screwpine?


screwpine is supposedly the english word for the pandan plant. crazy huh? why would anyone want to use anything called screwpine for cooking?! it sounds like a cleaning product or a weird ye olde english cuss word: "ah, ye fine and bawdy wench! ye looketh as tho' ye could use a good screwpine forthwith and hereto!"

eeeuuuch, i think i'll stick to pandan, thanks.