The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

COLUMN: Kitchen Chaos


As I type this article, I'm still in the process of moving which as I have said before in my weekly column is one thing, I do not enjoy doing at all.

Later this afternoon will be the absolute worst part because it is time to move all the big stuff like couches and beds, but I'm trying my hardest to stay positive and realize that it will soon be done.

One of the things I like best about the new house is that the kitchen is about twice the size of the last one and that brings a huge smile to my face. I love to cook and consider myself pretty good at it so having a small kitchen was a nightmare. There was only enough room for one person and there was very little counter space. If I wanted to do prep work, I would have to do it on the kitchen table and if two people were trying to do something like a Thanksgiving dinner it was as packed as a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour.

For the kids it was probably best there was not a lot of area to work with because they could get out of helping out with dinner. Shayla has a cute little chef's hat and apron and possibly thinks of the culinary arts as a future career, but when it comes time to help she often times disappears. I really think the cats may have taught her the finer arts of hiding because when it is time to cook dinner she is often times nowhere to be found.

It was also probably a plus for Mya because her knife skills are downright scary. Watching Mya cut an onion is pretty similar to what it is like to watch a cat get a bath. Much like you feel bad for the cat as it squirms and claws and fights to get out of the predicament, it's is also painful to watch her nearly cut off her fingers with each slice.

While I have hopes they help out more with the added space and can learn things or at least how to keep their fingers, I'm just excited to hang out in the kitchen. It is a happy place for me when I'm in the mood to craft a tasty meal like an authentic Philly cheesesteak or a homemade marinara.

One thing I would like to be a lot better at in the kitchen is baking. For some reason I have never really figured it out so we never have a lot of homemade sweet treats around the house.

I've found overtime every oven is different and I cannot even seem to master how to do a boxed cake. It's either undercooked or overcooked. There is no happy medium and it is frustrating. My cake also seems to drop in the middle and I'm not sure what that is all about.

My mom baked a lot when I was growing up and I would love to try and tackle her famous cinnamon rolls, but I'm afraid I might destroy her beloved recipes.

The only thing I can do is store made cookie dough. I tried to pass this knowledge down to Mya and Shayla but I must not have done it to well. Shayla had her cookies come out raw and Mya cooked them so long they were similar to hockey pucks. I very well could have a master baker with Melissa, but I've never really seen her bake and don't think it is her cup of tea. She is the breakfast cook and does an amazing job so she is probably happy sticking with doing that.

Maybe the added space will help the four of us improve at baking. It could possibly be a new Sunday afternoon hobby and it will have the house smelling great.


The more I think about it, this is most likely not going to happen. I should probably just stick with what I know and that is cooking most of the dinners.

I doubt I will get any cooking done the first several days but by the time this paper is published I will hopefully have cooked a really good meal, Shayla has come out of hiding, and Mya has all of her fingers.


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