…amoenam circumspice. That’s the motto of my home state of Michigan, where I’ve lived for all but 9 of my 70 years. I never want to leave.
In English, it’s “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” Indeed. Actually, we’ve got two, and they’re both pretty damned pleasant. From trapping to logging to machining to fullout car manufacturing to the automated robotic manufacturing of the future, folks in my state have always made a pretty good living. Agriculture has been important from the get go, and remains so. That prosperity has supported a great university and a bunch of pretty good ones. If you’d like to read about that arc, a little book by native son Bruce Catton – he the author of many books on the Civil War, the third in his Army of the Potomac trio (1,2,3) winning the Pulitzer prize in 1954 – Michigan: A History is a good place to start.
It stops at the early 70s, but folks my age have lived through everything since. It’s still available on Amazon, cheap used (4).
But this piece is about my kitchen, believe it or not. When I wrote about my kitchen some time ago, I mainly focused on the hardware of cooking, the software needed (i.e. cookbooks and recipe boxes) and the staple ingredients, like spices (5). I portrayed my kitchen as “my lab”, and it remains so. But what about some of the accessories? You might detect a theme.
Every chef needs a good cutting board, and I have several. But I’m especially fond of a recent acquisition, spotted at the Jerome Country Market (6) where I’d gone to pick up my recently butchered lamb.
Handling those hot pots on the stove requires some protection, and a little shop on the Kalamazoo mall – K’zoo in the Mitten (7) – gave me the perfect mitt. I’m on my second. As you can see such items take a beating.
The big venting hood over the Viking range where I cook my stuff is a perfect place for the car magnets that adorn our Jeep on game day.
I’ll admit that not all my creations are perfect right off the stove. Sometimes a little seasoning is in order. Thanks to my sister Suzanne, I have the shakers for the job.
Presentation is everything, so when my creation calls for a big platter, I’ve got just the item.
Following the cooking and eating is always the cleanup. The drudgery is lightened if you have something fun to wipe with. I’ve stocked up so there’s always at least one clean one in the rotation.
So it’s for sure a Meechegan (!)(8) kitchen. Should you come visit, I even have a beverage for you.
After your visit to my Harbal kitchen, I hope you’ll leave with a song in your heart – whether it’s ”Michigan my Michigan”(9) or “Hail to the Victors”(10) – and warm feelings for the dear state I’m so lucky to live in.
- Catton B. Mr. Lincoln’s Army. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1951. https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Lincoln-Army-Bruce-Catton/dp/1298510848/ref=sr_1_9?crid=3MEA9UJBB1WAI&keywords=bruce+catton+civil+war+trilogy&qid=1671041515&sprefix=Bruce+Catton%2Caps%2C122&sr=8-9
- Catton B. Glory Road. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1952. https://www.amazon.com/Army-Potomac-Glory-Road/dp/B000I74HEK/ref=sr_1_10?crid=3MEA9UJBB1WAI&keywords=bruce+catton+civil+war+trilogy&qid=1671041596&sprefix=Bruce+Catton%2Caps%2C122&sr=8-10
- Catton B. A Stillness at Appomattox. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1953. https://www.amazon.com/Stillness-Appomattox-Army-Potomac-Vol/dp/0385044518/ref=sr_1_13?crid=3MEA9UJBB1WAI&keywords=bruce+catton+civil+war+trilogy&qid=1671041596&sprefix=Bruce+Catton%2Caps%2C122&sr=8-13
- Catton B. Michigan. A bicentennial history. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1976. https://www.amazon.com/Michigan-Bicentennial-History-States-Nation/dp/0393301753/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2O4GMVEP3R929&keywords=bruce+catton+michigan+a+bicentennial+history&qid=1670439623&sprefix=bruce+catton+Michigan%2Caps%2C119&sr=8-1
- Ike B. in my kitchen. WordPress 6/29/21. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/06/29/in-my-kitchen-2/
- Jerome Country Market. https://jeromecountrymarketllc.com/
- K’zoo in the Mitten. Sassy Extras. https://sassyextras.com/
- How West Virginian Fielding H. Yost – the greatest Wolverine ever – pronounced “Michigan”. The affectation was carried forth by announcer Bob Ufer, voice of Michigan football ’45-’81
- .Daniels J. Michigan my Michigan. YouTube. Produced by rkstudios450. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUtO91e3Apo
- University of Michigan Fight Song. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF–ldYIBnM