Spatula! I have two words for you…

Some people come into your life for a very brief time, but leave you with stories that last forever.

A guy I met a long time ago was a doctor in Memphis, TN. At that time he was doing a rotation in the ER at a hospital down there. While he was a southerner, this particular ER was in a rough neighborhood and provided exposure to people and circumstances he hadn’t experienced during his preppy, private school upbringing on the right side of town.

There was, for example, the woman in the delivery room who upon hearing the doctors mention the placenta, decided that Placenta would be a lovely name for her newborn daughter.

Our doctor friend had a lot of stories….But, perhaps my favorite of his encounters took place not in the hospital, but at a nearby grocery store. While shopping for dinner, my southern doctor friend overheard a mother yelling at her ill behaved daughter. She said, and this is a quote: ‘Spatula! I have two words for you: Be Have!’ We were never sure which was more amusing, the daughter being named ‘Spatula’ or the fact that behave was two words…

Since hearing this story, I can’t look at or grab for a spatula without hearing ‘Spatula! I have two words for you…’ in my head. And, it got me to thinking about how many spatulas I really needed when I downsized from the house to the apartment.

Here’s what I’ve found…I need three. Yep, three spatulas. I need this one from Williams-Sonoma

Silicone Slotted Spatula

Actually, I need two of those. I could live with one..but since most of what I make whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, requires a spatula, one is always dirty. In a smaller space it’s important to clean as you go. Still, if you are cooking frequently, it’s almost impossible to always have a clean spatula available.

I like this spatula because the handle is long, the silicone paddle won’t mar your non-stick pots, pans etc and, mostly, because it comes in many different colors.

And, I need a fish spatula. The fish spatula is good for a lot more than just fish. Its slim design makes it ideal for flipping all sorts of delicate foods – I use mine when I make eggs over easy, for example.

This is the one I bought at Williams-Sonoma:

WMF Profi Plus Fish Turner

That’s it. Just three spatulas. And, yes, you could get away with two, but I don’t recommend trying it.

I really don’t know where my southern doctor friend ended up but the stories of two girls named Placenta and Spatula will stay with me forever.

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Happy Pixies in My Kitchen

By far my favorite thing to cook when I was little was Ronnie Rooster’s Cinnamon Toast. I got this recipe from my very first cookbook: The Happy Pixies’ Cookbook. The recipe was exactly what one might think it would be, but I still followed the directions – carefully pre-heating the oven, placing white bread on a cookie sheet, smearing each slice with softened butter (this was pre-microwave, when butter had to be softened by leaving it out on the counter and then…waiting), sprinkling with brown sugar and then sprinkling again with cinnamon.

In just a few minutes under the broiler I had perfectly toasted, buttery, sugary delights!

I made the Ronnie Rooster Cinnamon Toast all the time and often tried different takes on it. If we didn’t have brown sugar, I found that regular sugar worked nicely as well. If you lightly toasted the bread without anything on it first and then added the butter and toppings, the heat of the toast would help to melt the butter and you didn’t have to wait for it to soften on the counter. I even got a little indulgent a few times and did a second layer of butter/brown sugar/cinnamon and re-toasted.

Sometimes getting a recipe right is like working your way through a maze where the dead-ends are just dishes that aren’t yet perfect. And, even though I had strayed from the original recipe, I always kept the book out while preparing the toast.

Everyone has her own comfort food – the one thing she craves when feeling down. For me, that was always Ronnie Rooster’s Cinnamon Toast.

There are things you need if you want to create in the kitchen and there are things that you just don’t really need anymore. I gave away almost all of my cookbooks last year as part of the downsizing of my life. If I need a recipe, I can find it online. Actually, I can find 1,000 variations in most cases. And, living in a small apartment, I love that the Internet doesn’t take up any physical space.

I know by heart how to make Ronnie Rooster’s Cinnamon Toast. And yet, when recently sorting through what to keep and what to give away, I decided to keep my tattered copy of The Happy Pixies’ Cookbook. I like knowing that there are always happy pixies in my kitchen.