I believe I mentioned that I moved? I probably did in a parenthesis somewhere. If not, I moved. To a bigger, better place, you will surely think. Well, it’s not bigger… Everything in my new apartment has a timer on it. And by everything, I mean everything. The stove has a timer, so that if you as much as try to cook your rice or bake your pizza more than the requested time you plot in on the timer, the stove will just shut itself off. The electricity plugs in the kitchen have timers. The kitchen fan – timer. I’m fairly sure they would have installed a timer in the bathroom as well, but fortunately they took to their senses and installed a magazine shelf instead.
I get why there are so many timers, though. It is a student housing apartment, with many other identical apartments in the same building, and in the building next to it and in the building next to that. So if one scatterbrained student leave the oven on and burn something that triggers a fire alarm, it not only triggers his alarm, but the alarm in the apartment under him, the apartment above him, across the hall, basically, the entire building (and possibly the building next to it and the building next to that one). You get the picture. Fire alarms in general = bad. Fire alarms in a building with a multitude of tiny apartments where the inhabitants are students whose minds generally are preoccupied either with complex academic problems or questions such as where the next keg party will be = big problem for a LOT of people. Thus, the timers are supposed to restrict our assumed frequent setting off the fire alarm.
All that is good and well, but it is also slightly annoying when you are cooking and constantly have to pay attention to make sure your timers are timed. If you are planning any long-time projects (such as a roast; not that I have ever made one) you are in for a challenge.
I am not a very ambitious cook, but I do like to play around in the kitchen, and I do not appreciate it when external forces (such as timers) spoil my plans.
Yesterday I was looking through my kitchen cabinets, wondering what to make for dinner. Since the cabinets are tiny (like the rest of the apartment), I did not have a lot in them. I had oatmeal, some wholegrain flour, rice, a can of beans and an impressive collection of tea. (I am exaggerating slightly, though not on the selection of tea. I could open a [tiny, though, as the rest.. Yeah, you’ve already heard that] teashop. But the reminding items in my cupboard were of little importance, and so I shall refrain from mentioning them. Don’t be nosy!)
With the limited selection in front of me, and no desire to go to the grocer, I had very few options. Thus I decided to make oatbeancakes. What are those? I am so glad you asked.
Oatbeancakes are what someone who only has oatmeal, some wholegrain flour, rice, a can of beans and an impressive collection of tea at hand, but who is fortunate enough to discover an egg in the fridge, can make to stifle hunger. I also found pepper (though no salt – you’d think I’d been able to nick that from the student cantina along with the pepper, but as it turned out the beans were quite salty, so it was actually fortunate that I didn’t).
I set the rice and the tea aside, and then mixed the rest together (crushing the beans to my best ability). I soon had what resembled a dough that could be formed to small burger-like clumps. Not the most appetizing mental image, I’m afraid, but in reality it didn’t look too bad. Now it only needed frying. I’ve been told that the best tool for frying things would be a frying pan. This was the moment I remembered that I am not in the possession of a frying pan.
Actually, I am in the possession of a frying pan. But it does not live with me at the moment. You see, the frying pan I have is a very large one (in fact, it is almost twice as large as my apartment. Almost). Thus I had sent it back into storage, determined to buy a smaller frying pan at the first occasion. Unfortunately that occasion have not yet arrived.
I am not helpless when it comes to finding alternate solutions, however, so I decided that if you don’t have a frying pan, you’ll have to use a regular kettle/pot/pan/whatever you call it in English (my kitchen vocabulary isn’t the best. What in the world is the English word for hjulvisp, for instance?). I found one, I put it on the stove and I waited for it to heat up. Only it did not. Why? Because of the stupid timer! The timer I had not set! By the time I figured this out I was almost hungry enough to eat the oatbeanclumps (they only turn into oatbeancakes once fried, you see) raw. Luckily I was able to stifle my hunger by nibbling some dry tea leaves instead, and not long thereafter I could enjoy the rest of the meal. By then I was so hungry that I hardly realized that the oatbeancakes tasted exactly like they were made of oatmeal, wholegrain flour and crushed beans mixed together with an egg. So you see, timing is essential!