What's in your kitchen? What is your kitchen?

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The subject of 'kitchens' has been front and foremost my mind, again. The renovations on the house that I talked about a few months ago haven't really progressed much beyond what you see there. We temporarily ran out of funds, then I got sick and lost interest for a while, and on and on. But now...I want a kitchen! I have been pinning kitchen ideas almost daily on Pinterest while I wait for the necessary funds to come in. Imagine being a professional food writer, ostensibly, and not even having a kitchen. It's not easy, folks. I would normally flee to Japan to take advantage of my mom's kitchen there, but my current physical condition doesn't allow me to do that. Bummer. In the meantime we are still making do with two portable burners, a tiny refrigerator...and we have to do the dishes in the bathroom sink. My patience is wearing a bit thin to say the least.

Anyway, this post is actually inspired by something else - a review left for the Just Bento Cookbook on Amazon.com. It's not a bad review really - 4 stars is not bad after all - but the reviewer complained that the book is "not really good for American kitchens'. This got me thinking about about, what exactly is an American kitchen these days? Doesn't a kitchen, and the ingredients it stocks, evolve over time? For instance, something like sriracha sauce was unheard of in most American kitchens just a few years ago, and now I suspect quite a few have it in their pantries along with the ketchup and the A-1 Steak Sauce. Maybe instead of those traditional, "All-American" sauces.

And so, here is an it's-Friday-let's-have-fun type of little questionnaire for you!

Question 1: The Amazon reviewer seems to see her kitchen as an "American kitchen". If you had to describe yours in one short phrase, what would it be?

Question 2: What are your all-time, standby favorite pantry staples? (Up to 3)

Question 3: What new ingredient (s) have you discovered recently (say within the last couple of years) that is now part of your regular rotation?

Here are my answers!

Q1: - Japanese-French-American-offbeat (evidence of the offbeat part: Marmite...need I say more?)

Q2: - Soy sauce, Tabasco, and katsuobushi (bonito flakes)

Q3: - Almond butter. I use this now over peanut butter, because I can get unsweetened, additive-free almond butter at our local 'bio' (health food) store but it's almost impossible to get decent peanut butter in France. Also, thick buttery crème fraîche from Brittany - so unlike the much thinner stuff I was used to before.

How about you? ^_^

(ETA: By no means am I saying that the Amazon reviewer was somehow wrong. It is her opinion, how can she (or he) be wrong? But I think from now on I will refrain from commenting publicly on any Amazon reviews of my work, negatively or positively. It seems there is an unwritten rule there that authors are not allowed to do that. ^_^;)

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