No Utensils Needed

Flat on my belly on the cold linoleum and shoved against the mop head, the pantry shelves above me, I had not been able to move a muscle for three and 1/2 minutes.

Listening intently, I was awaiting the thieves who entered my kitchen. You know the ones: Husband, alias utensil robber of spatulas, cooking pots, butter knives all snuck out of the kitchen drawers and led directly into …The Garage.

And here’s the clincher. Once in the garage, these precious kitchen utensils instantly become grease scoopers and oil drip pans. And, worse of all, leather rippers. As a result, I have self-described him as a “kitchen utensil junkie.”

The other thieves? Children. From toddlers to teenagers, they are pilfering the kitchen scissors, twine, and spoons. Anything their little mugs can get a hold of and sneak upstairs to their rooms.

I had confronted, accused, and questioned to NO avail. All I ever received was denial. “I didn’t do it.” “I did NOT take it.” “What would I want with that…duh?”

This week, I made my biggest, most rewarding discovery in a time-honored way: watching and waiting, waiting and watching.

A couple of days before, I hunted in the teenager’s room. It was blatantly lying on the floor—number one: Evidence: of my kitchen scissors. I took a Polaroid shot. I continued the hunt with new appreciation, having now seen the competition.

Another Polaroid snapped in the garage under the car-my stock pot-with car oil dripping in it.

I waited until Saturday’s chores were completed. I’ am ready now for the confrontation. I dropped the ax on this one-time-only opportunity.

The tribe sat in a circle as I slowly revealed the pictures behind my back as evidence. They all sat there silently contemplating their destiny.

“This is proof of what I have been saying that you are thieves and have conspired to deplete me of any kitchen utensils.” I shouted.

“I know your trick, you think you have learned to be crafty by putting the dishes away in mysterious places. Well, you cannot throw me off the trail any longer I am on to you! Several behavior studies (I threw this in as their attention began to lag) says that…”

If you want to know the truth, I glimpsed around the room they were captured, pinned down, stunned. It was great.

“The closest you will come to life on this planet (home) I continued, is to admit to fault and I will go easy on you.” No one quarreled, no one disagreed. Call me cautious, but I’m always suspicious when everyone is so agreeable all at the same time. All at once.

I thought the case was closed until today, when I went to the cabinet to pull out my Jell-O mold…it was missing. I looked out the kitchen window and there it was full of dirt…with a spoon in it.

For obvious reasons, I’m resigned to the fact that my pantry is too small for stakeouts and I have learned to cook with…



2 chicken breasts

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed

dash pepper and dash of garlic salt

3 slices ham

2 teaspoons lemon juice


Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness. Mix salt, basil, pepper, and garlic salt; sprinkle on chicken. Cover each chicken breast with 1-1/2 slices ham; roll up length- wise. Place, seam side down, in 10×6 inch baking dish. Drizzle with lemon juice; sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Cover; chill thoroughly. Before serving; cut chicken rolls into 1/4 inch slices. If desired, serve with bite size rye bread spread with softened butter and mustard. Makes 24 slices.


2 cups soft bread crumbs

1/3 cup milk

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound bulk pork sausage

1 5-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

Combine first 5 ingredients; add remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into 1-inch balls. Place on cookie sheet and freeze firm; wrap in foil or plastic bag and return to freezer. Before serving, place frozen meatballs on sheet baking pan. Bake at 250 for 35 minutes. Keep warm in chafing dish. Makes about 5 dozen. Serve with toothpicks.


2 cups dairy sour cream

1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup finely chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Dash paprika

5 drops hot pepper sauce

1 -1/3 cup rich round cracker crumbs

Combine all ingredients except crumbs. Line 4-cup bowl with clear plastic wrap. Spread 1/2 cup of the sour cream mixture in bottom of bowl. Layer with 1/2 cup of the crumbs; then 1 cup sour cream mixture, 1/2 cup crumbs, and remaining sour cream mixture. Cover; chill for 24 hours. Store remaining cracker crumbs. Before serving: Unmold onto serving plate; remove wrap. Top with remaining crumbs. Serve with assorted crackers.

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