What happens when you put a nurse in the kitchen and throw in a pinch of kitsch? You get KitchRN!
My journey as both a registered nurse and an unregistered foodie began at approximately the same time, therefore inextricably linking food and nursing in my realm of life experiences. While attending a midwestern university for nursing school, I simultaneously managed the dining room of a French restaurant. My association with restaurateurs, chefs and food writers took me on journeys through kitchens and dining rooms in the US, as well as Michelin 3 Star restaurants in France. While I dined at Taillevent, I learned to tie a tourniquet. I went from eating at Guy Savoy to studying Guillian-Barre. I sipped wine at Pre Catelan while I would whine and pray for an A in Microbiology.
Over the course of 20 years, my nursing career would take me from the neonatal ICU to pediatric and adolescent psychiatry to cardiac surgery to home care. Eventually I turned towards the business side, adding a Master’s degree and a career in healthcare management. I never stopped eating, and even started cooking a bit.
Over time, I learned that really complicated cooking is something best left to the professionals. Great chefs rely on a team of people to help with prep work and most importantly, in my opinion, a team of people to clean up. I began to concentrate on food that foodies sometimes scoff at; food that can be prepared relatively quickly and easily that tastes good. In recent times, this category has been dusted off and given a makeover moniker of “semi-homemade”. I refer to it as All-American Community Cookbook cooking. It used to be called suburban housewife cuisine, Junior League recipe exchange, white trash cooking, ghetto gourmet, and of course, Kitsch Cuisine. These are the recipes that might be based on foodie no-no’s like boxed cake mix and include ingredients like jello, pudding, canned soup and marshmallows. (Not all in the same recipe, at least not yet). They are recipes that are claimed by almost all American cultures and walks of life and have been part of most people’s lives for generations. Some are just simple recipes with basic ingredients. Most importantly, they are recipes that can be prepared by busy nurses with a minimum of fuss, yet still yield results that are both delicious and comforting. Most recently, I have also been experimenting with cutting out sugar in an effort to both have a healthier lifestyle and take off a few pounds. Friday is Diet Friday, where I will update my progress in that regard.
Since my experiences with food are so closely tied to my experiences with nursing, from time to time you may find a blog post that deals exclusively with nursing. While this may be interesting for nurses and medical folks, any of you non-medical folks who have eaten lunch with a group of nurses have learned that we can discuss some extremely gross and disgusting subjects while never pausing between bites. It doesn’t have any effect on OUR appetites whatsoever, but if you’re not the medical type you probably prefer no connection between food and medicine at all. In that case, I highly advise that you skip the nursing-related material and go straight to the recipes!