The Yellow Kitchen Curtain: My Descent into Domestic Madness

11 Nov

“Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast and her crawling shakes it all over…” - The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It was 1 AM on Sunday, November 7. But really it was 12 AM…or 2 AM. The time change always screws me up.  So there I was, awake in bed,waiting for my husband-to-be to return from a late-night band gig, and that’s when-as the late great Shel Silverstein would say–the Whatifs crawled inside my ear. What if the dandelion wine we’re serving at our first Thanksgiving is awful? What if the duct-taped rearview mirror on our car falls off? I settled on: What if I left the coffee maker on at work and the building is currently burning down? Yep, that should sufficiently keep me up for the rest of the night.

After googling “Can a Mr. Coffee burn a building down?” (you can find pretty much whatever answer you want to find) for a bit, I decided to put my anxiety about becoming an accidental arsonist to good use by making some cocoa almonds, a delicious snack I saw in a cookbook that I’ve forgotten the title of  (but I’ve added the recipe below). However, as I was standing in my well-lit kitchen at 2 AM (or 1 AM or 3 AM), I noticed we had no curtain on our kitchen window and, of course, immediately began to worry that some creep was watching me coat my nuts in chocolate. Well, it’s only 2 AM (or 1 AM or 3 AM), never too late to make curtains! This way it would make an interesting police report when they arrested me for burning my workplace down: “The suspect was found humming to Patsy Cline and sewing a long curtain to hang next to her oven, presumably so that she could then set her own apartment on fire.”

I got out my trusty tape measurer and measured the window, then searched through my basket o’rummage sale cloth and found the only fabric that I had enough of to cover the window and was also thick enough to stop the chilly fall breeze from freezing my nuts:

Very nice. Although I actually liked the backside of the fabric more so I decided to make that side show in the kitchen and let the creeper stalking me outside enjoy the frontside. The process actually went quite smoothly. I cut out a big panel, hemmed the edges, and sewed a loop at the top for the tension rod to fit through. By the time my beau arrived home an hour later, I was already hanging my yellow kitchen curtain up.

It matches quite nicely with the paint on the kitchen wall and, when the sun is out during the day, it almost glows and gives that corner of the kitchen a groovy, trippy, grandma vibe:

…which, coincidentally, looks an awful lot like the yellow wallpaper that drove the woman confined to her room crazy in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, The Yellow Wallpaper.

Eesh. One woman driven crazy because she was confined to domestic life, another driven into domesticity because she’s straight up crazy. Fortunately, the coffee pot was not actually left on and the only creep roaming around my place so late at night thinking about nuts was me. All’s well that ends yellow.

Cocoa Almond Recipe (also good with walnuts):

1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups almonds
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat the foil with oil spray.

In a large bowl, combine the egg white and vanilla and whip until very frothy. Add the almonds to the bowl and stir until they’re completely soaked in the egg white, about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Add the sugar-cocoa mixture to the almonds, and stir until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated and evenly coat the almonds. No dry powder should remain at the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the almonds onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a spatula or your hands to spread them into a single layer. Bake 25 minutes on the middle oven rack.

Using a spatula, flip the almonds over in small batches and bake for 15 more minutes.

Cool for at least 15 minutes. Break the almonds apart before serving.

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2 Responses to “The Yellow Kitchen Curtain: My Descent into Domestic Madness”

  1. Amy November 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Excellent post and AWESOME recipe! Thanks Annie! :)

  2. Erin November 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    I love this book! Now I want to read it again. You did great sewing straight lines. I am not so great at that! It looks great!

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