Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the Pursuit of Coffee

Our coffee maker has punked out again.  This time it was the result of a child (who's identity remains a mystery) spilling half of a crockpot of beef bone broth all over the kitchen counter, including down the front of the coffee maker where the switch was located.

But a small appliance malfunctioning is a common thing for us.  Everything around our house gets used well and is subjected to a greater than average amount of wear and tear.  The dishes get done by kids.  Sometimes food and drink get served by kids.  Meals get prepped by kids.  Things meet a faster demise in this scenario, because kids are learning and they make mistakes.  And when a family has this many children, the mistakes and accidents are numerous.  TheMom has less time and energy to deal with timely and thorough clean-up of such mistakes, or the proper training in such clean-up.  And the kids have to be more independent to improvise their own solutions to such accidents.

This time, however, the mistake was not cleaned up at all.  Apparently, no attempt at cleaning up was even made.  Instead the spilled broth sat all over the countertop, spattered atop, and skimming in amidst and congealing beneath the appliances, until I discovered it several hours later. 

Alas, the coffee maker could not be salvaged.  I wiped it all off and filled it as usual, and tried to set the timer.  But the digits would not show up.  Hmmm.  Well, maybe the coffee will still brew with the manual switch.  Come morning, however, the water sat comfortably in the well and stubbornly refused to enter the filter and so pass through the waiting grounds.  Hmmm.

But not to worry.  We've been without automatic drip coffee makers before and are well-prepared to make coffee in other manners.  We have a stove-top percolator.  We have a campfire percolator.  We have several different sized triangular plastic filter holders, into which we can place a filter, and which is then balanced over a jar or thermal carafe while the boiling water is poured through.

I'm not in the mood for dealing with the percolator.  This is just too putzy for my current state of mind.  But the triangle filters, they too have their own brand of putziness.  They tend to get plugged up and then drip slowly enough that the first coffee is cooling off before the later pourings have seeped into the carafe.

Yes, I do realize I could just go buy a cheapo, junky coffee maker at Wal-Mart or elsewhere.  I could do that.  But really,...$20 for a piece of junk?  I find more and more often that I simply cannot do it.  Generally, I try to find my replacement, small appliances used.  But this time, I have no immediate plans to get anywhere to search the thrift stores.  

When considering all of the above, I had to call forth an extra measure of creativity this morning.  I decided to use the filter holder thing from the now defunct automatic drip coffee maker.  I placed within it a filter and some grounds.  Then I balanced it above the thermal carafe. Through this contraption I planned to pour my boiling water.

But there was yet one puzzle to be solved.  One challenge to be surmounted.  Recall, please, how most drip coffee makers now come with a handy little gizmo?  The thing that plugs the drip hole to allow one to remove the glass carafe in mid cycle to fill their coffee cup, without the coffee continuing to drip all over the heating plate?  Well, that handy gizmo is not so handy when one is attempting to pour water through the filter while it's sitting on top of a carafe and not in the coffee maker.  In this situation, something that was designed to be a help, can be a bit of a nuisance.

But I am blessed with an inordinate ability to "make do."  Necessity is the mother of invention, and all that.  After a bit of rummaging around my kitchen drawers, I found I could wedge a measuring spoon into the lever that is supposed to flip closed when the glass carafe is removed from the coffee maker.  The lever cannot close with the spoon wedged in.  With this solution in place the tantalizing brew can now pour freely through the drip hole and into the thermal carafe. 

And from there, soon..., oh soon..., into my waiting mug, to be slowly savored for the rejuvenation of my spirit.

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