I was reading a rather upsetting story in the Washington Post detailing the Slow death of the home-cooked meal. The saddest part for me was that I got it. I understood. With the time crunch most Americans are navigating, eating out or eating mostly prepared/processed foods is extremely appealing. But the act of not cooking, of not experiencing the joy of preparing a meal and then being able to have the satisfaction of eating it, is heartbreaking.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not here to guilt anyone into cooking if they don’t enjoy it. There are a myriad of reasons to cook, from health benefits to sheer affordability, but in today’s crazy rat-race, spending an hour cooking dinner makes no sense if you hate doing it and you can afford to eat out. And for those who cook because they want healthier meals or to be more frugal with their hard earned money, cooking is a chore, more work on their already overstretched and stressful day.
The problem is, if you don’t have some idea what you are doing in the kitchen, it’s not all that enjoyable. I can tell you all about the friends and family I have that detest preparing their own meals simply because they are worried that they don’t know what they are doing, then get frustrated, when the results don’t turn out as they hoped or expected.
This is where I’m here to help. A well-stocked pantry, some basic tools and recipes can take that chore and make it fun. After a long and stressful day, I find the quiet, methodical work of chopping vegetables can be downright therapeutic. Making espresso after sleeping in on a Saturday morning then slowly puttering around making pancakes or muffins for a lazy brunch is sweetly self-indulgent. And the longer/larger kitchen tasks like baking bread, curing sausage or making homemade pasta can be almost meditative as you focus on your task and allow time to be a participant in the process.
For me, time in the kitchen is time to step away from the world, put down my phone, unplug, and play. And when I’m done, I can enjoy the fruits of my labor. If you don’t already feel that way, I hope this blog helps. The recipes I’ve included are only guidelines, and several aren’t even recipes but rather basic how-tos to take the mystery out of the dish. Most started in another cookbook or magazine or tv show that I’ve played with until it felt like mine. And yet, I still change little touches. I can’t claim that I stick to them exactly every time and I hope you use them as guides or inspiration for your own version in your kitchen. The pantry and kitchen tools pages are the products, ingredients or tools that I love. Those things that allow my kitchen to be a place of relative ease and creativity. I am not writing reviews, trying to sell anything, or denigrating products or cookware that aren’t included, but if you are looking to stock your kitchen or pantry, I hope these pages give you an idea of which tools or ingredients can help you along the way.
Cooking in my kitchen is joyful and I wish that joy for you and yours.