Kitchen Rituals from David Tanis

Chez Panisse chef and cookbook author David Tanis' new book Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys opens with an interesting section called Kitchen Rituals. The fourteen small, two-page chapters share with us short recipes, kitchen tips and a few of the simple things he does to keep himself and his friends well-fed Read on for a some of my favorites from Mr. Tanis and a couple of my own kitchen rituals. What about you?

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Kitchen rituals: little things you always do that stock your pantry or certain methods you have of preparing your food or the ways that you take care of your kitchen. Nigel Slater talks about his nightly ritual of making a pot of yogurt for the next day. For me, doing the evening washing up is a ritual: I select my podcast or music, light a candle for company and treat myself to a nice smelling dish soap like Caldrea. Also, making my bone stock which is simply a long day's simmering of chicken backs, feet, heads and a left over carcass along with a lemon. So easy and so satisfying to stock my freezer with the results.

For David Tanis, peeling an apple in a long strip or eating oatmeal in a special counterclockwise way are a few things he puts in his ritual category. One of my favorites from his book is making a small-batch pot of jam from two cups of fruit and two cups of sugar and storing it in the fridge for a weekly treat.

I also appreciated chapter seven's Hurray for Ziplock Bags in which he recommends putting whole, ripe, good-tasting tomatoes in ziplock bags, flattening them a little and popping them into the freezer. He claims the skins will come off easily when defrosted and the flavor is better than canned tomatoes. Worth a try!

What are your kitchen rituals?

Related: Weekend Meditation: Rituals and Repetition

(Images: Dana Velden)

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.