Nick and Rena—London and New York transplants, respectively, who currently live with their two young children in Atlanta—cook a lot. In fact, their kitchen plays host to dozens of home-cooked meals every week. The whole family loves food. Taste, quality, and health are vitally important, but so are cost and logistical necessities. That means very few, if any, meals out, and no frozen dinners or processed foods. It also means a commitment to eating at home, and a lot of shopping, cooking, prepping, and cleaning.
There is no question that's a challenge. Nick has a penchant for very creative but somewhat labor intensive cooking. The kitchen is spacious and accommodates elaborate meals. A dishwasher helps reduce the fear of using too many pots and too many dishes.
The one appliance in constant rotation at this point is the immersion blender. Vegetables and grains are easily blended for their baby. Other than that, the kitchen is more about ingredients than the tools used to prepare those ingredients. Rena and Nick have acquired many great pots over the years and have little need for new-fangled or expensive gadgets. They know that it is not the appliance but the love of cooking and the desire to nurture their family that is most important to the success of their meals.
10 Questions for Nick
What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
It relaxes me to cook. It's the center of our home. It's a way of traveling with children, easily (exploring other cultures from our dining table).
What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Braised lamb shank for a Passover soon after we arrived in Atlanta. That was probably one of the two times we've used our dining room.
Biggest challenge in your kitchen?
Cooking with other people.
Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen?
iPad as recipe book. And Growler — re-fillable jug for draft beer.
Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
Maybe an espresso machine although the stovetop makes excellent espresso and maybe a larger external freezer. I crave nothing, really.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Precision in technique, but smell-based cooking.
Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Clean out the funnel of a stovetop espresso maker (Moka Pot) by blowing the grains out instead of banging it. De-seed bell pepper by slicing the bottom of the pepper and cracking it open. (The pepper instantly falls away from the seeds.) Make your own stock (I make beef, chicken, fish, and veggie).
What is your favorite cookbook?
The Foods and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas
What are you cooking this week?
Pizza with anchovies, broccoli, mushrooms, and mozzarella; Pasta with broccoli paste, smoked trout and navy beans; Grilled salmon with grilled potatoes and roasted cauliflower; Jean-Georges Vongerichten's short ribs.
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(Images: Jill Slater)