Facing the SunKitchen
View from My Kitchen Window, WInter Solstice, 2013 It’s a lot to ask, I know, to consider slowing down some today in honor of the solstice. To consider stopping even, right there in your busy tracks, and looking for the sun which may or may not be not be shinning very brightly where you are. You may have to find the solstice in the blueness of shadows, in their thinness and length. You may have to find it in the muted beauty of a bare branch.
May 13, 2022
Weekend Meditation: On Grocery ShoppingPeople
Many people don’t enjoy grocery shopping but I do. I think this is because I’m a bit of a maverick: It’s rare that I have a list and my usual strategy is to meander about, browsing in every isle, looking for inspiration and a new brand of applesauce. It’s not unusual for me to spend two hours in a grocery store. Two blissful hours.(Image: Dana Velden)I concede that I’m not trying to feed a family of four or holding down two jobs while in medical school.
May 12, 2022
10 Simple Things to Make You Happier in Your KitchenKitchen
The 10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home post over on Apartment Therapy has inspired me to think about a similar post for The Kitchn. What are the essential ingredients for a happy kitchen? In many ways, this is what every Weekend Meditation is about, but for this week I thought I would get a little more specific. Read on for my 10 suggestions and please offer your own in the comments! 1. Keep a well-stocked pantry.
May 11, 2022
Weekend Meditation: BelongingPeople
Food can be about a lot of things—nourishment, comfort, anger, pleasure, nostalgia, control, self-expression, obligation. It’s also can be about belonging: to culture, to place and the seasons, to the earth and seas and skies, to weather and other forces of nature, to family and to that hungry person sitting at your kitchen table…For me it’s also about belonging to the moment.
May 11, 2022
Mother’s Day Cake and a LullabyRecipes
In honor of Mother’s Day, this post is a simple offering of a lullaby and a favorite recipe from my own mum — one that reminds me of her every time I make it. And maybe a question to ponder: What nourishes you, and do you have enough of it? For as long as I can remember, my mother has made sour cream coffee cake. As a child it always came with a glass of milk.
Jul 22, 2019
Weekend Meditation: InspirationsKitchen
In honor of Springing Ahead today, I want to share with you a few things that have been inspiring my kitchen.• First, Oaktown Spice Shop. If you have ever shopped at The Spice House on Old World Third Street in Milwaukee, then you will recognize the vibe of this new Oakland, CA shop where all the spices are stored in apothecary jars and the proprietor (John Beaver, pictured above) is very knowledgeable, patient and helpful.
Jun 5, 2019
My Favorite Meditations on ThanksgivingPeople
Almost three years ago, one of our writers, Dana, came to us with an idea to write a Weekend Meditation every week. I was so pleased to have such a thoughtful writer bring her soothing and contemplative energy to our site every single Sunday morning.So it is on this day, when it’s likely you’re either cooking or eating a lot (and in some cases both) that I invite you to sit down and take a break from it all. Read through some of Dana’s columns.
Jun 4, 2019
Minding Our MannersPeople
Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know the social rules and have made a major error so off-the-mark that you want to just crawl under the table and disappear? Or maybe you’ve had someone come into your life who has no idea how to behave and you find yourself judging and distancing from them, even if you don’t want to? Please and thank you, bows and handshakes, who goes first, cellphones at the dinner table: does proper etiquette really matter?
Jun 4, 2019
Enough to eat, enough to give some away, enough to throw some away. Enough to relax a little. Enough to forget about it. Enough to share. Enough to keep it going. Enough to get distracted. Enough to put some aside for later. Enough to pick and choose. Enough to complain. Enough to roll around in it. Enough to scatter the seeds. Enough to make it an abstraction. Enough to experiment. Enough to obsess. Enough to pretend there isn’t really enough. Enough to make a mistake or two.
May 3, 2019
Weekend Meditation: The Bake Sale ResponsePeople
No matter how tiny your droplet of help feels compared to the ocean of need, it’s always better to do something rather than nothing at all. When the news of the earthquake in Haiti started to roll in last week, most people felt an impulse to help. To do something. But what? It basically boils down to time, talent and training. For a few of us, that means grabbing our med kits and taking the next plane south. For others, it’s rolling up our sleeves and getting into the kitchen.
May 2, 2019
Weekend Meditation: On Vandals and HoneybeesPeople
Just down the street in my very urban San Francisco neighborhood is an organic farm, an experiment of sorts. Here, people have actually engaged the question ‘how can we sustainably feed ourselves’ in a very real, tangible way. Here, they are not just sitting around talking about it, they are actually, actively doing something about it. Putting their life’s energy into it. Building a community around it. It’s a fine and nobel thing to see.
May 2, 2019
Weekend Meditation: The Whole ChickenPeople
For a while now, I’ve belonged to a chicken-and-egg CSA from Soul Food Farm, a pasture-based chicken farm in Vacaville, California. I do this for a number of good reasons, from the altruistic (supporting a small farm and local, sustainable agriculture) to the greedy (these are the freshest, best-tasting chickens and eggs I’ve ever had.)My pastured chickens come with their heads and feet still attached which means I’ve had to teach myself a few basic chicken butchery tricks.
May 2, 2019
The Violet HourPeople
“This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn.” from The Hour by Bernard DeVoto The violet hour, that time of day roughly starting at 5pm when cocktail hour begins and we start the transition from day into evening, from work to home, from labor to (hopefully) relaxation.
May 2, 2019
When One Thing Leads to the OtherKitchen
Perhaps one of the more interesting, creative and exciting things about being a cook is when one thing leads to another and before you know it, almost by accident, you have created something really delicious. Something out of nothing, or nearly nothing. It can begin with an idea, of course, a whispered question in the back of your head (I wonder if… ? Or how would it taste if…?
May 2, 2019
In Praise of the BeetKitchen
“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” — Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume Beets are indeed deadly serious, or at least they’re intense, concentrated, rich in color, and unmistakable in their boldness.
Aug 30, 2015
Drying Roses on the Kitchen TableKitchen
It’s early summer and the roses in my yard are in riotous, glorious bloom — almost surreal in their scent and color. The other day the lusty, deep-pink ones were at their absolute peak; when I touched them the petals just fell away. So I brought a few handfuls into the house and left them to dry on my kitchen table, spread out on a plate. No fussy prep here, just a scattering of petals and the gentle summertime air. And time.
Jun 26, 2015
Waiting for the BusPeople
I heard a wonderful story on WNYC’s Radiolab the other day. It was about how Alzheimer’s patients who live in nursing homes can sometimes get disorientated and agitated. They want to leave the nursing facility and go ‘home’ — occasionally, home can even mean the home of their childhood. This is a very stressful situation and can lead to the patient being locked behind closed doors in order to keep them from wandering off and getting lost, or worse.
Dec 7, 2014
A Teeny-Tiny ThanksgivingPeople
We ended up with a much smaller Thanksgiving this year due to the unexpected injury of our host and main cook. A cozy, thrown-together meal was served up on the kitchen table which had been moved into the living room to be closer to The Patient who was convalescing on the couch. Brined heritage turkey, sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, honey and thyme carrots, and cream roasted fennel. And cranberry sauce.
Nov 30, 2014
Recently I’m discovering that I have an appreciation for the bitter flavors: almost unsweetened chocolate, endives and radicchio, Campari, even molasses and certain olives. Certain beers, too. What once used to make my sweet tooth recoil is now interesting, complex, cleansing. How absolutely odd and delightful! Bitter is one of the tastes I associate with winter when grapefruit, kale and endive are in season and I pour molasses over my pancakes.
Nov 16, 2014
I’ve got the whole morning free, so I wander into the kitchen to see what I can find to make for lunch. I don’t want to run out to the market, or leave the house even. My mood is quiet and connected to home. There’s a feeling of intimacy, a heart-thread to follow that needs to stay incubated in the familiar. Everything I need is here. I decide to make soup, something brothy that requires a lot of chopping. There are onions and garlic on the counter, of course.
Nov 9, 2014
On Rediscovering M.F.K. FisherPeople
People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do? – M.F.K. Fisher My book club met to discuss The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher recently. I last read Mrs. Fisher when I was quite young, and while I fell in love with her, and all the places she had lived and the food she had eaten, I don’t think I ever really understood her.
Nov 2, 2014
Autumn Kitchen Welcoming WinterPeople
We’re deep into autumn right now. The move from bright to dark has begun, a yearly non-negotiable event that has a profound influence on our lives. The extent that we can shift with it will become the measure of our contentment and happiness. Often we feel a contraction from the loss of sunshine.
Oct 26, 2014
Shop Like a ParisianKitchen
I’ll admit that I have a romantic notion of what is often thought of as the European/urban way of shopping, eating and keeping food. This involves owning a very small refrigerator and shopping almost daily for fresh ingredients, often on foot.
Oct 19, 2014
Using It All UpPeople
The vegetables I discovered in my crisper this morning were not upholding the expectations of their location very well. In other words, they will never again be described as crisp. If I don’t rescue them today, they are doomed to the compost carton and since that would be a crying shame, I pull out my knife and get to work. I love the alchemical process of cooking.
Oct 12, 2014
From My ChildhoodPeople
Neeley came home and he and Francie were sent out for the weekend meat. This was an important ritual and called for detailed instructions by Mama. “Get a five-cent soup bone off of Hassler’s. But don’t get the chopped meat there. Go to Werner’s for that. Get round steak chopped, ten cents’ worth, and don’t let him give it to you off the plate. Take an onion with you, too.
Oct 5, 2014
The Power and Virtue of a Small, Unexpected GiftKitchen
When I opened my back door this morning, the first thing I saw sitting on the step was an old pot filled with some just-picked apples, an unexpected gift from my neighbor. Such a small, simple offering but immediately I felt a chrysanthemum of joy blossom in my chest like a tiny firework. A much needed tiny firework chrysanthemum of joy, for the previous day had been a difficult one.
Sep 28, 2014
A Pear and a PoemPeople
Today my pear at breakfast was perfect, so very ripe and juicy and sweet-scented. And although a pear is just an ordinary thing, still I felt a little spike of pleasure when I spooned it into my mouth along with some yogurt and honey. There was pleasure, too, that I had this quiet time to notice the pear and the way the morning light was washing into the room where I sat on the floor with my back up against the wall.
Sep 21, 2014
Harold and Paul Make PolentaPeople
Last week, on the same day, I encountered two very different recipes for polenta. One had a practicality born of science, curiosity and efficiency. The other was much more rooted in time and tradition. One quick, the other slow. One required a modern appliance; the other, sourcing a special, stoneground organic polenta.
Sep 14, 2014
Emptying Out the PantryPeople
I’ll be moving house in a few months and thus have been refraining from stocking up too heavily on staples. Instead, I have vowed make my way through the miscellaneous packets and jars and cans in my cupboards, which is sometimes fun and sometimes an effort. A few of those items have been lingering on the shelf for good reason and it’s getting down to the worst of the bunch.
Sep 7, 2014
A Little Goes a Long WayPeople
Few months ago I purchased a small tub of white truffle butter from a French man who was offering samples from his booth at the Marin Farmer’s Market. At $10 for 3 ounces it was expensive, at least for my budget. But the French man was very charming and the sample was quite good so I took it home, threw it in the freezer and over the course of the last several weeks, dipped in here and there to add just a hint of that wild, delightful, truffle magic to all sorts of dishes.
Aug 24, 2014
The Bold and Bare Truth of Summer CookingPeople
We’re deep into summer and cooking couldn’t be simpler. In fact, one could barely call it cooking! It’s more like arranging and dribbling and scattering.
Aug 17, 2014
What I am avoiding: Washing the kitchen floor, organizing cupboards, sorting through the large collection of empty glass jars that have gathered in the cupboard below my sink. Also, starting a good-for-you dinner, which involves peeling a lot of vegetables and other time consuming tasks, meaning that it should have been started an hour ago if I’m really serious about eating dinner at a reasonable hour. Oh, and writing this post.
Aug 10, 2014
An Act of Love and MadnessKitchen
I have a friend who is not that into food. She mostly sees it as fuel, with an occasional concern for some minor preferences (no ketchup, eggs boiled hard, dark German beer). For her, the act of eating falls into the category of basic maintenance, like brushing her teeth or taking a shower. It’s a not very exciting but necessary activity, the kind of thing that can be occasionally skipped if no one is watching. Don’t worry, she has plenty of other passions.
Aug 3, 2014
How to Eat Your Way to HappinessPeople
Modern thinking says we’re not supposed to eat to appease emotions (anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety) and I suppose there’s some wisdom there. Difficult emotions need to be dealt with, aired out and examined, given a twirl and a whirl, not stuffed beneath a bellyful of ice cream. But today I went ahead and did it anyway.
Jul 27, 2014
Under the WeatherPeople
A nasty cold has stolen most of my energy and focus this weekend. It’s interesting to note what foods I crave in my sickroom: the sweet tang of orange juice, the salty-meaty warmth of chicken soup, hot tea with lemon and honey. Occasionally I want something cool on my throat like ice cream, but at the same time dairy has lost its appeal. Being sick is miserable, inconvenient and annoying but, strangely, I kind of like it.
Jul 13, 2014
Once, not so long ago, my life was saved by a meal. But not literally. At the time I was eating three deliciously prepared vegetarian meals a day, made with mostly organic ingredients, served in a lovely setting, surrounded by friends and other good people. Food was abundant and easy to obtain, as it usually is here in the Western world. Nonetheless, I was utterly and completely depleted.
Jul 6, 2014
Not in the MoodPeople
The thing about eating is that it has to happen, no matter how you’re feeling at the moment about cooking. A busy day, a nasty cold, or plain old just not being in the mood can all keep us away from the chopping board and stove. But hunger is a strong imperative: a growling belly and plummeting blood sugar can only be put off for so long. Modern life has addressed this dilemma with ferocious efficiency and now we’ve got (blessing or curse?
Jun 29, 2014
Summer SolsticePeople
Summer Solstice, from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), the so-called longest day of the year. It’s the time to celebrate the sun and summertime and all that it offers: sticky, prodigious watermelons, velvety stone fruit, resolute zucchinis and bold, Rabelaisian tomatoes. Fireflies and fireworks and fire escapes.
Jun 22, 2014
Remembering to TastePeople
Eating is such a full-on sensory experience: taste, yes, but also smell and mouth-feel (texture) and even sound (the crunch of an apple, the slurp of soup). And we all know the saying that we taste first with our eyes. But how much do we remember to actually taste what we’re eating? Are we still tasting after our third or fourth bite? Some chefs believe that we encounter palate fatigue after just a few mouthfuls.
Jun 15, 2014
In Defense of LazinessPeople
Oh, Laziness. Your reputation is so terrible that in many circles you’re actually considered a sin. You keep company with D- report cards and are reportedly the cause of numerous character faults and societal problems. Can you ever be seen as something positive? That would would be quite a hill to climb! Only, being Laziness, you probably won’t be doing much hill-climbing.
Jun 1, 2014
Raven NaturePeople
When I read Sara Kate’s review of the new Cuisinart Elite food processor, I felt the familiar tug of a well-known, mischievous spirit I call my raven nature. She appears whenever a bright, shiny, new object catches my eye. Over the years I’ve learned to tame her, but not to banish her completely. Like most troublemakers, she has her place. I still have my 1970s Robot-Coupe food processor, just like Sara Kate’s mom’s.
May 25, 2014
Teaching Each OtherPeople
When I enjoy someone’s cooking I invariably say to them “hey, let’s cook together sometime!” I could ask for a recipe and of course that would be fine but there is something far more powerful and enjoyable in being taught by another person. A recipe is a formula but hanging out together in the kitchen is an experience. And there are things that can be learned from watching and doing that just do not fit on a recipe card.
May 18, 2014
Eyes Wide OpenSkills
Have you ever noticed how things, even ordinary things like a cup of coffee or a pile of oranges or a messy array of beans, are more interesting when you’re on vacation or visiting somewhere new? This may be because, well, just about anywhere on earth is more interesting than where you live. Or it could mean that you’re looking at things through ‘holiday eyes.’ Let me explain. The other evening I was sitting in the back of a new restaurant with some good friends.
May 4, 2014
An Unexpected Morning at HomePeople
The day had started with the most wonderful of ambitions: a road trip to the ocean, a short hike, a picnic, maybe even a visit to the apple farm on the way home. A little exploring, a little adventure, a perfect Saturday plan. Maybe it was the morning fog or the chilly temperatures or the headachy and expensive breadth of our planning. Or maybe we just needed a quiet morning.
Apr 27, 2014
Shopping at the Hippie StoreGroceries
I’m not sure if this is true in other cities but here in San Francisco, it’s not unusual to encounter a corner bodega that’s devoted to natural foods. These places stock the familiar organic labels, local organic milk and vegetables, and often have a nice selection of wine. Sometimes there’s an odd mix of the organic and conventional bodega fare (bags of Cheetos tucked in with the taro chips, for instance.
Apr 6, 2014
Weekend Meditation: It Doesn’t Always Have to be FabulousPeople
Blogging about food is a tricky thing. In order for something to be post-worthy, it usually needs to be a pretty wonderful and delicious thing to eat. If it’s not, then there has to be some kind of story about that. Or it should be a new discovery. Or have some meaning in our lives and culture. But we seldom write about ordinary, everyday food or eating.
Mar 30, 2014
Confidence is a funny thing. A hairsbreadth too much and it tumbles into arrogance and posturing. A touch too little and it’s impossible to reach for the magic. In the kitchen, as with most of life, confidence is a very helpful, and also potentially dangerous, ingredient. When we’re confident, we trust in our abilities and decisions. We don’t hesitate, we act and, often, we act boldly. This can lead to some very delicious and interesting results.
Mar 23, 2014
The Kitchen AltarKitchen
Throughout time and many traditions, the household altar is often placed in the kitchen, the heart of the home and the place from which all activity flows. In some ways, the hearth itself is an altar, centering the household with the offering of food and nourishment, warmth, and a place to gather. In general, we don’t see many home altars these days, which is too bad.
Mar 16, 2014
On Counting What is PreciousPeople
On counting what is precious. In famine, the number of dried beans in the cupboard; in abundance, piles of chicken bones and empty wine bottles. In sorrow, so many tears that they over-salt the soup; in happiness, the number of place settings at a wedding feast. In middle age, candles on the cake; in youth, the frosting roses. In celebration, bubbles in a champagne glass; in mourning, the number of bites taken from a sandwich, delivered to your door draped in a napkin (none).
Mar 9, 2014
Rabbit Spoons and Subtle Signs of Spring (Plus Some Exciting News!)Kitchen
My landlady stopped by this morning to retrieve her mail, which I had been dutifully saving from our drenching late winter rains while she was away in Mexico. In return, she presented me with a gift of a little Oaxacan spoon topped with a carved pink rabbit. The cheerful pink bunny and the arrival of March are just a few of the many reminders that spring, and all the changes it will bring, is not that far off. (Honest. I swear.
Mar 2, 2014
A Very Sweet and Charming DisruptionKitchen
There’s a rather large, rather old, but very sweet hound dog in my kitchen right now. She’s making sloppy slobbering noises as she eats her dinner, pushing the thin tin bowl that contains her kibble plus two scoops of wet food and some warm water (to make ‘gravy’) around the kitchen floor. This long legged, floppy-eared, all-nose invasion is a temporary situation. I’m just keeping her around for a few days while her real mom handles some family situations.
Feb 23, 2014
On Why I Think You Should Tell Us Your Kitchen SecretsKitchen
Do you or your family have secret recipes? You know, Nonna’s amazing apple cake or that noodle dish or salad dressing whose secrets you will never reveal? Not me! I’m a big fan of sharing the love (and the deliciousness) so I’m more than happy to let you know how I made something or my favorite, magical, transformative ingredient. But I know this is not true for everyone.
Feb 16, 2014
My (Occasionally) Half-Assed KitchenKitchen
I admit that I sometimes I do things kind of half-assed in the kitchen. I’ll throw flowers into a vase without first trimming the stems or fail to thoroughly read a recipe before beginning to make it. I’ll not brown the meat enough for the stew or not measure carefully when careful measuring is called for. The results, while not disasters, are often not as good as they could be. They’re not bad, but they’re not perfect.
Feb 9, 2014
On Letting It GoKitchen
We’ve all know and understand that we’re not supposed to cry over spilled milk and yet sometimes we do because sometimes spilled milk sucks, or it’s the last straw in a series of challenges and difficulties that day. Or because we really wanted that milk and now it’s gone.
Feb 2, 2014
Caught in the Wintertime BluesKitchen
The winter doldrums have hit hard in my household. We’re bored and uninspired. We’re restless and itchy. We glower at the kale and turnips that not so long ago were sending us into rapture with their funky and surprising sweetness. Seems like all the tangerines are shriveled and bitter and the cabbage may end up as a soccer ball, kicked up and down some back alley, if it’s not careful. It’s a little early for the winter doldrums, which is worrisome.
Jan 26, 2014
How I Nudge Myself into Being Mindful (and End Up with Dinner!)Kitchen
The word of mindful is trending hard these days so as someone who writes a ‘meditation’ column, I feel it’s important to come out and admit that I’m not a fan of the word. I appreciate the concept and the hard work that is often behind being a mindful person, but the word itself is too easy to grasp in a superficial way and that, unfortunately, is how some people relate to it. Either that or they nervously squirm in their seats in full aversion at the mere mention.
Jan 19, 2014
All the Many Delicious, Helpful, Thoughtful, Interesting, Beautiful ThingsKitchen
The other day I was standing on a chair in front of my very full cupboards, trying to find room to stash some of the gifts I’d received over the holidays. Naturally, I got to thinking about stuff, about all the endless piles of stuff, all the many, many things, in my life. Now, I know there’s a high value placed on being clutter-free and minimal these days.
Jan 12, 2014
Drinking the LandscapeKitchen
Last June my neighbors and I gathered buckets of green walnuts from the enormous old walnut tree that anchors the far southeast corner of our property. Armed with sharp sturdy knives and 3-liter cardboard boxes of Syrah and bottles of cheap vodka, we set out on a mission for the future: to bring warmth and cheer to our winter’s hibernation by shoring up our supplies of homemade vin de noix and nocino.
Dec 15, 2013
The Small Gifts of an Ordinary DayKitchen
That beautiful packet of nougat pictured above is my inspiration for today’s post. The nougat is a gift from a neighbor, left on her kitchen table as a thank you for stopping in to feed her cat this coming week. I really love nougat. I love how its smooth chewy texture is studded with the crunch of nuts. I love the slight whiff of rosewater and the way it melts in my mouth. I love the pretty stripes of pale pastel colors and the French label on the package.
Nov 10, 2013
The Rough, Scarred, Knobby Beauty of a Perfect PomegranateKitchen
It was nearing closing time at the farmers’ market last weekend. I was I buying a bottle of olive oil from a young farmer and she offered me two small pomegranates along with my change. They were knobbly things, scarred and dusty. Some had even burst their seams in places, spilling out their gorgeous ruby arils. ‘Do you want these pomegranates? They look funny but they taste wonderful.’ I said yes, with great enthusiasm. Yes, yes, yes! And so she handed me three more.
Oct 20, 2013
A Beautiful, Sad, Chutney Kind of a DayKitchen
The weather last Tuesday was beautiful and perfect, one of those early autumn days with indigo skies and crisp, crackling leaves blowing around in the gutters. Outside my kitchen window, the sun was out in full but its texture was thinning and it had shifted to a lower, autumnal position. I could see my neighbor optimistically and cheerfully planting fall flowers and winter greens in our shared garden.
Oct 6, 2013
When Not Trying So Hard Is the Best ResponseKitchen
Cooking is a transformation process. With nothing more than a knife, a vessel, a little time, and perhaps some sort of flame, we turn piles of vegetables, grains, fruits, and proteins into dinner. We turn the raw into the cooked and the unpalatable into the delicious. Just how delicious depends on a lot of factors but certainly the skill and talent of the cook play into it. Ingredients, too. Transformation is a big deal.
Sep 22, 2013
What Cooking Can Teach UsKitchen
The other day, a friend said to me that one of the most important things cooking can teach us is restraint. That we come into cooking like toddlers in a fingerprinting session, unable to control ourselves from using all the colors and painting everything in sight. But hopefully, over time, we learn when to hold back and apply the less-is-more rule. He was commenting on the dinner he had attended the night before at the house of a new cook. “It was delicious,” he said.
Sep 15, 2013
Autumn’s ComingKitchen
What the crow dropped.I leaned over to peer at the exploded mess. It was a walnut, broken out of its green case to reveal the newly-formed nut within. Glancing up again, I confirmed that the caw belonged to a member of a flock of crows (a murder of crows!) that had recently descended on the enormous walnut tree that occupies a corner of our property.
Aug 25, 2013
Eating a Tomato in AugustKitchen
Yesterday I ate a tomato, just a tomato, for lunch. It was a gorgeous Black Cherokee about the size of my fist, perfectly ripe and a deep, red-purple color. I cut it into thick slices, put it on a plate and added just a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of crunchy salt and a flicker of black pepper. I sat outside in the partial shade of my apartment’s courtyard and ate it with a knife and fork as if it were a steak.
Aug 18, 2013
How to Be Ready for AnythingKitchen
There was a time when having people over meant a lot of advanced planning on my part. I cleaned, I shopped, I cooked, I added special decorating touches to the bathroom. Everything needed to be planned, polished, and perfected. From the light over the dining room table down to my toenails, it needed to shine. (I blame Martha Stewart but that’s another post.) These days, I can still launch a fancy fete now and again, but more often than not, my entertaining is much simpler. And sloppier.
Aug 11, 2013
Kitchen KoansKitchen
You’re perfect just as you are … and you could use a little improvement. — Shunryu Suzuki Roshi Here’s a koan: is life about improvement or acceptance? Should we keep striving to be better, to achieve our goals, always refining and improving ourselves? Or should we accept who and what we are, own it and celebrate it, and realize that it’s actually enough? Like all good koans, both choices are are right and both are wrong.
Jul 28, 2013
Listening to the BasilKitchen
Although I have several basil plants growing in my garden and in various pots on my back porch, I bought home a huge bunch from the farmers market the other day. Even in that open air, cacophonous market atmosphere, the intense smell of this basil hit me from 6 feet away and stopped me in my tracks. Vigorous and spicy, its leaves were thick and hardy, almost leather-like.
Jul 21, 2013