On Recession Eating & Cooking (It’s Not Depressing)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The shot above is from years back when our big group of summer friends would put in $15 each on Friday and see what meals we could cook up throughout the weekend. It was beautiful, inexpensive, chaos.

Two days ago, Maxwell’s email at Apartment Therapy was called “AT on the New Reality” and it got me thinking about sending Kitchn readers a similar note.

He was inspired by an article in the New York Times that was less about economic changes around us and more on the internal shifts that are redefining our sense of reality. We are experiencing something most of our parents have not, and that many of our grandparents experienced in their youth. He called it the New Reality.

So what’s the New Reality in the kitchen? I think we’ve been covering it pretty well for a while.

Faith and I have discussed this a lot, and as we envision our editorial calendar going forward, there is no question that we are not turning The Kitchn into a cheap cooking website. Rather, we will continue doing what we always try to do: bring you inspiring writing, recipes, and images that help you cook at home more. I have always felt that cooking at home more can solve so many of our society’s problems. I said this in higher-rollin’ times like 2007, and I still say it now. Perhaps the shift now is in saying that cooking at home is what will help us survive our society’s problems.

You can depend on us as a destination for tips and resources that will help you save money, but don’t expect us to beat a dead horse of economic thrift. (We know everyone’s working hard to be thrifty these days; we take it for granted.) We will, however, answer your questions and respond to your requests for specific tips and ideas for your own kitchens. But don’t be surprised if we review a fancy knife or a really special bottle of wine now and then: we’re doing it because there are readers who enjoy the aspirational aspects of cooking, and there may even be some with a little extra cash for a splurge.

For the most part, we will continue to talk about setting simple tables, cooking with what you have, and cooking as well as you can given your varied circumstances. I believe that we cannot reduce kitchen practices down to simply cheapening our cooking and dining experience.

Even if it’s just a bowl of Ramen, to the bitter end I’m going to encourage you to borrow a sprig of cilantro from your neighbor, put the soup in a ceramic bowl, and use a cloth napkin, light a candle and give thanks.

Stay with us, let’s get through this all together, warming up our kitchens and sending good aromas out into our neighborhoods.

A version of this post was originally sent to our email subscribers yesterday.
To receive Sara Kate’s weekly email, sign up in the column to the left or click here. Something tasty will arrive in your inbox every Thursday.

Extravagance Has Its Limits as Belt-Tightening Trickles Up (NY Times, March 9)
Ask us a question or send us a tip
• Okay, so I said we’re not a “cheap cooking” website, but put “cheap,” a rather popular keyword, into our search book and look what you get! Check out our cheap posts.