This is a space for and about food and cooking; opinions, recipes, triumphs, pleasure, adventure, solitude, and the serene, frenetic, powerful and creative spaces of cooking.
Posts here are minimalist and concise. When you eat at a restaurant, cook from a cookbook, or see a great food photo, you are not in tangent reading lengthy writings about feelings. You are engaging your senses, whafting in the food’s aroma with each breath and savoring (or devouring) each bite. You see the plate placed in front of you and you become curious, or you open a cookbook and an image catches your eye.
At its best, eating is a sensory experience. It soothes, it is transformative, and it is reminder of a person, or the anchor or creator of a memory. Cooking is the usher of the experience of eating and sharing food. It is creative, frustrating, theraputic, tactile, challenging, and necessary. These are the ideas that are conveyed throughout these pages.
Everything here can be made with very few tools. I don’t own a stand mixer, fancy knives, measuring spoons, or a microwave. The most technical tools I have are a salad spinner, a cheap blender with only two speed options, and a traditional pasta machine. In cooking, once you get comfortable, you can make almost anything without fancy tools or strict measurements. You can improvise, you can be lazy, you can have adventures.
All ingredients strive to be easily accessible and economical, but admittedly that is not always the case. The techniques and knowledge needed to complete these recipes range from basic to intermediate. If there is a term I use that you’re not familiar with and you want a lengthier explanation or a visual example that I didn’t provide, well, you’re already online…open a new page and Google it. Evvvverything is on Google, that’s why we love it. Or leave a comment or email and I’ll get back to you.
Regarding measurements, nothing here is strict because I don’t like rules and I am comfortable in the kitchen and ok with messing up. When cooking for myself, I don’t typically measure anything. I am from the U.S. so I work in cups and tablespoons, etc. Sometimes I try to provide metric conversions but you can also refer here, here, and here, or again, there’s always this, or buy a measuring tool with unit conversions.
I also assume that anyone exploring these recipes has some basic core pantry items on hand at all times:
- Good quality olive oil for eating
- Decent quality olive oil for cooking
- A nice flaky sea salt for eating
- Decent (preferably flaky) sea salt for cooking
- Balsamic vinegar
- Peanut butter that is just peanuts. None of this added oil/sugar stuff.
- Try to make your own beans when possible.
If you have suggestions or comments, feel free to let me know via the contact page. Pictures too big? Instructions lousy? Typos? Want a substitution suggestion? Ask and you shall receive.
PS, WHAT DOES ‘RECORDS IN THE DEN’ MEAN ANYWAY?
This came from a sentence in a podcast that I love. To be honest, I can’t recall the interviewee or the exact context of the conversation, but the sentence was something along the lines of ‘…just sitting and listening to records in the den…’. I love music and film (which is why I also title each post with a non-food title, like a song), and for whatever reason this sentence spoke out to me because the way I feel when I listen to music or watch an exceptional film is something close to the often relaxing, theraputic or expressive feelings that I have when cooking. As I noted above, to me, I see cooking and sharing food as experiences and opportunities. The most beautiful meals or concerts or cooking triumphs in my life all recall a certain sense of kinship with each other, so hence, ‘Records in the Den’.