Monday, 27 April 2015 | 32 comments
To say that our budget is a little tight right now is an understatement. More accurately, and perhaps more in the parlance of our modern era, we have enacted austerity measures. I am a reasonably thrifty person, but if you buy a house and throw a large wedding within the span of three months and aren’t broke, well, you probably aren’t doing it right. (Right?! Please comfort me.)
Being a person who cooks can be empowering during times like these, not only because cooking can be more pocketbook friendly than eating out, but because you likely already have some pantry staples and freezer something-or-others stowed away that you are only going to cook if necessity calls for it. You know what I’m talking about: the brick of leftover lentil stew that you froze in 2013 with good intentions, but looks so unappetizingly brown that you don’t really have the stomach to defrost it. Or the buckwheat groats that you bought because you have an Eastern European friend who claims that kasha varnishkes is somehow actually delicious (still open to being convinced; still have not cooked it). Canned water chestnuts (seemed like a good idea?). Ten pounds of dark rye flour (long story). That sort of thing. And so the gauntlet has been thrown: no grocery shopping unless absolutely necessary. Use what we have on hand.
Friday, 20 February 2015 | 22 comments
French-y, well-sourced, market-driven food is everywhere nowadays, so it takes a good cookbook to actually make me care about someone’s particular spin on the roast chicken or aioli. The Buvette cookbook makes you care.
Monday, 26 January 2015 | 24 comments
It’s that time of year again: bleak January, where I end up with my hands on some citrus and start feeling poetic about its life-giving brightness amidst the snow and the stupid ice that makes me slip and nearly fall on the way to the car every morning. (Truly, this happens every year (the citrus thing, not the slipping and almost falling): 2011. 2012. 2013. 2014.).
Monday, 12 January 2015 | 29 comments
I took a little holiday break from writing here but not from writing, which was an interesting experiment that caused me to descend into some pretty dark stuff that no one, trust me, wants to read. So! Happy new year. Let’s talk about beans and definitely not about feelings, feminism, guns, or country music.*
I don’t pretend to be any high arbiter of bean quality, but if you like food, we live in a golden age of beautiful, heirloom beans, no small thanks to seed savers and discoverers like Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo. Heirloom beans are worth the money, and sometimes I special order them for particular dishes or to have on hand for a treat. I could spend a long time convincing you of the merits of gorgeous Good Mother Stallards or Christmas limas. But beans are supposed to promise a triple threat of nutrition, rib-sticking satiety, and economy. And at $6+ a pound, heirlooms don’t exactly satisfy that last qualification. So let’s talk about budget-conscious beans. Enter the humble pinto.
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Saturday, 8 November 2014 | 44 comments
“Moreover to light a fire is the instinctive and resistant act of man when, at the winter ingress, the curfew is sounded throughout Nature. It indicates a spontaneous, Promethean rebelliousness against the fiat that this recurrent season shall bring foul times, cold darkness, misery and death.”
It’s difficult to explain about the bonfires. It started five years ago, right about the time I returned from living in Tanzania, just a few months before I created this site. Most people know about Guy Fawkes Day from the movie V for Vendetta. If this is your only acquaintance with the day, you probably picture eerie masks and explosions.
If you don’t know anything about Guy Fawkes Day, here’s your primer: on November 5th, 1605, a group of Catholic extremists in England tried to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I. They were thwarted, and a man named Guy Fawkes was arrested. People lit a bunch of bonfires to celebrate and hated on Catholics. Like everything in England from Henry VIII on, it was about Catholics versus Protestants. Bonfire Night (a.k.a. “Gunpowder Treason Night”) caught on.