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Archive for the ‘… Food’ Category

My reading has taken an interesting trend recently: cookbooks, more cookbooks and a book on the New Domesticity.

It started with An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler.

I asked for this book for Christmas but (with two-year-old twins, an increasingly demanding writing schedule and, you know, life) I just got around to reading it.  I made the very first recipe on page 17, for salsa verde (think Italy, not Mexico) and ate nearly all of it on slice after slice of sourdough toast.  (You can eat it on nearly anything — boiled vegetables, pasta, roasted chicken — but I had toast so I slathered it on and dug right in.)

The tone of this book can be lofty and precious at times, but if you don’t mind looking at food lovingly, profoundly and (at times) religiously, you’ll either eat this rhetoric up with a spoon or gently push it to the side of your plate and read greedily on for new ways of thinking about and preparing food.

The next book is Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar.

This book explores what Matchar has named “the New Domesticity” — a trend for highly educated, liberal women to spend considerable amounts of time and energy on (more…)

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I’m supposed to be doing a lot of things this afternoon — finishing up some work for an October first deadline, vacuuming the twins’ room while they’re out visiting their grandparents, at the very least cleaning off my desk and emptying the dishwasher …  But with the house empty and quiet I started feeling very lazy.  Maybe I was fighting off a cold.  Certainly I was exhausted from last night’s fussy sleeping due to a restless twin who wailed pretty much every even hour.  So instead of going to my desk I went to the kitchen and heated a pot of chicken noodle soup.  I ladled it into a bowl-sized mug and took it to bed and there I slouched on a stack of pillows and started to read The Queen’s Lover by Francine du Plessix Gray (very enjoyable), sipping broth and occasionally pausing for a spoonful of noodles.

After about 50 pages I went again to the kitchen and this time (more…)

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A few days ago I read Mary Rechner’s essay “Why I Hate Food” and I’m still thinking about it.

It begins:

The aesthetics of today’s food culture (jam jars, wire egg baskets, communal wood tables) will soon appear as dated as macramé, but I fear the damage to a generation of women who are tending (and butchering) rabbits and chickens, and raising vegetable gardens (often along with children) has already been done. These activities are obviously more creative ways to spend time than watching soap operas, but urban homesteading and “the home arts” should not be confused with real art-making, which involves challenging the status quo, not feeding it.

The one sentence that really got me, though, was this:

The primary reason I refuse to place “eating correctly” at the center of my consciousness is because in doing so I would lose ground on my essential life project: living a dogma-free existence while maintaining psychic (and actual) time and space to write fiction.

And I thought, yes.

I like to cook.  I like to eat.  I like to cook and eat things that are made with recognizable ingredients (chicken, carrots, lentils, broth, milk, flour, butter, raspberries, etc.) (and no, those things do not add up to any particular/peculiar recipe!) and not things that come out of a package and are placed in a microwave.  But (more…)

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Remodeling our kitchen changed my life.

But before this causes confusion, let me show you exactly what the addition looks like:

This is a KidKraft Cook Together Kitchen and it keeps my sous chefs very happy!

(If you’re thinking about a play kitchen of your own, this one is a bit of a chore to put together, but the instructions are the best I’ve seen for this sort of thing and — if you’re like us — you probably have some Ikea allen-wrenching under your belt — which makes the whole task a piece of cake.)

Many, many thanks to my dear friend who got this for us.  She had loved her own play kitchen as a child and insisted on getting one for the twins.  We — my friend and I — spent considerable time online looking at play foods with which to stock said kitchen.  One twin seems to like carbs (the slice of bread, the pile of spaghetti), while the other little carnivore favors waving the grilled chicken breast around; they squabble over the glass of milk (which they pretend to sip and then bust out with a big “ahhhh” of satisfaction) (it’s pretty adorable).

Now when the twins finish eating breakfast I close the kitchen doors and let them loose, dodge the little chairs they like to push around — and their walker-cart, often full of plush vegetable toys and sometimes a stowaway monkey — and (more…)

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A friend of mine recently turned me on to kombucha.  (See Small talk and pickled grapes for the story of my introduction.)  Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that left me deeply skeptical until I had actually some.  It was light, mildly sweet, nicely tangy, and I immediately became a convert.  I don’t care so much about its possible health claims; it just tastes good.  (For The New York Times‘s take on kombucha, click here.)

(Here are two bottled versions you might be able to find at a store.  You can try it before committing to make your own!)

This same friend also introduced me to the concept of pickling grapes, which I actually did — even though I thought that with 15-month-old twins I’d have neither the time nor the inclination for this kind of project.  But (more…)

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