Believe in the Power of Home Cooking

Just Do It

We believe that if you cook for the ones you love in your life, and teach them how to cook, they will pass it on. Cooking good-for-you and feel-good food is as important as ever in this insane world we live in today. The secret rites of the kitchen need not be a mystery. Slowly build your specialized cooking knowledge, day after day. Eventually the spirit will take hold. Give yourself a reason to cook, for whatever idea is the most persuasive: be it for economics, physical well-being, emotional or spiritual wellness. There are few greater skills that one can acquire than the ability to nourish yourself and others. By the way, you are NOT too busy to cook! If you wake up and breathe every day, can stand on your own two feet, and can scrape together a few ingredients and pieces of equipment, within a small workspace, then you can do it! Sautée that onion, scramble those eggs, hell, why not slow roast a pork shoulder—ANYTHING—Just jump right in. Home cooking feels good, is healthier, and cheaper, and tastes better than processed food. It also liberates you from the angst-ridden daily choices that scream low-fat, low-salt, high-carb, low-carb, artificially sweetened or, worse, promise better health (i.e. all natural) where there is none. Just cook good honest food, and the rest will take care of itself.


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Philosophy, Part 2

Here's How

to get started

There are many days it isn’t easy to get yourself into the kitchen. Start off slow if you must. Cook just one meal a week, and see for yourself what a difference it makes. And be patient. Rome wasn’t built in day. Consider it a practice no different than being an athlete or an actor. You don’t just show up on game day or opening night fully formed, you create a daily practice which is where the real process is. Consider cooking as a lens through which to understand the world. Mealtime can be the connective tissue amongst you and the folks you choose to be with, during good times and the not-so-good times. Most of all, it can be really dam fun if you give it a chance. But you may already know this. This is our virtual headquarters for home cooks. The stories roll on from here.

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Shop Regularly

Make The Time

Plan and shop routinely, and you will always be able to rustle something up to eat. We like to shop weekly, and supplement a couple other days with fresh vegetables.

  • Keep your spices stocked, and check them now and then for freshness. Keep at least one fresh potted herb around in season like basil, thyme, rosemary or parsley.
  • Put the freezer, the most underutilized appliance in the kitchen, to good use: you’ll never run out of bread, butter and milk (yes, they can all be frozen). But don’t forget fruit for your smoothies, and a few bags of peas and corn (the poster children for frozen vegetables).
  • Buy premium meats and poultry when you can. They’ll keep for a few days in the fridge or freeze them if you have to in order to have them when you need them.
  • When fresh fish is available, buy it and cook it that night. Some firm fleshed fish, like mahi mahi, or striped bass will freeze just fine too. Grab fish when it’s available to you, not because you think you must. Lousy old fish in the super market is a real turn off and no way to cultivate fish-eaters.

See our pantry section (link) for more detailed pantry suggestions for all kinds of cooking

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Shopping, part 2

A Few More Tips

up and down the market aisles
  • Onions, garlics and shallots are your flavor foundations. And, along with carrots and celery (long lasters in the fridge), are the trio the form the basis for so many savory dishes. Always toss a couple of these items into you grocery cart. Ditto lemons and limes.
  • Salad making will be so much easier to deal with if you thoroughly clean the greens as soon as you bring them home, wrap in a clean towel and refrigerate. Not only will you be more likely to make that salad but NOTHING is better to than cold crispy, grit-free greens in a salad.
  • If you’re feeding a large group, buy a large can of olive oil, and decant for daily use. Safflower oil is a great choice for frying. Vinegars are imperative.
  • Skip the sodas and sugary juices. Unless making a specialized cocktail, the calories and extra sugar isn’t worth it. Water, sparkling water, teas; hot and cold, and coffee (in moderation) are best. Keep a list in the fridge, or in your phone and keep it updated.
  • Potatoes, rice and pasta will support or stretch and saucey, meaty meal.
  • Beans, dried and canned need to be your new best friend. A little goes such a long way, and can be seasoned up in a zillion different ways.
  • Eggs are essential. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack,  eggs are those awesome little protien bundles that are the workhorses of the kitchen.
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Follow a Recipe Once

A Good Recipe Is Not To Be Ignored...

take crunchy sesame chicken wIngs for example

If a recipe captivates your attention, then make it. If you love it, and can’t stop thinking about eating it again, then make it the same way twice. There are many types of cooks; slavish recipe followers and never-do-it-the-same improvisers. Be here’s the thing. Picasso was a master of anatomy before he started throwing a few geometric shapes on a canvas.

We think that once you make a recipe taste really good, deviate only if you don’t have a called-for ingredient on hand. Then experiment with potential substitutions. This beautiful platter of chicken wings comes from the chair-mans recipe. He made it, and we wrote everything down. We made it again and it tasted just like the best version of his recipe. Now here’s the problem. He never follows that recipe, and there is no guarantee that it’ll always taste delicious. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s not ok with us. If you know how to make it delicious, then stick to the plan. If you are a riffer or improviser at heart, then make sure you learn a few great cooking techniques so that you will at least have a somewhat predictable outcome in the end. If you eat with other folks regularly who, let’s say, love your crunchy sesame chicken wings, then they probably want it to taste the same the next time they eat it.

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Doing Dishes

You've Got to Make Friends With It

Dishwashing can be a reasonable task or an ongoing nightmare. Teach yourself and your family how to cope with this inevitable burden! If you didn’t learn early on in your own cooking to clean up as you go along, please start now. We cannot emphasize this enough: a clean, well-ordered kitchen translates to a tidy well-ordered mind for cooking. Set an example. Teach, cajole, and if need be force the folks in your home to clean up after themselves in the kitchen. It’s never too early to preach this lesson. It’s just not okay for one person to get stuck with the dishes while others leave a mess behind. Then cooking is no fun. Don’t be that annoying family member, dreaded roommate, or instigator of relationship disaster. Figure out the best ways to clean and dry the dishes and tidy up the kitchen (yes, the countertops and stove too). Whether you’re working in a tiny studio apartment or a big house, ask yourself, “What’s the plan?”

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