I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Blog.

The Paupered Chef.


Cooking for one...

The article pasted herein was taken from the Washington Post today... I'll link the article at the bottom. I loved this article, because I could be writing it (garlicky food day in and day out for breakfast lunch and dinner, too exhausted to cook... reading cookbooks like paperbacks...)

Anyway - it's an interesting read. I'm going to keep reading it now that I've pasted in a Teaser:

"Many years ago I asked my Aunt Jo, who never married or had children, what her favorite dinner was. I must have been in fifth grade or so, when favorites were an important way of categorizing the world. She thought for a moment and answered, "A cold beer and a bag of microwave popcorn."

To someone who comes from a family where dinner was sacrosanct and mostly homemade, her response was appalling, stunning and, I now realize, true. I don't eat microwave popcorn because I'm a purist and because the sodium content is usually too high for my tastes, but I will tell you that if you throw a handful of toasted almonds and walnuts onto a batch of old-fashioned popcorn alongside a cold one, it's a dinner beyond compare. And when you're cooking for one, part of the joy is being able to have popcorn for dinner when you want.

Dinner For One - Green Eggs, No Ham.
(Julia Ewan - The Washington Post)

fter I graduated from college, I tried to get by on frozen dinners; exhausted after a 14-hour workday, I barely tasted the nebulous meat-carb-sauce before falling into bed. But I missed cooking. I missed chopping and transformation and feeling a connection to what was going into my body. Plus, working in a typical Washington entry-level job where I was always answering to others, I longed for the creativity of cooking and the permissibility to mess up royally, with my own consumption of the result as the only consequence.

My sisters and I learned to cook by taste, like playing by ear. Meals were found-art installations. Some people make tasteful bookends from driftwood. We made dinner from available contents of the fridge and pantry. I read my cookbooks like paperbacks, skimming ideas and promptly ignoring whatever didn't suit my fancy/budget/equipment.

Initially I couldn't figure out how to cook for fewer than five. When I was growing up, cooking was a family activity, and you always cooked for the family. So I cooked for my roommates. I brought leftovers for my co-workers and froze more.

My eye for quantity became a serious problem when I moved into a studio apartment with only a mini-fridge (no freezer). There's nothing like very garlicky Tuscan white bean soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week to teach one to cook smaller. There were some hits and also some serious misses, one of which involved a chicken casserole in which the chicken thighs were semi-frozen and bloody amid a sea of very well-cooked (okay, burned to the point of exploding all over the oven) Tex-Mex-style black beans along with vegetables that had long since given up trying to maintain any sort of independent identity. But I learned, and it was all mine to create and destroy...

Link here.