© 2012 The Joy of Cooking Trust and the MRB Revocable Trust
My mother, a working mom of three girls, cooked dinner almost every night. I know there is much ado about women feeling obligated to cook these days; about how providing healthy meals that kids will eat is too difficult; about how a lot of people don't like to cook so why should they, etc.
Every autumn, there are certain things I am compelled to do. Perhaps it’s the change in the weather that drives this compulsion; the urgency of the leaves turning and falling; the weakening sunlight.
I often toy with the idea of doing a series here about foods every cook should be able to make at the drop of a hat. I can't tell you how many times I've had to whip up something fabulous in a hurry, and a lot of the basic recipes I've accumulated and the skills I've learned over the years have been godsends to me in those moments.
"Dec 25--Cloudy and thawy--very muddy--Christmas day--good many drunken ones around town & some few arrests for drunk & disorderly--got up 12--read paper--went down to Charley Ockel's [saloon] & got some egg-nog."
--Alf Doten, 1866, as quoted in Imbibe! by David Wondrich
As a child, I never understood quite what my grandmother meant when she said that time goes by so quickly. Children are chronically impatient, and I was no different. I was always in a hurry to go somewhere. I craved new experiences like the body craves water or food. It was an elemental desire. Visceral.
Puff pastry is perhaps the holy grail of baking. It takes practice, patience, and time. I completely and totally understand why most people just buy it frozen. Making puff pastry at home, especially if you're strapped for counter space, is a little bit much.
There are two clear, stackable plastic bins on the top shelf of my refrigerator. Our refrigerator is mostly a war zone where condiments, pickles, and a half gallon jar of sauerkraut vie for space with half-empty bottles of wine, containers of leftover chicken soup, and a truly irresponsible amount of jam and butter.
As an omnivorous member of the food community, I feel that I have a confession to make. I am an ex-vegetarian.
I know a lot of people who used to be vegetarians, and even though we've all more or less come to terms with meat-eating for various reasons, many of us still feel very conflicted about meat.