Food blogging is an interesting & ubiquitous thing. At times I think it’s just another ridiculous and unnecessary thing, to add to the list of social media outlets for posts in which you boast about yourself & then feel completely invalid as a human when looking at those of others’. But yet, at times I think it’s helping this food relationship we’ve found ourselves in.
After reading Ruth Reichl’s new cookbook, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, I realize how important getting back into the kitchen is for the sake of saving our society for a vast number of reasons (all of which you probably already know: health, environmental, social, political, health, health, did I mention health? etc.) For me, reading works of notable food writers such as Ruth, M.F.K. Fisher, and Michael Pollan always remind me of that, but we’re not all reading the same things…
Many look to food blogs for inspiration, for this reminder that we must bring back the act of cooking, baking, and preparing your own nourishment for your body. Perhaps, these millennial-fueled recounts of recipes, paired with beautiful photos of overly-styled food & perfectly messy dinner tables are what’s really brining back the majority of us into the kitchen, into this deeply rooted act that humans have been doing long before even a recipe card existed.
We can’t be angry at this age of technology, I can’t be angry at this age of technology, hell, I’m a part of it! Tried and true, embracing my millennialism, blogging about my food, styling bowls of quinoa and veggies in my bedroom for the best light, faking my way through photography 101 with the help of many iPhone apps, but ultimately behind every Instagram post of avocado toast is me in the kitchen making it. Technology can’t mess with that…well, not yet at least.
For my 26th birthday (woo!), Dustin gave me a beautiful pistachio-hued KitchenAid. I felt complete, scared, grown-up, excited, and nervous all at the same time. I’m not much of a baker for a number of reasons. First, like most humans, I lack self-control when things are in my home, ie. cookies, cakes, pies, etc. so I try not to buy them or make them. Secondly, baking is truly a chemistry, and on the occasion that I do bake, I tend to follow more whole grain and health conscious recipes with unique ingredient lists that make for the chemistry of baking even more challenging. And while everyone can argue that a KitchenAid can do “so much more” than mix, knead, and whip, no one is looking at this beautiful appliance imagining the delicious meat they can grind with the food grinding attachment or the juices you can make with the citrus juicer attachment…They’re thinking baked goods people!
With a looming homebody desire to hang out in my kitchen all weekend long (thanks to Ruth and the temperature-dropping forecast), and to take my new baby “for a spin”, I was whipping up baked goods left & right, three to be exact…
I started the weekend off right by filling my kitchen with the scent of pumpkin and all its notoriously famous spices (!) on Saturday morning, making Molly Wizenberg’s pumpkin bread. This loaf is decadently moist flecked with chopped hazlenuts and plump golden raisins. Served warm with a tab of salted butter on a chilly afternoon makes for perfection. I also paired it with a few scoops of coconut milk-based vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup, a bad-ass à la mode rendition.
With chili on the menu for dinner, cornbread had to be in order. Cooking from My Kitchen Year, I followed Ruth’s chili recipe and was blown-away at the depth of flavors. A bottle of stout beer, an ounce of dark chocolate, and a lovely purée of chiles in adobo sauce, made for some of the best chili I’ve ever tasted.
As for the cornbread, I feel that all cornbread should always be made in a cast-iron skillet (why not?), so I let Martha lead me to corny & sweet grittyness in this delicious skillet cornbread.
Sunday was even colder than the day prior, and there was no sign of our landlord turning the heat on. I figured turning my oven on is the next best solution to having no heat (sorry that’s not very “green” of me!). While the heat of my oven was keeping the apartment cozy, it also was housing a delicious and very simple loaf of Heidi Swanson’s whole-wheat bread. This tangy yeasted bread required such little rising time, that it was ready even before Sunday breakfast was.
Maybe it’s reading and rereading cookbooks, maybe it’s watching cooking shows, maybe it’s perusing your favorite food blogs, maybe it’s your desire to ‘step up’ your Instagram feed, maybe it’s a new appliance or tool…maybe, just maybe it’s your realization that in keeping our bodies (and planet) happy & healthy we need to nourish them with goods that can’t all be sold in a package…whatever it may be, I hope you find what get’s you “back in the kitchen”.