Ten Things I Was Scolded for While Making Pierogi

Originally posted on Food Riot, which has since shut down. There wasn’t much ceremony to volunteering to make pierogi at Seattle’s Polish Home Association for their upcoming bazaar. Everyone else spoke Polish and was there out of love for their community. My friends and I, none of us Polish by anything other than remote heritage, were there out of a different kind of love: that of dumplings. I’m not saying I can’t be altruistic at times, but I’ll be honest: I volunteered because I wanted to watch these Eastern European dumpling masters and learn their trade secrets. I just had no idea what … [Read more...]

The Time I Went to Adult Summer Camp

I'm going to deviate just a touch from the topic of eating food for a second...but there's still food preparation involved. Lady Camp was one of the most inspiring things I've done in a long time. I travel across oceans all the time, but here, just 45 minutes from my house, I met people from the foreign lands that we call "across the mountains" with strange religions (I believe they're called "republicans"). They were tall and short, old as my grandmother, and young enough that I had to use the phrase "back in my day," more than once. The common thread? They were as enthusiastic as I am … [Read more...]

10 Tricks to Make the Lazy Cook’s Food Taste Better

I never clean up as I go. Rumor has it, that's what the cool kids do. That's what the organized, methodical, by the book cooks do. The people who clean as they go probably also set up their mise en place and follow recipes too. All things which I'd love to be the type of person who does. But I'm not. I'm me. Being me means that I'm a bit of a hurricane, whooshing into the kitchen, chopping, stirring, mixing, cooking, racing against the imaginary clock of getting one thing done before the heat on the stove demands the next step. I took a knife skills class once and I learned a lot. I've … [Read more...]

The Blame Game

I hope you, darling reader, have not forgotten about me in my hiatus. Before I get started, I wanted to feed you this delicious quote, from an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations": "God lives between the skin and the bone of the pig". Tasty. We were in the office the other day, discussing a dish that the restaurant had messed up. Because the smoked salmon had topped the scramble, the eggs lacked the flavor that the salmon was intended to give it. "The protein goes in first" explained J. No, argued A, it isn't always the protein. It is whatever ingredient you plan to blame if the … [Read more...]