Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why do I cook?

I am, of late, addicted to Twitter. It's not about the social aspects or the business building part (though both are captivating to me). It is all about checking my Foodie List. It gives me a dose of foodie news I can get no where else.

I wake to the poetic musings of Ruth Reichl describing her breakfast - 140 character love haiku. I am prone to snicker a bit during the day reading Gesine Bullock Prado's snarkiness. And I cheer out loud at each of Jamie Oliver's victories in bringing attention to the critical issues surrounding healthy eating and teaching children about food.

I've made new "friends" following Paige Orloff and Kim Severson, a fantastic journalist and foodie. When Kim announced the release of her new book, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, I jumped on Amazon to order it. Something about the title struck a cord.

And today Kim's tweets pointed me to a fantastic article in the Toronto Globe and Mail about Cooking as Therapy. This did more than strike a cord. It answers the long-standing question of why I cook. It isn't a hobby for me. It is a necessity, a compulsion, a creative outlet, a healing act. It is my chance to mother to nurture and to gather a flock.

From the article:
Leading food psychologist Dr. Brian Wansink, head of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, has studied “nutritional gatekeepers” or influential cooks. He found that of the five main types of cooks, three use cooking to get through rough patches.

Sometimes, making food is a means of creative expression, or they prepare food to compete with or get affirmation from others. There are “giving cooks” who cook to please. “When you cook for others, you’re saying you care they are well fed and healthy, which is something you just don’t get from doing other things,” he says.

Dr. Christine Courbasson, head of the eating disorders and addiction clinic at the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says she’s seen patients who cook to relieve stress or free their minds from worry. “Some of them fill a void or find that it’s a way of numbing. You also have to be mindful of the activity because you don’t want to chop your finger off.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Orchard

The Orchard: Columbia County NY

Countdown to Move In: 41 days

On the Menu: Welcome Wagon Baskets for my neighbors - what better way to meet people?

- Spiced Nut jars

- Lizzie's Famous C3 (chunky chocolate chippers) Cookies

- 2x4s (2 inches x 4 kinds of chocolate)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Home is where my kitchen is

When I began this blog I was waiting for a batch of cookies to come out of the oven and looking out the window of my beautiful kitchen overlooking Central Park.

That lovely place was sold and the odyssey of my homelessness began.

Let me be clear. I am far from out on the street. I want for just about nothing. But I've been bouncing from apartment to apartment - all quite temporary places - looking for a home to share with my cookie monster. And while he's been trying to find the perfect house, I've been trying to find my place to live within it.

Home is where my kitchen is. It is where years of accumulated knives and bowls and boards and cookbooks, recipe scraps, wooden spoons and spices, all sorted and stored, whisper to me when I walk in the door.

My kitchen has always been a place of creative expression. It satisfies my longing to nurture others and to be nutured. With busy hands and a free mind, it is my place of meditation. I solve all kinds of problems in my kitchen - from getting shortbread cookies just crumbly enough to nailing a brand positioning problem, to quieting a troubled heart (usually my own).

Not having my kitchen leaves me frustrated and sad and confused and far too ready to reach to ordinary restaurants and prepared foods that leave me unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Food sinks to the lowest common denominator space in my life - a utility.

My precious bits and bobs have been in storage for the better part of the three years since selling the Central Park place. And my cooking and baking have been sporadic at best. My hand and my palette are yearning and shaky like an unused muscle. I miss my kitchen like I'd miss a dear friend whom I hadn't seen for a while.

Time to find my kitchen again - long overdue really.

(Image: flickr~cottonblue)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bring lunch to the office in style!

Martha buying Emerill is old news (in more ways than one). But here's some new news - and a darn fine brand extension if I do say so. Gather round all ye foodies who also love a good bag. Mario's got us all figured out!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Western Spaghetti


Too hot to cook!

With the temps pushing past the 80s, I've resorted to my usual summer recipe reading mode. And this new widget is a fantastic way to pass the time! Thanks Epicurious!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sage Shortbread

Savory, sweet, and salty all at the same time, this is the perfect cookie to have with a crisp white wine sitting outdoors in the late afternoon. It takes no time at all to whip up a batch and if you keep a log or two in the freezer, you'll be able to pop cookies in the oven at a moment's notice!

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon course kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp cut into 1/2" pieces

Preheat oven to 350

Line cookie sheets with parchment

Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Add butter pulsing until dough comes together. Divide in half, shape into 1" logs, wrap and chill (freeze 20 minutes).

Cut logs into 1/3" pieces and place on cookie sheet about 1/2" apart. Position oven racks in top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of oven. Bake 10 minutes and rotate sheets so bottom sheet is on top rack and top sheet is on bottom rack, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Remove and cool on racks.

Thanks to Greg Atkinson and Epicurious for the recipe.