Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Home, Cooking

By Jonah Merris, Associate AIA

Perhaps it’s because meals happen three times a day, or because my kitchen is the one room which has not become part of my quarantine home office, but I’ve fully embraced home cooking as the silver lining of our present condition. It’s a form of self-care, a social event, and a tangible creative practice that contrasts wonderfully with my increasingly virtual reality. What’s more, I like to think that we’re all improving as cooks together: more resourceful, more experimental, more sanitary.

So, for those who now live in their kitchens, or for those who need some inspiration, I thought I’d offer some of my favorite home cooking discoveries from the past 6+ weeks. There are recipes, of course, but also video to watch and podcasts to listen to. 

Party-for-Two Pozole - Recipe
For you and your quarantine companion (Spouse? Roommate? Doesn’t matter who as long as they love pork as much as you.) This is a celebratory stew is best cooked on Sunday evening. I cut it in half and had very special lunches for a week. Pickled red onions are a must.

Weeknight Chickpea Pancakes - Recipe
Everyone has hoarded more than enough legumes, right? I recently used chickpea flour to make socca for the first time, and am convinced these vegetarian (and vegan) savory pancakes (think crepes) are the healthier alternative to pantry pasta. The formula is simple: pancake + legumes + greens + creamy/acidic sauce.

What’s Better Than Brown Butter Cookies? - Recipe
These were made when there was still all-purpose flour on the shelves and are so good you may have to break out the flour you’re rationing. We all deserve an indulgence right now.

Ugly Delicious
Season 2 came out right before the start of quarantine and is a wonderful humanist take on food/travel shows. It’s about food, but mostly about the people, cultures, and history behind cuisine. Armchair travel you can feel good about.

Taco Chronicles
If you can embrace the surrealist narrator who speaks as “the taco,” this mini-series is a fascinating dive into the culinary traditions of Mexico. The “Canasta” episode on basket tacos is a particularly wonderful reminder of the power food has to unite us.

Julie & Julia
Oddly pertinent for our current moment. A writer cooks her way through the iconic manual for home cooks and documents the journey for a virtual audience. 

"Home Cooking" with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway
Chock full of helpful advice and inspiration for regular folks. Plenty of laughs and puns.

"The Dave Chang Show" with Dave Chang
Specifically, the “Too Small to Fail” series which deals with the effect of coronavirus on the restaurant industry. Much heartfelt discussion of the plight of those who feed us every day.

"Bon Appétit Foodcast" with Adam Rappaport et al.
A magazine brand that has fully embraced digital content (YouTube series, Instagram feed, podcast) and done so by targeting home cooks. Start with the “Rice” episodes (there are now five) for a celebration of the pantry staple.

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