Cooking for a family isn’t quite the thrilling experiment that cooking for a partner or a group of friends used to be. You have less money, less time, and a more critical audience than you ever did before. I find its hard to try new recipes when they invariably necessitate a trip to the store, and I’m bound and determined to cook with whole foods and the ingredients I already have laying around. A few months ago a friend asked me for a soup recipe, and I had to admit I didn’t have a recipe…
just a method.
here it is.
1. Begin, always, with onions.
2. Be fearless with your spices, and buy them in bulk so they are fresh and cheap.
3. Grow at least one of your ingredients yourself. it feels good to harvest into your cookpot.
If you can’t, make it a point to buy direct from a farmer every now and then. Look for a local farmer @ your farmers market who doesn’t advertise as organic, & ask them if they use pesticides. Many, like Whistling Train Farm who sell @ almost every Seattle Farmers Market, grow without chemicals but cannot afford the organic certification— their veggies are more affordable than the ones labelled “organic.”
4. Cook with your nose and your sense of color. Both should delight you. If they don’t, add more of something that does.
Use things from your fridge that are wilting or nearing expiration. Waste not want not.
5. you will almost never go wrong by adding more garlic or more greens.
6. Chickpeas or red lentils will give a protein boost, add heartiness, and scarcely impact the flavor.
7. At least 2 of these items go into almost everything I make. (apple cider vinegar, braggs liquid aminos, tahini, miso paste, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, nutritional yeast)
8. Make your kitchen (or at least a corner of it) into a place you find lovely.
9. A library of inspiring cookbooks just in case.
10. take notes on your successes
11. Figure out what your cooking music is (mine is Gillian Welch) and keep in mind that a good apron never hurts.