Ask Umbra on eating in
The sharper among you already know from yesterday’s video that HuffPost Green is exhorting us all to board the cooking-at-home train via its Week of Eating In experiment. Not one to ask of others what I myself am not willing to do, I have taken the pledge. That’s right; I’m eschewing morning chai lattes from the coffee shop downstairs, avoiding my favorite lunchtime bakery, and turning a blind eye to the oh-so-delicious takeout from the new vegetarian Thai place.
Just last night I served roasted butternut squash soup and crusty bread. Down in the stacks today, I dug into spinach lasagna for a midday meal. Tonight I’m thinking baked salmon and something with potatoes and kale from this past weekend’s farmers market (here’s one idea from Cooking Up A Story).
You haven’t yet begun your week of eating in, you say? No worries — start now. And who says it only has to be for this week? Cathy Erway, author of The Art of Eating In, kicked the habit for two years — no pressure, of course.
If eating is a political statement, then making your own meals is the best way to have the ultimate say in the consumer food fight. Plan ahead and astound other shoppers with your market efficiency and Alice Waters-style variety. And remember, Michael Pollan says you can have junk food as long as you cook it yourself. I’ve rounded up some resources that helped me on my journey to eating in. Other ideas? Let me know in the comments section below.
- Erway inspires would-be chefs with this appetizing slideshow of winter vegetable recipes on HuffPost Green. She even throws the meat-eaters a bone with a recipe for braised cabbage with sausage and polenta. Never underestimate the power of a head of cabbage. HuffPost Green also gives us the best apps for eating in like Locavore, which tells you what produce is in season in your part of the country, and Grocery Gadget, which keeps up with your shopping list and can compare prices across stores.
- NoTakeout.com offers a complete menu, shopping list and detailed game plan — from the time you walk in the door after work — each day for that night’s dinner (big fan of last week’s mushroom penne). I think its tool list is marvelous — from bare essentials to well-equipped — so you can make sure you have the necessary pots, pans, knives, bells, and whistles. If you don’t, no need to go out and buy tons of new stuff. Ask a friend about borrowing an item like a hand blender that you may not use often enough to own one yourself (I did this for the butternut squash soup — thanks, neighbor!). Or scour your local second-hand store for some cool, vintage-y measuring cups to cut cost and new materials.
- Speaking of a well-stocked kitchen, Real Food Rehab has a spectacular pantry essentials guide for $10 (check out an abridged version on NoTakeout.com) as well as a scintillating recipe for gooey mac & cheese.
- Cooking with Friends is based on the premise of, well, cooking with friends. You shop together, make a bunch of food for the week (say multiple lasagnas, batches of soup, dozens of cookies), and then divvy it up and take it home — or eat in together.
- Follow Paula Bernstein on her journey to domesticity on her blog Undomesticated Me (she’s working up to her first dinner party on March 6). For non-foodies, reading about Paula’s culinary progress could offer a little nudge in the kitchen’s direction.
- Veg-heads and veggie supporters can head to Meatless Monday for a bevy of meat-free recipes from breakfast (hello, baked sweet potato pancakes) to dinner and snacks in between.
- Want some vino to go with your homemade goodness? In the Food and Wine Pairing Guide, you select the type of dish and spices used, and it tells you what wine would best complement your dinner. (Garlicky pasta? Why, merlot, of course.)
Happy eating in!