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04 May 2010

The Newlywed Kitchen

prepping for savory artichoke bake

Within the first two weeks of knowing each other, Danny and I were in a kitchen together, standing side by side, chopping and talking about what we were going to eat. He was sort of horrified by how badly I mangled the onions when I cut them up into giant hacking pieces, but he refrained from saying anything. I was sort of in awe of how quickly he moved, a dancer on his toes in front of the stove. We laughed, a lot.

We haven't stopped since.

Danny and I both believe there must be dozens of places for couples to work together and talk, dance and laugh. The garden. Cleaning out the shed. Picking up the clutter from the living room floor. Running a business together. Going for long walks. Raising a child. Not everyone loves to be in the kitchen — we know that.

However, we both wish that more people would walk into the kitchen on a daily basis and chop up the fresh rosemary from the garden, sauté up the ground beef, and kiss while waiting for the water to boil. After all that work, you get to eat together.

This week, we've been cooking from a cookbook that celebrates the couples who cook together, who have made a life of food and eating well, who stand side by side at the stove. The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together has been a joy this week.

warm mushroom salad

Now I should say, right away, that I'm bound to be biased about this book. Lorna, one of the authors, is a good friend of mine. Over the past year, we have traded descriptions of meals, stories about our husbands, Twitter quips, and deep conversations about the process of writing a book. Her blog, The Cookbook Chronicles, began as a record of her cooking and testing and re-tweaking the recipes that would end up in The Newlywed Kitchen. As Danny and I have become better friends with Lorna and her husband, Henry, we have been mentioned in that blog more and more. Clearly, we cannot be entirely clear-eyed about this book.

Also, Danny and I are in the book. Lorna's co-author, Ali Basye, wrote a series of deftly drawn portraits of couples who make their lives in food, which are interspersed among the recipes. I loved reading about the weekend food-gathering-on-bicycles life of Kimberly and Vitaly Paley, the first taste of porchetta that Ryan Hardy and his wife Cathy Rusnak shared together in Italy, and the kind jesting tone of Armandino and Marilyn Batali talking back and forth in their kitchen. These pithy essays are little glimpses into the lives of people who cook food for a living and still play together in the kitchen. Still, Danny and I are one of the many featured couples, so you could say we are biased here too.

In the end, here's why Danny and I decided we could recommend this book with a clear heart, in spite of our bias. That Lorna, kind-hearted, sharp-tongued woman that she is? My god, that woman knows good food. And she eats it all, with delight.

Here are some of her recent updates on meals:

"lunch today: udon with pork belly and shiso in dashi/sour plum broth, goma-dofu with wasabi and soy sauce, spinach with bonito and sweet sherry vinaigrette."

"Derby day! Making biscuits, Henry's spicy chicken wings, and having mint juleps."

"Roasted smoked marrow bones with lemon, capers, and parsley to spread on toast, and then roast pork sandwiches with tomatoes and basil as the main event."

You think Danny and I eat well? It's like we're living on mac and cheese out of a box compared to the way Lorna eats. She writes about restaurants in Seattle, among other things. Lorna consistently eats memorable meals.

(Plus, she looks like this. How does she maintain her loveliness? Genetics. A running habit. And more than that, she knows how to live in food without indulging too much.)

Along with all this, Lorna is picky. She thinks about every bite of food she takes, compares it against her platonic ideal of what it could be, and often finds it falls short of her hopes. She's not a snob. Lorna is one of the sweetest people I know. She also loves good, simple comfort foods and homey baked goods. She just has very high standards.

This is why the recipes in The Newlywed Kitchen are so good.

savory artichoke bake

We ate well this week.

This is a homey lovely breakfast: a savory egg bake with bread cubes, chicken sausage, and artichoke hearts. Danny loves artichoke hearts. When I put this in front of him, he sighed.

After we ate, we all sighed. Lu finished her entire bowl.

meatballs from Lorna's book

And these? Oh my, these. These are the softest-tasting meatballs I have ever eaten. With pork, veal, and beef, plus bread cubes soaked in milk, fresh oregano, and red pepper flakes, these meatballs were bursting with taste.

My friend Gabe came over yesterday afternoon, unexpectedly. We sat and talked as Lu enjoyed her dinner. I pointed toward the noodles and meatballs. He took a bite, kept talking, took another bite, kept talking, and then stopped. "Man, I am really digging on these meatballs."

We think you will too.


Lorna makes great comfort food. Her award-winning mac and cheese has bacon, butter, mozzarella, blue cheese, Parmigiano, and Gruyere. We thought about making that this week, but I knew that if we made a pot, I'd want to eat another pot. I'll throw it together for a party when I have to divvy it out to friends and take only three bites for myself.

The book has a great recipe for slow-cooked lamb ragu, a red wine and mushroom risotto, a creamy kale gratin (inspired by the one Lorna ate at Boat Street Cafe), smoky-sweet corn pudding, cheddar cheese grits with bacon gravy, ultra-crispy fried chicken, a grilled porterhouse steak with blue cheese butter, classic lasagna, and chicken potpie with cheddar thyme crusts. Wow. Just flipping through, Danny and I wanted to make everything.

But I tried to stick with the lighter dishes this week, to go with my new running habit and newfound resolve to be fit. Here is a sign of a good cook: Lorna made broccoli taste decadent by roasting it with a bit of parmesan and hot pepper flakes. I loved the maple-roasted root vegetables with sherry vinegar. I can't wait for summer to make zucchini fritters with tangy yogurt sauce. And while I would probably cut down on the amount of red peppers in the mix, I'm keeping the turkey meatloaf with the balsamic glaze.

This was one of the lunches we ate this week: warm mushroom and bacon salad with spinach, and a curried goat cheese salad with chickpeas. Yes, please.

The recipes in this book are not intended for beginner cooks. If you know someone who doesn't know how to scramble an egg well, I'd probably find a more basic book as a wedding present. But if you love food, or know a couple just starting their married life who like to laugh in the kitchen together, you should buy this book.

Danny and I danced in the kitchen this week. We think you will too.

We're giving away a copy of The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together. Tell us a story about cooking with someone you love.

lorna yee's onion rings, gluten-free

Buttermilk Onion Rings, Gluten-Free, adapted from The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together

Let me make this clear: Lorna's book is not gluten-free. However, as is true of all recipes that are well made, these are easy recipes to adapt. Because of this, I came to have my first onion rings in over five years.

Oh my goodness. Need I say more? No. Look at the photograph, then make these. (You should probably only eat them once in a while, as a great treat. They taste better that way.)

1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons hot sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
4 ounces potato starch
4 ounces sweet rice flour
2 ounces cornstarch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 quart canola oil for frying (you could use any vegetable oil you wanted here)

Combine the sliced red onions, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon of the garlic salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a large bowl. Pour the buttermilk over it all, pushing down on the onions to submerge them, and let this sit for 2 hours.

Combine the potato starch, sweet rice flour, cornstarch, and xanthan gum. Stir well. Mix in the remaining garlic salt and smoked paprika.

Dredge the buttermilk-soaked onions in the flour, flipping them over and over to make sure that everything is coated. Shake off the excess and lay these on a plate.

Set a large pot on medium-high heat. Make sure it is deep. Pour in the canola oil, then watch the temperature carefully. (Keep the kids away, playing in another room if possible.) When the temperature of the oil has reached 360°, drop the first few onions into the oil.

(Now there's a rule. The first batch is always just okay. Throw in a few to sacrifice to the onion ring gods, and move on.)

When the onion rings have turned golden brown all around, about 3 minutes, take them out with tongs and lay them on paper towels. Finish with each successive batch, making sure the oil comes up to heat again, until you are done. Shake a little salt over them and eat. Now.

Serves 2 (or 3 in this case, because Lu loved them too)


At 1:16 AM, Blogger Marti said...

Hi, I just found your blog a couple weeks ago and am really enjoying your honest, well written posts and your story/live in general! Here's my story: while at University in Scotland I was at a party one day. I didn't know the people throwing the party but they were friends of friends. I noticed that there was great food being served which wasn't typical of a Scottish student house party... then I found out one of the guys was Italian and after chatting a bit I told him I told him I was vegetarian. He immediately went back into the kitchen and whipped up a very scrumptious meal just for me, including fresh spinach salad with slivers of parmiggiano on top. Needless to say, I fell in love. We now live and cook together in our kitchen in Italy, laughing all the way :)

At 4:27 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

I am afraid we have very clear divisions of "labor" in our kitchen. While it is fair to say the kitchen is my domaine there are a few things Tina does that I don't. When I was first diagnosed the idea of not having free reign to french fries was more than I could stand. Tina came home with a mini fry daddy and has been making homemade fries and onion rings for me ever since. I am going see to it she makes these onion rings soon. She is also in charge of pancakes, waffles and buckwheat crepes, savory crepes. There is unprecedented magic in our kitchen between the two of us, magic for Tina that is. When ever she cooks, I set up the kitchen like a food network t.v. shooting, completely prepped. I trail her every move, cleaning up behind her. Not exactly a dance but who wouldn't wouldn't cook with that kind of support.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger Jennifer Jo said...

I only like cooking with my husband when he decides up front that he's going to HELP, not BOSS.

That just made him (me?) sound like an awful person, and he's not. It's just that we're both incredibly bossy, but because I'm the one that knows more about cooking, I insist that when he comes into the kitchen, he needs to defer to me.

That said, when we work out our issues (and drink a little wine, perhaps), then we can have a rip-roaring good time.

But mostly, I just crave quiet kitchen time, with NPR as my only companion.

At 4:39 AM, Blogger Suzann said...

I remember when I was first married, my husband would pop in the kitchen to see how things were done. Now, many years later...
My daughter and I have been cooking together for years (she's almost 16) a few months back she decided to make chicken parmesan for the family and she was going to teach her 8-year old brother. As I sat and listened to them talking, discussing, and her instructing I was brought to tears. Not so many years ago this was me teaching my daughter, now she is teaching my son. Someday it will be my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The kitchen is truly where memories are made through generations.

At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My best friend and I spent a month backpacking through Europe when we were in college. We were of course, on a tight budget and couldn't afford to eat at all the fabulous restaurants we came across. Luckily, we managed to find hostels with kitchens at every stop of our little adventure. At the first stop she informed me, however, that she had never cooked a meal before in her life. I decided immediately that we needed to change that and we spent the entire month like kids in a giant candy store: exploring the world, and creating simple fresh dishes every night. To this day, we cook together as often as possible.

At 5:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

My fiance and I met in a kitchen, thirteen years ago. I was a waitress and he was a cook in a restaurant in a resort town near where we grew up. We always had a love of cooking in common. It took us twelve years to become more than friends, but we are definitely soul mates. Now we live together and cook together almost every day.

At 5:46 AM, Blogger Lindsey F. said...

Though I do most of the cooking in our house, my husband always sits in the kitchen while I prepare our meal. I usually ask him to do some small task to help out...whether it's putting things away, setting the table, chopping an onion, or pouring a glass of wine to enjoy while dinner is cooking. We're not newlyweds since we've been married 39 years, but we still find joy and love in being in the kitchen together.

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous heather @ chiknpastry said...

met the hubs in italy, and we were taking a cooking class together, so i really thought he loved to cook; he even cooked for me a couple of times when trying to "woo" me :). once i fell in love with cooking, he slowly slithered away from the kitchen, but he'll come back to wash dishes, and sometimes, to chop veggies for me or stir a pot!! and of course, to grill!!

At 6:00 AM, Blogger babyjenks said...

i'm going to enjoy reading the comments on this post!

when we first started seriously dating and cooking, my (now) husband called me a kitchen nazi. i knew how to move around the kitchen by myself and how things cook. unlike danny, i wasn't very good at being silent or politic when it came to his technique. :) but after being in the kitchen together for ten years i have learned to offer mild suggestions or just let go and let him do things they way he does things. now we enjoy cooking together, delicious gf meals! and i'm no longer called nasty names!

At 6:03 AM, Blogger I Am Gluten Free said...

My story is about my mother, may her memory be for a blessing. We didn't really cook much together. Growing up, before I left for college and my adult life, I wasn't much interested in cooking, other than an occasional flirtation with French Toast. And during our annual visits to her home in Florida, I must confess that I was usually sunbathing or taking care of my children and doing vacation-y kinds of things. So, it was only after she passed that I really began cooking with her. You see, she left me 3 things that I now cherish beyond words- 3 things that allow me to cook with her, even though she's gone: an apron that was a constant companion of hers while she cooked, a tattered and stained (and much-loved) copy of her New York Times cookbook (you know, the old blue one), and a whole bunch of recipes that she either wrote out for me in her beautiful handwriting (complete with footnotes and adaptations) or that she emailed to me (in her very distinct email style - one long paragraph with lots of …….. between the sentences.) So, now, when I put on that apron or use any of her recipes (and even when I don't), she is with me, talking to me, laughing with me, telling me stories like how my grandmother (her mother) used to make Gefilte Fish from scratch, and generally helping me learn that food can be a way to help communicate your love for and to the people in your life. Maybe that's why, whenever anyone eats anything that I've prepared in the kitchen, if they like it (and thankfully, with the occasional blooper, they usually do like what I prepare), and let me know (even if it's by a silent smile or boisterous oohs and ahs), I literally qvell (um, Yiddish, hard to define….fill up with pride comes close). That's one of the ways I keep her close to me. With Mother's Day just around the corner, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to tell this story.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger JenFisher said...

I cook for my fiance almost every day. Not only do I love to do it, it has presented a whole new challenge for me. Before I met him, I only knew of one other person with Celiac, and I didn't fully understand the implications of this disorder. In the 3 1/2 years we've been together, I've been able to create lovely, tasty meals and desserts for him (thanks to blogs like yours--he had his first brownies since going gluten free because of one of your recipes!) and have been able to nourish his body and soul without the risk of illness. I love everything about him, and I love how fascinated he is by the gluten-free desserts we've been able to create over the years.

Nothing makes me happier than that man, a good dinner, and a piece of gluten free lemon cake.

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Sirena said...

I love this giveaway! I'm biased too: as a newlywed (does 1.4 yrs of marriage count? still feel newlywed...) I do most of the cooking in our home (and write about it on my little blog), and it's part of the ways I show my husband my love. But I recently broke my foot, and as I hobbled around the kitchen, T was right there beside me. He was a little unfamiliar with the ways of the kitchen, but he was persistent and fearless: he chopped kale and sauteed it in garlic, topping it with lemon, while I strained whole wheat pasta shells and thinly sliced ham for the rest of our dinner. T washed the salad greens, and I mixed the vinaigrette, and he assembled our meal beautifully. It was one of my favorite nights of cooking, and the meal tasted even better than when made by just one.

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Laura said...

I will tell you the story of making food with my grandmother, whom I loved and miss tremendously. She was a great cook and loved to eat. She had a huge table with a marble top where she would make gnocchi with her fast and experienced hands. One of my fondest memory I have of her is the times I helped her make gnocchi. My gnocchi looked so horrible compared to hers, which were perfect, all the same size and coming out so fast from her hands. I loved her kitchen, it was very simple, and I loved to check all the drawers for useful and fun things. My grandmother never told me she loved me, she was a tough lady, but I know that I was her favorite granddaughter, not sure why, we had a very special bond. I wish I could go back in time and laugh with her and hug her again.

I am glad you guys have this special bond in the kitchen, I am alone when I cook, not when I eat though.

This book sounds amazing and I know just the right couple to send it to, they just got married.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger oldmeghale said...

WOW, I would love love love this cookbook! I love to cook and recently my husband has been joining me in the kitchen. I love how it is like a dance: each person moving in unison. We just made your Red Beans and Rice recipe together this week (we'd never had them before being from CO). I loved how we were both tasting and testing to see if the spices were just right, chopping "the trinity" together as you called them, and snuggling on the couch while we waited for it to simmer to the perfect moment. Being in the kitchen is my favorite time of day and I'm excited to share that with my husband more and more. Your blog is so inspiring that way.

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Ina said...

Hi Shauna...oh this book sounds lovely. No one in my house will cook...they love my food, and happily I love to cook...but...if I could get my husband to join me that would be a great accomplishment. I did cook once with some good was such a fun experience...but that has been the only time every sharing the kitchen with someone. I would love to do it more! Ina

At 7:01 AM, Blogger sarahem321 said...

At the beginning of my GF life, I ate alone. I had someone in my life who loved me, but didn't eat what I was eating. There were all kinds of reasons – from it's too expensive for us both to eat gluten free to I just don't like your food. However, regardless of the reason, there was and one result, isolation. After I moved on and started to see someone who embraced "my food" as part of loving all of me, I realized how much I missed having a family meal. Making our food together and eating our food together. Gluten free food in our home is no longer a category of substitute products intended to accommodate a medical need, it's just our food. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Binnie said...

After 22 years of cooking for my family, including gluten-free cooking for my daughter, who was diagnosed with celiac at age 11, I burned out. Cooking had become a source of stress and necessity - said daughter also has diabetes, so it HAD to be good and HAD to be perfect so everyone would eat and she'd be safe. The joy and artistry of cooking were gone for me.
Then my daughter went off to university in another province.
Then I was diagnosed with celiac. My demoralization was complete.
And then my husband put on an apron. Soon he became the Weekend Warrior in the kitchen, cooking everything gluten-free. He cooks with joy and abandon, some of his efforts so-so and others, spectacular. He's inspired me to re-locate the joy in cooking, so now we share kitchen duties, happily.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger AnnaJ said...

My fiancee, Brad, has always loved making meals for me - fantastic omlettes, rosemary chicken, greek style pork chops, and the list goes on. He is a cook at a restaurant in our native Baltimore City, and as our relationship has deepend so has our cooking relationship. I am not just an audience now. I will often make one course while he makes another. or I'll bake dessert while he preps the entree. Our relationship has transformed me; his love of food has become mine. I have transformed from some one relied on a mediocre stir fry and quiche recipe for dinner every week to an adventurous home cook. Now, I make most of our dinners, and he gets to sit back and enjoy it. We are getting married in August 2010 :)

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

my fiancee is my favorite person to cook with! we both love good quality and great tasting food, and love making and eating it together. last night was grass-fed beef burgers on freshly baked rolls with waffle fries, tonight is sundried tomato crusted tilapia and green beans :)

At 7:18 AM, Blogger Teenage Thumb said...

I'm a newly moved out student. In venturing out into the world I found solace in the kitchen. Its become something of a routine, that after a long day my boyfriend and I will go into the kitchen and catch up whilst over the stove. The smell of good food mixed with good conversation? Pure Love.

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Deirdre said...

I wish I could say that my husband and I cook together, but he categorically refuses to have anything to do with cooking! We moved to CA 3 years ago, and since we have such great farmers' markets year round (I have been making zucchini fritters for the past few weeks), I am always looking for new recipes for meals I can make at the end of the working day, which involve great produce. These photos make me want to check out this book!

At 7:49 AM, Blogger erika said...

I usually do my morning online reading with a bowl of Cheerios. For most sites that is fine - then I get to your site and I feel like I am failing at the whole cooking/eating thing. Thank you for the inspiration. You are such a great reminder that you get out of life what you put into it.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Annemarie said...

This book sounds perfect! My love and I are long-distance at the moment while I study in New York City, but every night we call each other to talk about what we're eating. We often talk while stirring, sautéing, or chopping, phones cradled between shoulder and cheek. We then have made it a ritual that when we're having dinner we eat "together" although we're 1000 miles apart. And when we get together? We eat, cook, grocery shop, and eat some more! My favorite gift he ever got me was a cooking class at Whole Foods in Austin,TX, working with heirloom tomatoes. Every time I make one of the recipes from that, I think of him. Lorna's book sounds perfect for us, and I think we'll be procuring it, either with the giveaway or without!

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Tanaya said...

So excited about this book, it sounds lovely!

Our story: I love cooking, reading recipes, revising them & then re-inventing them in my own personal way.

He loves cooking too. A self-professed "kitchen sink cook". He will take something out of the fridge and add a pinch of every single spice that we have in the cupboard to it.

I loved that he cooked for me. No man has ever done that. But then, I started cooking for him and he felt self-conscious. He compared our styles and our meals and then....he stopped cooking!!!!

Heartbroken, I encouraged him to experiment in the kitchen together with me. Since then, we have been making some amazing meals and sharing them at a table set for two.

Now we are always looking for recipes and ideas and things to incopororate into this new-found joint hobby/passion.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Cindy said...

My loves that cook with me are my kids almost daily. They're still limited as to what they can do and mostly it's them standing by my side eating fresh fruit and veggies while I cook. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that I'm not only bonding with them but instilling healthy food options and the knowledge of how to cook. I look forward to it even though they sometimes fill up on fruit before the meal is ready to eat.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger allison said...

The one meal my husband enjoys cooking is a churrasco-brasilian cuts of meats that are cooked on skewers over hot coals. He was raised in Brasil and nowadays we team up to make a typical Brasilian feast. He cooks the meats and I cook the beans and rice, farofa, vinagrette, and a typical dessert. Never to we eat so well or end up so happy :-)

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since my husband has gone gluten-free, I have required his participation in meal planning and even cooking so that he feels a sense of pride in his food and enjoys it more. We are still learning to enjoy food without the things he loves (there are many other ingredients he can't eat besides gluten, right now), but his help has been great. I keep getting emails at work about how good our dinner was the second time.

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My boyfriend was visiting from London last year and we got to talking about mozzarella. He mentioned that he thought it would be "quite neat" to make it, although he couldn't wrap his head around the idea that it was something that could be MADE. So we bought the stuff and made our first cheese together. It was brilliant.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Chloe (Naturally Frugal) said...

I love cooking with my Dad. He taught me at a young age how to make scrambled eggs, sautee veggies, and work the barbecue. We work well together in the kitchen, I make the salad while he roasts a chicken and we talk easily and freely. He loves to cook and when he's inspired it's wonderful to watch.
Even if I don't win this fantastic giveaway, I plan on buying Lorna's book anyways. The boyfriend and I need to learn how to cook together, and I think this is the perfect step towards doing so.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Kristin said...

I never really learned to cook, so I've been kind of self-taught and getting better since I moved out of the house. When my now-husband and I were first dating, and it was a special night, we used to make fish grilled on the Foreman, scallops sauteed in butter, mushrooms sauteed in butter, and Caesar salad from a bag (horrors!), and pick up a loaf of crusty bread. We'd eat until we couldn't eat any more and then we'd talk until we fell asleep.

I've known him for almost nine years and although his cooking skills haven't advanced much, I am improving -- and he can always pour me a glass of wine and keep me company while I'm at the stove. We're about to celebrate our second wedding anniversary and we're still madly in love!

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Mary said...

He grew up eating defrosted dinners from a single mother. She grew up with her Dad (a farmer at the time) cooking every night.

The first time they cooked together, he burned every bit of the fried chicken skin.

She ate it anyway, because she loved him. Almost as much as she loved chicken skin. ;)

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Sharon M. said...

I've tried cooking with my husband, but he really doesn't want to learn how to cook. That's ok. I cook, he eats and does the dishes. We've been married for 35 years and it works for us. That's what love is.

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous juliana said...

I just added that book to our wedding registry! I love it when G. is with me in the kitchen preparing dinner... hopefully this will encourage us to do it more often. :)

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Samantha said...

My husband and I cook together every night. We met at culinary school, where he literally swept my feet (my shoes had some flour on them, and it was all over after that). We went on our externship together, to Atlanta GA during the summer olympics. We worked next to each other on the line, and while the job wasn't great, he sure was.

We've been together for almost 13 years now, and have cooked together in many many kitchens. Tonight, after work (we work together too, but not in the culinary field now), we'll go home and work in the garden. Then we'll make some dinner, and prep lunch for tomorrow. I couldn't ask for a better kitchen partner.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Laura said...

The first night we met, he mentioned Mark Bittman over beer. I knew immediately I wanted him to ask me out; there aren't a whole lot of 30-something men out there (at least not at a dive bar in Austin, Texas) talking about Bittman.

Before our fifth date, he emailed me to ask if I'd go over for dinner. He prepared a multi-course, picnic-themed meal, right down to the homemade chipotle mayo. He sent me the thoughtful, perfectly balanced menu in advance. It was a wonderful meal ... but it was his last time alone in the kitchen.

For our six-month anniversary, we prepared a four-course dinner for our friends. The menu came from a Stephen Pyles cookbook -- a cookbook he gave me after I took him to Pyles' restaurant in Dallas on his birthday.

It's been nearly year. I'm moving in this summer.

There have been many, many meals. Trips to the farmer's market. Menu planning. Hill Country road trips scheduled around our small-town cafe stops. Divulging concerns about our respective weight issues, our mutual love of food, of wanting to be more active together. Grilling pizza dough. Making handmade pasta. Talks about his father's famous bean burritos and my father's days as a steakhouse owner. We find ourselves trying a new restaurant and spending the whole ride home talking about unidentifiable spices and what we'd do differently. We've built our first garden. We marvel daily at what we're growing together.

We aren't married yet, but he is my family, my home, and the only man I want next to me in the kitchen every day.

I want to win this book because I know we'll be newlyweds someday. Maybe even some day soon.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Alison aka Baby B said...

I have been teaching my boyfriend to cook. He is eager to help and learn, so that makes it fun. He can feed himself (mac n cheese, sandwiches, etc.) but he hasn't *really* cooked before. We've certainly been laughing in the kitchen.

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Doorgirl said...

My husband and I met in an airport, the day before New Years. By the time the Super Bowl came around some 5 weeks later we decided to cook for all of our friends at his apartment. We made rotisserie lamb with garlic and rosemary, jalapeno poppers, humus, home-made pitas, babaganoush, about 5 other dishes and angel food cake. (I didn’t know gluten hated me back then.) We did a much better job planning the meal than the invitations, so it was just the two of us with food spread out all around. We had so much fun cooking together that it didn’t matter that we were the only ones there to enjoy it. He beat the egg whites by hand for the angel food cake – talk about courtship! After the game he called his parents, and after describing the feast to his mom he said “Mom, I’d like you to talk to the girl I’m going to marry” and handed me the phone. His mom and I giggled. It felt right. We still cook together all the time, and we had friends help up cook for our wedding last August. Five years have passed but that Super Bowl is still so special - it was the first time we created something together.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

I love this post. And now - another beautiful cookbook to add to my next amazon - thank you!

I'm the sole cook in our house, by choice and also by schedule as my husband gets home 2 hours later than I do. So I prep and cook to unwind after I get home from work, and then he pops in the kitchen to hang out and help while I finish up cooking. And, he often wields the camera to get some "action" shots for the blog that I couldn't get without his help.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Libby said...

My husband and I have been cooking together since we met in New Orleans 9 years ago. When I made him 3 varieties of pie for dinner one night, I think we both knew we would be together for a while.

Fast forward a few years, we moved from New Orleans back to my home state, Iowa, for grad school. And we kicked our cooking up a notch. He misses the Cajun food of his childhood, so we've learned the slow process of authentic Cajun and Creole food. Slowly but surely.

Unfortunately our schedules (he works overnights as a nurse and I'm a 9-5 lawyer) make any involved cooking during the week difficult. But at least once or twice a week we spend time together in the kitchen working seamlessly together. It's by far our favorite thing to do together. With spring upon us, the Farmer's Market open, and our own garden popping, we're so excited to get back in the kitchen.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Stargirl said...

I remember the first time the hubby and I cooked together (before we were married). He wanted a chicken pasta dish and I wanted salmon and noodles. We ended up making way too much of both dishes and ate them for a week. We laugh about it now, but we still sometimes eat separate meals because I am gluten free and he is not. Sharing our dinner and conversation at the end of a long day is still one of the best parts of my day. Thanks for the reminder!

At 10:53 AM, Blogger RinnieKirk said...

It's interesting. I just realized about 2 weeks ago that my husband and I are at our best when we can cook together. Or just one of us cooks while the other sits nearby so we can chat about our day. I love the way my husband cooks! He's so skilled at throwing things together. I on the other hand need a recipe. My favorite cooking times are when I'm grilling and he is doing the "prep work" tonight we'll be having grilled steak fajitas in honor of cinco de mayo. I'll be grilling the meat and he'll be making the fresh pico de gallo and guacamole! YUMMY!

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Adina Marguerite said...

This sounds so fun! My fiance and I just moved to Seattle in March and now we're moving out of the house we just moved into because the situation just wasn't working. So we're moving, planning our wedding, traveling a lot for work, and the one thing that keeps us grounded and reminds us of what home feels like is when we are cooking in the kitchen together. The other night we switched roles, normally I'm the primary cook and he is sort of the prep cook, but the other day after I got back from a long and draining week in Alaska for work, he took over as the primary and it just felt so nice to be home and connect in that way. It's something we just missed but it just feels so grounding.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

My fiance and I don't get many opportunities to cook together. I'm usually trying to get dinner ready for when he gets home (I'm home earlier than he is, so this division makes sense) but the days I'm sick, he stays home with me whenever possible. We cook together, those days. He'll stir, I'll chop, we fetch things for each other--lately I've been getting a lot sicker, so cooking together now includes helping me get a chair, and sit at the table to cut. Bringing me a spoon of broth where I'm sitting. And sometimes, chuckling together (albeit a little sadly) the nights he has hovered, hand or arm on my waist, ready to catch me, because I don't want to surrender yet. I want to keep standing, and talking, and cooking.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Sally Anderson said...

I wrote you before about my husband who made eggplant covered it in dried oregano and baked it. And how he's come a looong way since then. Well, he pretty much had to take over cooking because of health issues I've had. I'm working like crazy at getting better and one of my motivations is us cooking together. Now that he knows a lot about cooking, it would be so fun cook together. We are a good pair in general, have a lot of fun in our lives together. Cooking together would be an added dimension. I'm getting better every day and hope to join him out there soon. He hopes so too cuz he's getting tired of shouldering KP!

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Seriously distressed that I couldn't enjoy his mother's cinnamon rolls, my Finnish boyfriend jumped right into gluten-free cooking with me. Combining your recipe with his mother's (cardamom makes me shake my head in unbelief and gastromic astonishment), we made ourselves an exotic batch of rolls.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Sara Blackthorne said...

After a long day of farmer's market/bicycling/kayaking, we headed back to her place to make dinner. It wasn't the first time we cooked together, and we were so hungry we certainly didn't make anything fancy. Her kitchen is very small (a "one-butt" kitchen as we call it), so it was a unique challenge to maneuver in as "friends," but both feeling like there was something more happening. In ten minutes we had a stir-fry of spinach, tofu, other vegetables and peanuts. We ate it with some rice noodles in the backyard, watching the sun set over the trees. In that moment, I knew that no matter what happened, no matter how our relationship evolved, we would always be able to cook together.

As I was washing the dishes (because I am unaccustomed to having a dishwasher) looking out at the mulberry trees, she came up behind me and encircled me in her arms. We said nothing, just rested there together for a long time.

My heart was with peace.

**I love reading the stories of your joint cooking adventures. They bring a smile to my face every time. Thank you!**

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Mara Gaulzetti said...

When I first started dating my finace, I knew he was a keeper because he loved to cook (and did it well!). I remember helping him chop vegetables and thinking to myself "well, I must really like this guy if I'm sous chef!".

Now I am usually the one who cooks our daily fare, but when he gets home we wrap up the last minute dinner details together and he does the dishes. Divine.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Mary said...

I really enjoy cooking with my husband. It's rare quiet time together.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Bende, Zoé or Abigél said...

I do most of the cooking at home, my husband prefers eating! We have two little people in our life now and they are just getting to the stage where they can lift the full measuring cup and dump it into the bowl without spilling. I've been cooking with them since they could push the chair to the counter and climb up and I love it. We make a huge mess, but the food is always twice as delicious as it would be without their help. And they are certainly more willing to eat anything they have had a hand in preparing!

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Ruby said...

We met the end of last summer, before his graduating semester in school. After keeping in contact as we both headed back home from summer school, we hung out for two weeks straight after the school year started (before we had to call it off since, he was leaving) but! we did hold a barbeque at his apartment! a korean barbeque. we cooked curry together on movie nights and prepped for entree's like stuffed mushroom, and etc... together in his kitchen. it was odd but amazing how we worked really well in the kitchen! he never cooked before and I only started in college, so there it was, the both of us, cutting up vegetables, singing and laughing over a pot of curry,prepping the tomatos and what not. we're not together now, but to this day he still text me from time to time when he cooks.

"I miss cooking with you".


At 12:33 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Almost from day one, I've been cooking (and eating) with my now fiance, Eric. We love sharing food and making food - and took that love to France last year where we worked on organic farms. Some culinary highlights included making our first coq au vin (with a neighbour's freshly killed rooster), making goat cheese (from fresh milk, from the goats we were herding every day), and having daily meals of cheese and baguettes and organic salads while living in Paris for a month. We get married soon and I look forward to years of togetherness in our kitchen!

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Tracy Chastain said...

Kim and I have little conversations about who gets to cut the onions and other veggies for any recipe. Typically, the conversation goes like this. tracy: "I'll cut the onions for this recipe." kim: "but you did last time. i want to cut the onions this time." tracy: "ok, but give me something else to cut. and you have to do the meat." and so on... :) We have found a real love and joy in coming up with an idea for a meal based on the ingredients in the fridge/pantry and then creating it - watching the Magic happen. We dance and sing and laugh and talk. It's the time together that we most enjoy.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Evelyn said...

My sister was always interested in cooking from a young age but I was always rather turned off by the use of so many "pre-made" products that seem to take all the artistry out of cooking to me. After many years of very little communication while she chased after many bad habits and attitudes she turned her life around to make better decisions and I found an art in cooking from scratch that I can appreciate. Now, on weekends we are sometimes able to come together and cook meals for anyone who comes to visit my grandparents that have been a joy and even built up a relationship with someone I loved but never believed it would be possible for me to have one with :)

At 12:56 PM, Blogger emily said...

Do friends count? A friend of mine recently became my roommate and we have awesome meals together, cooked on the stove and in the oven together. Thought up together and shared together. She introduced me to shakshouka, I introduced her to bread pudding. Life is bueno.

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don't cook with my husband so much as I'd like, I think he's afraid of getting in the way or something. My favorite cooking memories are from my stays with my grandparents each summer growing up. Grandma would dance her way around the kitchen showing me how to brown meat, prep veggies and coordinate things so all the dishes are done at the same time (preferably about 2 minutes before Grandpa came in from working in is garden). Cooking with mom was fun, but cooking with grandma was a symphony.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Jules said...

My husband and I have totally different styles in our kitchen. I spend time thinking about a meal and about what flavours will go well together.
He just runs in and throws stuff together. He has more meals that make me say "Hmmm, interesting" whilst casting around for a nearby pot plant but also more sudden blasts of greatness. My food is more constant.
My story is of my birthday a couple of years ago where I planned and baked three different cakes and he said he'd make a Victoria sponge. He made it in a blender, blitzing all the ingredients together in one go. No creaming butter and sugar, no thought at all. In the oven it went and about two minutes later I asked him if I could put the rest of the eggs away. He said "S**t, eggs!" Slapped his forehead, took the now warm sponge out of the oven, scraped it back into the blender, added eggs and blended again, befpre pouring it back into the tins and putting it all back into the oven.
I laughed at him was pleased I had at least made my three cakes.
His sponge was perfect and everybody, even my Mother, famous for her light sponges, raved about it!
I could not believe it!

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Elana said...

My boyfriend A.W. and I love each others' company. We wake up together, go to work together, sleep together, cook together and eat together. There was a time when we didn't think we would have a tomorrow together, so we focused on being together each time we could.
A.W. is my best friend in the world, and my meals are now not the same without him. I think that's why I want your cookbook. I have been coming to your blog for a long time, and feel like the connection you guys share over food is a friendship like ours. Your cookbook is really a beautiful thing that explores your relationship, and reminds me to further explore mine. Life can be confusing. We are so young, and our future is full of many uncertain things, but our meals are the connection that gets us back to where we started. (by the way A.W. sounds like an old man's name, but we are 21) I love your blog and the new cookbook. Congratulations

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Lizard said...

Mrs Gluten-free Girl and Chef,
My fiance and I started living with his grandmother 2 years ago now. She's a type I diabetic, has had massive mouth surgeries that leave her unable to eat many straight acidic or spicy foods, is 85ish years old, almost as spry as a grasshopper (though she'll tell you she's OLD) and a celiac. When I first moved in, I was already exposed by my sister's best friend to celiac. Grandma is a wonderful woman but has problems remembering recipes now and can't comprehend the internet to revel in the glory of information now available to gluten-free diets. My family consists of 6 people; my mother a baker, father a previous chef, sister a motherly sort and younger siblings who eat everything. I never cooked, never needed to. But over the past two years I have both learned how to cook and learned how to COOK. Yeah, the first batch of cookies was a mess (who ever gets those right?) But I don't know how I would have been able to keep my resilience up with Grandma's constant "Well, Are you sure I can have that?" without her adding 10 minutes later "Oh, I haven't had cookies, pasta, pizza, good bread in 30 years!"
How odd is it that she constantly buys cake mixes and cornbread mixes just to make for 2 solitary people in the house (and we barely count since we can't eat cake all the time!) But Grandma's are like that, though with Betty Crocker's new mixes we can all share.
In October my fiance and I will be getting married, we're still unsure if we can bear to leave Grandma. Because she needs the love of other people in her house.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Zoë said...

I have to admit that my husband and I only cooked together once...and that was when we were dating! I'm the food prep spouse because he works hard on the farm. But the time we did cook together was fun. It was for Valentine's day. I think we made some sort of pasta but I could be wrong on that.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger ChefDJen said...

My husband and I are hardly newlyweds (we've been married for 16 years) and in ll that time I can probably count the number of times that we have cooked together on my fingers (maybe my toes too). He is just not a cook (and he doesn't like food nearly s much as I do).

However, over that last four weeks my husband has been the only one in the kitchen. I had ankle surgery and have had to stay completely off my foot to give it time to heal.

Before I went in for surgery I prepared a whole bunch of meals for the freezer so while we may not be cooking together it's been a joint effort to get us fed without relying on take-out.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

He's the peanut butter to my jelly. The yin to the yang.

The huz and I have been together for over twenty-one years... married for over fifteen of it now. We compliment each other in the kitchen and when we redid our 1903 home in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood I designed the kitchen (which used to be three rooms) to have two work stations on either side of the stove in the middle of the 7' x 3' island.

We are a team in all senses of the word, and our skills, though they overlap, run in different directions which brings more to the table.

He's breakfast. Eggs and I don't get along unless they are in something baked.

I bake. He grills. I'm chicken- though not afraid... He's fish, though not fishy. He's meat and potatoes. I'm vegetables and fruit. We eat it all together, cook it all together, and whoever has the most energy when we are done, cleans it up. Although if he loads the dishwasher I reorganize it.

Celiac- his- was a challenge and I reinvented my baking for him. I don't tolerate butter and cream- mostly when they are together in a sauce. We eat simple and good, but not rich foods.

We geek out over new kitchen devices. This year we bought ourselves the new Cuisinart 17 cup (massive) Elite processor because it has a "dough" setting for our anniversary gift.

We may occasionally butt heads, but we will laugh over it as we toast each other and the fine meal we put on our plates.

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Amy (Minimally Invasive) said...

My friends used to be jealous that I always dated men who loved to cook, and to cook with me. Naturally, I decided to spend my life with a man who has no aptitude in the kitchen, who found it necessary to google a recipe for scrambled eggs. But those eggs are perfect and he loves the rest of my cooking, so I'd say it all worked out just fine, even if we don't share laughs in the kitchen.

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Heather @Gluten-Free Cat said...

Ok, there's absolutely no way that I'm winning the book. My sweet husband knows how to run the Vita-mix to make smoothies, and that's about it. We don't cook together. He doesn't understand the joy I get out of creating a beautiful, delicious, healthy meal. Or the pleasure I have seeing the smile on his face as he savors the first bite of one of my creations. While I'd love to dance in the kitchen with him, we'll save our dancing for later.

By the way, how did you capture the steam in your first photo? Amazing picture!

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Kait said...

My husband and I found ourselves and our marriage in the kitchen together. The more I let him in to "my zone" of cooking, the more I let him in to my heart. We cook together now, dancing around one another and laughing and smiling and creating beautiful meals for our daughters.

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

Cooking with someone has been a way to love from the start as I cooked along with my Mom. Then along with talented home cooks in France I have the luck to be friends with... then with my husband and my own children. I cook most often by myself, but the dance is a pleasure when I have a good friend or family member cooking with me.

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Growing up nobody cooked in my house. I grew up with Chef Boyardee, Tv dinners and my dad's attempt at cooking we affectionally call "hashblacks" and eggs. I am self taught (practice makes perfect) but kind of boring cook. I cook by myself as a way to show my love to my husband and son, so I do cook with someone I love..myself! I would love to expand what I cook.


At 5:31 PM, Blogger Christa said...

I am definitely the cook in our family, although my husband can make a great hand-made milkshake! My husband helps me cook on occasion, and when he does, it's an enjoyable adventure. We'll see a great episode of a Rick Bayless show, or Test Kitchen, and we'll set out to experience the recipe for ourselves. We've discovered excellent potato soup, sweet treats (in my pre-allergy days) and most recently, a great way to cook a roast. When my husband is in the kitchen, he always has great ideas about how to make a recipe taste just right.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Laura said...

I am getting married this Saturday!! I knew my fiance, Aaron was the one for me when he LOVED my food! He is so appreciative of everything I make and is just amazed when I put together a delicious meal or whip up a batch of brownies. A few months after we had been dating he asked me to help him learn how to cook, so I told him to find a recipe that sounded good to him and we would make it together. We made talipia fish tacos together and I think it is still one of my favorite meal memories! It was so fun and of course the kisses in between chopping and sauteing weren't too bad either! :) Our goal is to try and cook together at least once per week after we are married and I can not wait! Thanks for your blog! I read it every week. I stumbled upon it because I am a Registered Dietitian and I work with a lot of patients who have celiac disease. I was so inspired by your story and your book that I started a celiac support group in our community and it has been so well attended! Thank you for all you do!

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Just Me said...

I do not cook with my husband. He eats, does the dishes and mans the grill. I cook with our 5 year old. When he was 3 I would make guacamole like my mother learned to make. He would help me chop up the vegetables with a hand chopper (hence the family name whack-a-molee) Each vegetable would be chopped and he would say, I won't eat that (onions, celery, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, garlic, cilantro). Magically when it was mixed together he couldn't get enough.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Elisabeth said...

In alot of ways my husband and I's relationship is built on food. It started the day we met when we both brought desserts to the same party and started talking about our baking habits...

Now, two years later we spend our spare time planing our dream kitchen and throwing dinner parties where we cook experimental dishes for our friends that we hope to serve guests in our dream restaurant.

When he has a rough day at work, I cook for him. When I'm dealing with pregnancy cravings and morning sickness, he cooks for me. Food, for us, is a beautiful way to comfort each other and show our love.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I courted my boyfriend by making him meals out of my tiny apartment during college. And then he cooked for me and I knew he was a keeper...chicken and andouille sausage with homemade bread--it was love at first bite. Since then, we are always together in the kitchen building upon each others dishes and expressing our love for each other through our cooking.

At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Julia Sarver said...

I must get this book - love the idea! And I know Kimberly and Vitaley Paley - they are hilarious together. They end every sentence with "my love", as in, "Pass the salt, my love", and "Out of my way! My love." So funny to be with them.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Linda said...

When I first met my now French husband he was living in the States. I was cooking my first meal for him and made a salad and said, "Do you want French dressing on that?" And he said, "What's that?" I brought out the bottle of that orange stuff and he said, "Why don't you let me make the dressing?" And I had my first taste of vinagarette made in the bowl, topped with the salad and then mixed. It started there and I learned so much. I am now trying French recipes all of the time. There's a reason why French cooking is so famous.

At 11:38 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

our lives are based around growing food and encouraging others to grow their food. At the end of the day we still want to cook together. One of us may wander in and out while we baby wrangle, but we are there and we collaborate. i suggest one cheese and see a wrinkled face; maybe something different? I could use some breakfast encouragement though. It's the one meal I always leave up to him and when it's me up first I make your waffle recipe with oats. mmm.. And we are getting married in 2 weeks!

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Erica said...

The first time my fiancé and I really cooked together was our first Valentines day together. Before it was take out and warmed up pizza. He gave me two choice of recipes. It was strawberry and avocado salad with balsamic vinegar dressing. I think there was some sort of pasta involved, but strawberry and avocado is all I remember. He never cooked with anybody else before. Of course...I start criticizing. That's not how you hold a knife. You are dropping things on the floor. You are putting too much salt.. blah blah Then he started bossing me around! Ridiculous... Well, I got so angry, I just marched upstairs to my room. I couldn't stand to be near him in the kitchen. He was such a kitchen nazi! I started questioning our whole relationship, I can't be with somebody who bosses me around and wouldn't take constructive criticism! Stupid Valentines day... I must have sulked for a good hour. He was cooking away himself, then he came to my room. He apologized: "I'm sorry, I'm just nervous. It's hard for me to work together with somebody who counts. Help me learn. I want to cook and live with you forever" We've been together 6 years.

At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I cook like a pair of hands, cooking, chopping, prepping as necessary. When I was a girl, my dad worked the grill and I worked the range and the prep. My mother taught me how to make fresh pasta with an ancient pasta roller, feeding floured sheets into my waiting toddler hands. My grandmother hugged me all through the kitchen while she made country green beans and creamy mashed potatoes by hand, the comfort food of my life.

All different, all full of love.


At 5:47 AM, Anonymous Dana Ostomel said...

love your blog and encouraging couples to cook together. really beautiful photos too. for our story...we've got a great rhythm going on in our house when it comes to the kitchen on regular days. i cook up a storm and he cleans it up. it's perfect. but for special moments my husband came up with the idea of us cooking together. he's the one who introduced me to the green market and is really into food, he just doesn't feel as comfortable cooking all the time, so it is a great activity for us. our biggest 'cook-in' night is on new years eve. we stay home just the two of us and cook up a storm. then we picnic in front of the tv to watch the ball drop. a great meal, and great company with no need to go out on nye. love it!

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Sacha said...

I have a long-lived love of cooking. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and my grandmother. My boyfriend, on the other hand, did not. He loves to eat, but when we met cooking was not part of skill-set. Over the last three years we have spent hours and hours together in the kitchen, where I taught him how to make my classics, picking up some new favourites along the way. One of my most memorable meals is the first one he made for me by himself. I had to exercise some major restraint not to help him in his (highly ambitious) dinner preparations. The end result was delicious. Since then, he has just gotten better and better!

However, if I win this cookbook, I will be giving it to friends of ours that we have grown close with over countless Friday night dinners. They are getting married in July and Karina (the bride) is always asking for new recipes from me!

At 8:25 AM, Blogger caroline said...

My partner was raised in a culture where women learn to cook solely for the purpose of pleasing their future husbands. As such, she has been wholly resistant to the notion of cooking, even now that she knows e a husband will never be in the picture. While I'm envious of couples that cook together, it's nice having the kitchen to myself and having near-total control over the foods we eat at home. My partner views my cooking in awed wonder, as if it's some sort of magical feat, which I certainly don't mind either.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Jen said...

I'm still searching for a partner in life and the kitchen... it's ongoing at the moment. Shauna, your story with the Chef keeps me inspired on that!

But the person I loved to cook with in the kitchen was my grandma. She could bake anything or cook any dish (part of that was probably practice with raising 7 kids and all) that she put her mind to. I learned from her that your only limitation in the kitchen is yourself and I would watch her put things into the bowl without measuring (measuring cups are used for big quantities only, spices are done by gut and taste!). There are tastes that represent her and memories from growing up where it would just be Grandma and I in the kitchen.

She passed away last June after a long illness, but I wanted more time with her and to learn more of her recipes. The day she passed away, my father (her son) commented that he was thankful that I had gotten my cooking skills from my grandma rather than my mom (who agreed ;)). It was then that I realized that she was always going to be with me in the kitchen no matter what I did.
I got her sense of adventure and confidence in the kitchen, but unfortunately the recipe box has gone missing.

So, the new adventure began of trying to figure out what was in those signature dishes of hers and I'm getting close on her soda bread (and then the task is to make it gluten-free for my mom, who is the reason that I found the adventure in food that is Gluten-free Girl!)

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Kathy M said...

I have been kitchen adverse for most of my life and within the last six years have begun learning the art of cooking. I love veggies and fruit and have planted wonderful veggie and flower gardens and a small orchard on our property. With all the fresh inspiration, I decided to learn cook with all my bounty. In the process I've enjoyed spreading the joy with my husband who preps and eats, our daughter who helps by eating everything that is yummy and completely avoiding anything that's too tasty, and our nice and nephew who always want to try a new recipe.

Thank you for your courage, blog and inspiration!


At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Valerie @ City|Life|Eats said...

I loved this post -my husband and I spend a lot of time laughing in the kitchen. When it became clear I was gluten intolerant in addition to dairy-intolerant, he helped me deglutinize the kitchen, reads ingredients on everything along my side. I always feel safe eating something he chooses or makes, because he knows my dietary needs as well as I do. We cook together and take breaks to hug in the kitchen. It's wonderful.

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Allyson said...

For our first date, I went over to my (now) husband's house and made homemade egg rolls and teriyaki chicken. (I think that's when he fell in love with me.) We spent a couple of hours in the kitchen together preparing all of the ingredients for the egg roll filling and the marinade for the chicken. He had horrible, dull knives but there was something so sexy about standing side by side, arms brushing against each other, chopping carrots. We didn't eat dinner until after 10 PM but it was fantastic!
For our next date, which just happened to fall on Valentine's Day, he made dinner for me...sliced avocadoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, sauteed shrimp, lobster, green salad, and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.
I love that "our story" started in the kitchen and that we still love cooking together 4 years later :)

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm a third year at the Museum School in Boston; my boyfriend, a working artist, lives in New York. I stay with my friend's parents rent-free, so I cook for them once a week as my way of saying thank you. Afterwards, I call him, recounting the trials of the evening, wishing he was there to help me out - and share the meal. The last time he visited was the first alone time we've had in a year; I made him promise we would cook every meal our selves - and we did. He is my home, and the kitchen is ours.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous April said...

We just had an autism benefit at the end of April. I love to entertain while my husband always says that he's just the help- putting things where they belong, doing what he's told, etc. While that may be true to a certain extent, since we did our own food for the benefit, he helped immensely- chopping, stirring, boiling water and taking care of the pasta while I was doing the same things, except for the pasta. That was solely his job. We have some of our most wonderful conversations in the kitchen while we're cooking/preparing meals b/c our sons are playing or just know that we're talking and need that time together. We were so thankful, humbled, and stressed with everything for the benefit, that it felt like we were dating after 12 years of marriage. I realized how much time and attention had been taken from my best friend (and our boys)with everything that had been going on. We do a lot of things together, but being in the kitchen is one of my favorite. And the time spent in the kitchen together getting ready for something we're so passionate about was priceless.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Erika J said...

I have a story to tell, not necessarily because I want this cook-book but because I was too touched by this story not to share it (although I wouldn't turn down the cookbook;)). I am 21 years old and about a year and a half ago I landed in the hospital for three days due to the fact that my body broke out in hives everywhere (and I mean everywhere) and the doctors suspected autoimmune diseases to be the culprit. After I was released from the hospital I underwent countless medical test by many different specialists. My parents were serious on finding out what hospitalized me for those three days. After seeing lung specialists, allergy specialists, countless family doctors, and naturopaths we found out that I have celiac disease, I can't eat diary or any diary proteins (including casein found in many dairy substitutes), and I am allergic to corn (including corn syrup, corn starch, dextrin, maltodextrin, xanthum gum and many others).
Upon finding out that my life had drastically changed my then-boyfriend of three years couldn't handle my new life-style and we ended up parting ways. After being single for about a year, I have found someone new, someone amazing. He has been so great about my numerous food allergies. He has never made it seem like my allergies are in any way in inconvenience. He has taken it upon himself to find recipes of foods that I crave and make them for me. One day I was craving lasagna and mentioned that only in passing to him. The next week he had me over for dinner and he had found a gluten-free, dairy-free, and corn-free recipe for lasagna, and he had cooked it for me. It was delicious. He had gone online and researched every ingredient to make sure I could eat it. I almost cried when I ate it, not because it was delicious (although it was), but because I was so touched by this act of love that he had done just for me. He is now always on the lookout for snacks that I can eat and is constantly surprising me with small things. He is also looking for a second summer job during his last years of university and has applied for a waiter position at a gluten-free restaurant, so that he can learn how to cook better for me.
As two students we don't always have a lot of time to cook together, but when we do we always have so much fund and I always know that I am safe eating foods around him, because he is just as hyper-vigilant about my allergies as I am.
It has been such a wonderful experience to have a man in my life that not only understands and accepts my allergies, but also embraces them and makes me feel normal despite them.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous The White Rabbit said...

I was the cook when I met my husband; but soon after we moved in together it was pretty obvious that he was more interested in cooking and better at it than me. So much so he did a commercial cookery course. He didn't end up working in a kitchen but I get the benefit everyday. Mostly I watch and assist when he cooks; and steal bits. Until a few weeks ago I had one thing that only I did in the kitchen; making jam. But being heavily pregnant he didn't want me standing in front of a massive pan of boiling fruit and sugar so he made it - and it was near perfect the first time. Yes, he had someone to guide him through it where I'd learnt on my own but it was a little annoying.

But we've been married for some time now...but I know some newlyweds who would love this book. We introduced them. At first he couldn't cook at all, lived on takeaways. My husband started to teach him when we went around to cook dinner for the three of us. Then after we introduced the happy couple he wanted to cook for her. My husband went around and helped him make a simple but lovely bolognese. I don't think that dish sealed it but their, and mostly his, interest in cooking rapidly increased. Now they are the foodie couple who know where to get the best duck rilettes and best smoked meats in the city. Dinner at their place is always interesting and I don't think we've ever had the same thing twice. They married in November and I'm sure they are making great use of the various kitchen items they got for their wedding.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I have yet to find someone other than my father that I can cook with :( My ex and I cooked separate meals each night, since we ate completely different food from each other (me - fresh, local, in-season ingredients, him - steak and potatoes). My last boyfriend and I had a deal, I cooked and he did all of the cleanup. My dad and I however, love to cook together. I have memories from my teenage years of working together on individual baked alaskas for 20, putting together elaborate menus for dinner parties and holidays, and just making our weeknight dinners together. We still cook well together, although not nearly as often as we did when I was younger and still living with my parents.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Christina said...

I have a wonderful time cooking with my 13 year old son. He loves to look through cookbooks and pick out a whole menu. We have fun shopping together. He even enjoys setting the table in a welcoming way. It is a joy.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Chef Fresco said...

I love this post :) Michael and I cook together all the time - it's our 'thing'. Some people have favorite shows they watch together, some like to just hang-out with others and chat, but we love to be in the kitchen. Constantly challenging ourselves with new recipes. I feel lucky to have that really, a lot of my friends cook dinner alone. Anyways, all of these pics look amazing, especially the onion rings!

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Andrea said...

I absolutely love to cook, and love experimenting with new recipes and new ingredients. My boyfriend of two years, on the other hand, is the pickiest eater I have ever met. We often make dinner together, but because he "knows what he likes," we have not ventured very far into the culinary realm as a couple. Our favorite dish is fancy quesadillas- made on the stovetop- stuffed with chicken, cheese, green onion, and a generous portion of sour cream on the side.

However much I love quesadillas... I would love to convince him that there are other delicious foods out there in the world- help me out with this adorable cookbook?

Your blog is so wonderful! I love how you write about food and cooking as if it is such a big part of your love story. Adorable!

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Patricia said...

This post brought instant tears to my eyes. Joyful, thankful tears prompted by the incredibly warm & fuzzy feeling I get when I think about my boyfriend coming up with a recipe for gluten-free strawberry rhubarb pancakes just for me. He's so proud of them, and they're sooo delicious. We even took pictures of them. He says the kitchen is "my domain" (I'm a culinary school graduate,) but I love watching him and working beside him when we're in there together. It's the same when he's trying to teach me about playing guitar or computer animation, his areas of expertise. Making a nourishing meal and then enjoying it together is one of the few things that make me feel truly and completely humble and so very grateful for my gorgeous life and the man with whom I share it. I enjoy your blog so much. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to it!

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Nothing More, Nothing Less... said...

Interesting thing about my kitchen. I take it wherever I go. My husband is an over the road truck driver. He is actually the one that figured out that I had gluten issues. He heard an interview of a famous person with Gluten allergies on Sirius Radio and told me it was like they were interviewing me. Needless to say, he has been extremely supportive in my changing the kitchen to a totally gluten free environment (with the exception of his supply of gluten filled saltines and granola bars). My husband was, and still is, a farm boy. He raises grass fed beef for me, and picks garden fresh produce from our garden. When he is home, he helps me prepare meals and many nights has supper already prepared and ready when I arrive home at night. Now back to the kitchen on the road story. At Christmas, I went with him in the semi for a cross country trip from Indiana to Arizona. Traveling gluten free can be a challenge anyway so you can imagine what a challenge it can be traveling in a semi. Truck stops aren't exactly conducive to the glutenly challenged. However, it is easy to turn a semi into a GF kitchen with a crock pot,a cooler and an electric tea kettle. Needless to say, we prepared simple meals together on the road. I told my husband that we need to take all of our vacations in the semi from now on! Where else can one cook and drive at the same time? I sure couldn't do that in the car.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Tori Scullion said...

Wow...this post really stuck with me, because my fionse and I are glued together with food. He has a deep profound love of food as do I so, we understand each other on this primal level. It's a passion that is a connection we share that is very strong. His mom is a foodie, and once owned a catering business, and now likes baking more than cooking, but boy she can cook.

I love to see his eyes light up when I come home with a Thai Green Curry with shrimp recipe, or when I tell him I'm making my famous Curry Pesto Chicken dish.

There's almost a dance that happens, between our psyches, and our souls that is a love of food, that we share, and that will never be broken.

That said, we don't see each other much these days...sadly, he's working two jobs to keep us afloat. So in the morning, and late evenings and weekends are it. I cook solo much of the time, and honestly, for awhile, I really liked it, but now, not having his face light up when I get the pans out and ask him to chop garlic is hard on me , and on both of us.

But that just makes us work harder at making the time we have as precious as possible.

Usually, we put on a laugh till ya cry comedy, such as Bad Santa, or Austin Powers, and open a bottle of wine, chat, snuggle, and kiss (gotta catch up from the week!), and turn it into an event. We set the table, with the candles, and stemwear, even if I'm cooking burgers!

I always know I can say anything like "I can taste currants, galangal, and fish sauce in this dish" and he will smile and say "ME TOO!"...and then I know a long conversation will ensue about where fish sauce comes from, or what cooking show I just watched that talked about the many uses of galangal.

I've found my best friend...

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Germaine Family said...

Ever since I found out I had extreme allergies to gluten I have had to completely re-think my diet. Teaching my 2-4 year old what "allergies" even mean was a challenge. But I found that bringing them into the mix and letting them into the kitchen has been a tremendous help. My kids love cooking and it is something I have grown to love too. It would be wonderful if I could get this book so I could finally convince my husband to join us in all the fun.

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Maegan said...

When I met my husband to be he was subsisting on a typical college age bachelor's diet of McDonald's, pizza from a box, etc. He was well known for eating beef stew straight out of the can during class. When our respective groups of friends began to coalesce, I cooked for him for the first time without taking any notice of it. I think my roommate and I made soup and bread, because how else would two practical, broke, and health conscious girls feed a crowd?

A tradition between my roommate and I was tea in the evenings. As my husband kept showing up at these very enjoyable gatherings I remember making him tea with milk, sugar, and ice cubes because he'd not been accustomed to drinking something so scaldingly hot.

Well, it was meant to be because all it really took for us was spending time in the same vicinity. We went on our first date in the fall and were married the following summer.

I've been happily cooking for him and our boys for a few years now. It always kind of gets me when I ask me why he loves me and he replies that I'm such a good cook and so concerned with our family's well being. I sometimes wish it was something more glamorous but I do love the fact that I truly enjoy something that I have to do all the time anyway.

To make a long and happy story short, he's working full time and going to grad school full tim as well right now. We don't get out without the kids as much as we'd like. His solution to this has been to ask me to put on some tea at about the same time every night so we can talk. No matter how much studying he has to do or how long a day it's been for us, he always asks. And now he can handle it without ice cubes:).

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

Sigh. Thank goodness my husband and I spent the other night cooking together--a first in a while after many weeks of busy nights and quickly made food in the kitchen--so that I had a warm and fuzzy story to share with you.

Stepping up to the counter with a bowl of fava beans may have to be a required task for all married couples. It forces time to slow, and rich conversation to fill the moments between shelling and slipping soft, emerald green jewels from their shell. Dinner was simple--sockeye salmon with fava beans, brown butter and mint--but the meal itself was healing. Nothing mattered but us, the ingredients, and the time we had together.

Thanks for reminding me how important it is to get in the kitchen and cook with one's love!

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cooking together is something that my father and I have always done. I'm sure a lot of girls learn culinary skills at their mother's elbow, but my own mother hates to cook (don't worry, I learned other skills from her!).

My father has always loved cooking, and I learned to love it by watching him. We spend a lot of time together planning and executing meals for our extended family, whose motto is "Food is Love." The week before my wedding we took a grilling class together at the Copia Center in Napa. Later that year we collaborated on a completely grilled Thanksgiving dinner.

I've done my best to turn him on to Thai curry (he is curry-phobic after an Indian curry incident in college), and at the moment I am trying to get him to taste quinoa. He has taught me how to make pesto, glaze carrots and create a roux. The food we make is usually delicious, but even better is being able to share the time with him!

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous jessica said...

i went to visit my oma right before she passed away a few years ago, and one day she gathered up her strength, led my sister and i to the kitchen and proceeded to teach us how to make our most favorite german dish, kartoffel suppe and dumpff nudle (potato soup and this special kind of roll). growing up, we asked her to make it for us every single time we visited, and she wanted to make sure we knew how to make it, to carry on the tradition. every time i make it i think of that day, her guiding us through the steps, sweetly pushing us to "do it the way oma showed you". she could only eat a few spoonfuls but i remember the pride in her eyes when she proclaimed it to be "just right". she passed away a few days later and i am so glad i have that memory and recipe to remember her by.

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous terri said...

as my husband always says, "you like to cook, i like to eat, so we're perfect for each other!"

seriously, though, although cooking is not his favorite thing to do, he's dubbed himself the "prep-chef"--and what an amazing one he is! for example, his favorite dessert is apple pie, and he can peel and core an apple faster than most people can with those fancy gadgets.

and he does dishes--who could ask for anything more from a partner in the kitchen? :)

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

who do i love? i love my grammy. it's mothers' day on sunday, so i can talk about her (i love my mom a whole bunch too, but today i want to talk about grammy). she passed away suddenly on palm sunday, 2008, and i have missed her so much. she was 85, and hated being a widow, and had a good life. but still, i missed her. later that summer, i was standing in my kitchen, cooking chicken soup with mustard greens. i had an automatic reflex to pick up the phone and call grammy and tell her about it--she grew up during the depression, she would have eated mustard greens at some point, right? and then i remembered i couldn't just call her. i thought of her instead--and smiled. she would have loved to hear me talk about mustard greens.

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous less kitchen stuff - easier cooking said...

I just found your blog. My husband is a Pakistani Punjabi immigrant. His family, through good times and bad, always made sure they had quality food. They were uber-picky about it. Now my husband and I have both been married before and our experiences with food and our spouses were two entirely different things. My husband's experience - his bride didn't like Punjabi food. My experience - I didn't cook and didn't like what my husband cooked. I wanted my new boyfriend to feel welcome and accepted and I invited him to cook Pakistani food for my daughter and I. We laughed at our pathetic attempts to make roti. Most of them were ashy disks of something that once was flour and water. Eventually, my would-be husband made some kima for us. That's ground beef with potatoes and peas, cooked with spices. We loved it. He almost cried. Food is so important to him. I think that's when we knew were going to marry. :)

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Kathryn said...

My sister and I once made duck ala orange when we were both in Carbondale, IL. My brother-in-law and I were both attending Southern Illinois University while Jane was temporarily at home with my niece. I remember working in the kitchen with her, and, I equally remember how tired we felt afterwards - almost too tired to enjoy the meal. We had attempted something way beyond our skills. I was 19 or 20 and she was 22 or 23. Silly us.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Ann said...

My husband and I enjoy cooking and eating together, but it took on a new level of importance when, less than two years into our marriage, we spent a year volunteering in Yaounde, Cameroon. (I wrote a comment from there when Lucy was born!) For our first few months there, we knew few people, struggled with French, and heard dire warnings from other expats not to go out after the sun set, which happened at about 6:30 each evening. So after work, we went home and cooked.

We tried to figure out what we could eat in this unfamiliar place, how and where to buy ingredients. We pored over the stained and mouse-eaten cookbooks at our borrowed house. We enjoyed new things, like fresh papaya for breakfast with home made yogurt, and familiar ones, like chicken with rice. (I never before knew my husband could deftly take apart a whole chicken, a skill he gained from a high school job at a butcher shop.) We learned the French words for everything, tried to bake in the tiny gas oven with all the numbers and markings scrubbed off the dials.

For those first few challenging months in Africa, cooking and eating together was both our entertainment and our solace on most evenings. Back in the US now, our enjoyment of these simple pleasures remains, though it's more of a rare treat in our busy urban life. Nearly five years married now, we still kinda feel like newlyweds in the kitchen.

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Kristina said...

My husband and I met as Peace Corps volunteers. Early on during when we were dating, I made mozzarella sticks- no small feat in a Nicaraguan kitchen! I happily told him all about it, and we made a date to make them together the following week.

No idea what I did differently, but it totally didn't work. However, we had a great time and have enjoyed cooking and baking together ever since!

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Lauren said...

Well, I don't have (and haven't yet) had anyone in that sense to cook with, but cooking with my parents, my brother, or my friends is always a joy.

My mom has this way about her when she cooks. She manages to use as little dishes as possible (I use the most), and she always know what she's doing and where she is in the process. The kitchen is also always clean when she's done. It takes me much longer for it to be clean :). When mom and I cook together, we talk. About our days, about our frustrations. The kitchen has always been one of those release places whenever there are troubles or excitement. I'm positive that it's because of her that I have always felt so comfortable there. So mom, although I doubt you'll ever read this, thank you for letting me help in the kitchen when I was little, and encouraging me to help through the years. It's meant more than you know. Thank you mom, and I love you. I hope that tomorrow is relaxing :).

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Angela said...

I must admit, my allocations towards the way my boyfriend eats is..well, lets just say I condone his eating habits. He grew up in the Midwest and was always a picky eater. When he first moved out here, I couldn't even get him to touch a vegetable with his fork, as if it would taint the rest of his food if he were to plunge that 'veggie-ridden' fork into his mashed taters. But I still had hope.

Almost everyday I would cook in our small, humble kitchen, in the hopes Danny would be enticed by the delicious smells. To my avail when I would ask him if he wanted any, he would simply reply, "I'll just have some hotdogs, frozen pizza, mcdonalds [you get the gist]." If ONLY i could get him INTO the kitchen, so he can see where the magic happens. That this delicious AND nutritious food I was cooking could not only open him up to new things, but would also make him feel so much better, as compared to the processed food he had grew up on.

Finally, Danny asked to help me. I was beyond excited and jumped at the chance of him cleaning a chicken [;)]. Because I didn't want to take things too far (as he is a 'meat and potato' kinda guy), I took it easy and suggested we make roast chicken with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and chile corn. He was uneasy about the chile corn, but I assured him that the flavors would meld well with the lime we were to put on the chicken. He stayed a skeptic throughout the cooking process, but helped very tenderly and tasted everything, giving me the feedback of "more salt, creamier, choppier corn."

Danny LOVED the meal, and asked for us to make it again. I was so pleased that he was finally opening up and embracing my love for food and cooking. Now, HE loves to cook and we help each other in the kitchen often. Its a lovely feeling when you can share your passions with your loved one. I can't thank him enough for putting his [bad :)] habits aside and coming to help me in the kitchen. I can say with assurance that his life, albeit 25 years later, has been transformed, in that he has found true loves for life: food, cooking and myself

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Angela said...

on a side note..I was wondering if there was any way I could get the recipe to the egg bake you made in this post. It looked absolutely delicious and I love artichokes to no end.
Thanks :)

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Engineer Baker said...

Oh my, you don't want to know how long it took before I was willing to have the fiance in the kitchen with me... But once I finally did - what's my favorite experience with him? No matter how corny it sounds, all of them :) But especially - making potstickers, me filling and him hemming and hawing that he wasn't pleating them correctly. Ravioli, me rolling and him filling and sealing them. Heck, salad, me washing and tearing and chopping and him whisking whisking at the vinaigrette. Everything.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The first few days home from our honeymoon, Nick and I ate a lot of take out. Mostly pizza, since he was a delivery driver for Pizza Hut at the time. Around the fourth day home, I decided that it was high time to impress my husband with my "amazing" cooking skills (which I had not had time to hone for well over a year, since I had been living with family while we were engaged), and I set out to whip up a feast. Honey BBQ pork chops, mashed potatoes seasoned with chives and sour cream and garlic, and home made lemonaid. The problems started with the lemonaid - none of the grocery stores in town had fresh lemons in March (we lived in Montana at the time). Then I realized that I didn't own a potato peeler, so I had to substitute dehydrated potatoes. The pork chops went together perfectly, and I stuffed them in the oven, and turned my attention to the potatoes. Unfortunatley, having never used dehydrated potatoes before, I kept having to adjust the amounts of milk, water, and flakes, and ended up with enough mashed potatoes to feed a small army! About the time I got the mixture right, Nick came home and the first words out of his mouth was an alarmed inquirey into the source of the burning smell. Horrified, I yanked open the oven and discovered that I had burnt all of our pork chops to little black crisps! I burst into tears, and poor Nick did his best to comfort me. We had nothing else to eat in the house, so we ended up eating everything, but it was definitely not the first meal I had hoped for. We laugh about that now, while enjoying my tender, juicy pork chops with gooy, cheesy mashed potatoes! :)

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Lyrically speaking said...

Those pictures are amazing, I would love to meet a man who can share my love of cooking in the kitchen, I'm there most of the day creating a dish or eating (sigh)

At 6:14 PM, Blogger lbmann said...

I am six years into a wonderful, loving partnership - - and I still vividly recall the first time we cooked together. We had known each other for just a few weeks, but were both smitten. It was early August, and I made a pan-fried fish, with fresh cherry tomatoes and greek olives. And some kind of salad with match-stick carrots and jicama. He asked for specific instructions and seemed stunned when I reassured him that the carrots could really be any shape he wanted. There is no wrong way to cut a carrot, I said.
When we ate our dinner, it WAS the single best meal I had eaten in my life. I was stunned by each bite- - the perfect smooth flakiness of the fish, the sweet tomato, the saltiness of the olives. How is it that I can fall in love like this AND cook the most perfect meal on the planet, I wondered?
Later I learned that being in love changes our body's physiology, and can literally change our perception of the world - - including taste!

At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Ruth McKenna said...

Finally, I have found a man who loves to cook and eat almost as much as I do. Our second date began with rock climbing and ended with him cooking me dinner. That was a first in a long line of firsts! Sometimes we cook together, usually we cook for each other while the 'other' sits down with the paper or a glass of wine and that is the most wonderful gift - to be cooked for, with such love! We are moving in together in a few weeks, into a beautiful house with the TINIEST kitchen! I'm not sure how we'll manage, but I guess our dance in the kitchen will just have to get a bit more intimate!

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Leslie said...

We bought a new stove about 4 years ago and even today, he still doesn't know how to operate anything on it. That's ok, because I get to have it all to myself! I can't wait for the day when my daughter can start cooking with me.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Lorna's book looks fantastic! I loved your bit about the importance of a "kiss while waiting for the water to boil." My husband and I have a lot of fun in our small kitchen together, when we are in there together. I'll admit to spending much more time in there by myself. I'll see what I can do to shift that a bit. Making jam and pies together are two of our favorite things--both excellent 2-person projects (w/ plenty of time between steps for kisses).

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Shuku said...

Currently in my kitchen (well, I use it more than my housemate, whom I'm renting a room from, but the kitchen's still my domain more since she doesn't cook and I do) I have barely enough room to swing a cat, let alone have another person in it! I never wanted to learn how to cook, honestly. I was one of those Supremely Liberated Girls who thought everything domestic was a sign of how much men had chained us to a life of house drudgery. And then I grew up, went to university, and something happened when I got my first apartment. I started to cook, to experiment. Probably a good thing, since after discovering my gluten intolerance I HAD to cook!

But my favourite memories of cooking, funnily enough, centre around my grandmother and my aunts when I was very young. My aunts, who used to live with me and my family, were home economics majors and they would bake constantly for their school projects. They would also include me in all the pastry rolling and sardine-roll filling. The first time they handed me eggs and told me to crack them, I was around five years old. I cracked them all right - shell and all, squish, right into the bowl! We spent an afternoon picking shells out after, and some of the sardine rolls were a bit crunchy, but hey, extra calcium! My grandmother was a fantastic cook but after she got arthritis, she seldom cooked much. There were occasions when she'd make kaya, a Malaysian home-made jam with coconut milk, eggs and sugar caramelised over the stove and I'd sit with her and help her beat the eggs and sugar. It was workout, let me tell you! 12 eggs and heavens knows how much sugar, her directions were always infuriatingly vague, but the stuff always came out PERFECT.

And now? I teach my mother to cook things when I'm home and she gets curious, and we share recipes :)

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Lori said...

Working together in the kitchen serves as a barometer on the health of our marriage. Married long enough to know even the best marriages have their ups and downs, we now know we need to keep an eye on that barometer. And, no matter what the barometer reads today, its reading is always improved by a shared meal cooked together over a glass of wine. The same can and should be said for sharing the kitchen with our kids (excluding only the part about the wine).


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