Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No recipes yet, just a pan.

Hi, I’m Lauren. How do you start a blog? I can already tell that the hardest part about writing to empty space is the trepidation I feel in every word I type. If it’s like a letter, then dear who? Dear anyone? (Desperate!) Dear someone? (I don’t have anyone in mind!)

Let’s go with:

Dear friends,

Tonight I baked banana bread so mindlessly that I poured the melted butter into a bowl of cold ingredients and it seized into tiny butter pieces. It’s for reasons like this that I haven’t written before. I’ve been waiting to start writing about food until I had a nicer camera, better lighting, more experience, a kitchen of my own, but that’s a long way off, and that bread was still delicious. I am eight weeks from finishing graduate school, and dinner still has to happen here about sixty more times.

I moved here with two suitcases and no kitchen utensils for the year (I suppose that’s not much of a testament to my interest in food; my hope chest of kitchen-goods is in hibernation in my parents’ basement). Here is where blogs get tricky; I can’t talk about food without getting autobiographical, but how much do you get to know?

Let’s start with what I have:

One roasting pan, prone to warping.

That is all I bought because I live with three girls who have their own kitchen supplies (thank goodness (but: have you seen a refrigerator shared by four people who don’t share food?)). My kitchen experiences have almost uniformly been those of adaptation and simplicity. I had some good years of kitchen access in college, but when I lived in Russia, I didn’t have access to a refrigerator and created a makeshift one with plastic bags and a rope thrown out my window into the St. Petersburg January. (Here is my most developed recipe from that winter: one finger, one jar of Nutella. And I guess I should add that the two old women I lived with fed me, but more on them, and everyone, later.)

Every time I lose space and comfort in the kitchen, I return to the kitchen refrain of salt and roast.* Why boil or steam when you can get the crispy and caramelized glory of a high-heat oven? Show me a vegetable you can’t roast, and I’ll show you a vegetable I won’t eat…okay, I will, if it’s not a red onion.

My hope for these entries is that I will be able to cultivate the hobbies (namely, writing and cooking) that often lose when put up against the prospect of an afternoon nap. I will share with you cardamom bread, roasted tomatoes, and fruit crisps, but also the reassurance that no matter where you are, with some salt and a misshapen pan, you can make something good.

*This is like the part in movies where the title is unabashedly mentioned.

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