Over the top “Foodie” Recipes are SO 2010…

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I’m over Epicurious. There I said it. I am so tired of looking up a recipe for something simple, only to realize I would need to go spend $30 at the store to make it. Super fancy pants recipes are great if you are one of the following:

  • independently wealthy
  • bored
  • trying to impress food snobs
  • Hipster

For the rest of us, it doesn’t make sense. I can’t afford to buy obscure ingredients I’m only going to use once. Like the potato starch I went to 4 stores to find, that I never used again, and that went into a cake that no one ate because at this event I had a bunch of “I don’t like fruit desserts” jerks. (Not that I’m bitter or anything.) Nor do I have the time to go to the store every time I feel like cooking. I love the food that these recipes make, but unless I’m preparing something for a special occasion, my time is too precious to spend hours on a single meal.

So without Epicurious my choices are limited if I want to find recipes that don’t include condensed cream of mushroom soup. Because of this, I’ve been making up more of my own recipes, which as been really fun. Hopefully with my new snazzy iphone app that allows me to post on here really easily I can share some of them with you. Maybe my reward for studying all week will be to post a new recipe here. Ohhh, I like this idea….

How to Cut an Onion

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My first video is ages, here’s a quick one on how to cut an onion. This is how every chef and cook I’ve ever worked with cuts onions, and in my humble opinion, it’s the fastest and safest way. (I apologize in advance for my hands being partially out of the screen there for a minute, you gotta love DIY!)

xoxo,
Mel

P.S. This video goes out to Rob, the insanely funny and sadistic former boss of one of my best friends. (You know who you are, and I expect you to pull some strings to get me on the Food Network dammit.)

Busy Bee….

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So, if I were going to make an analogy regarding how I’ve been feeling since August, it would be this: I feel like one of those miniature marshmallows in hot chocolate. Fighting really hard to keep bobbing at the top, but you can see that they’re slowing dissolving into the big cup o’ chocolate they’re immersed in. As I said, I am the marshmallow and life is the hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is yummy and wonderful and great to be surrounded in. But, it’s kinda taking a whole lot out of me. I didn’t realize that working a full time job, falling madly in love and going to school (for the first time in 16 years) would be so time consuming!

I love The Hedonist Cook, and it is a creative outlet that makes me super happy and inspired. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a lot of time to work on it right now. And I feel so bummed and guilty and embarrassed that I get a little bit of a stomach ache every time I think about it. All of this came spilling out of me tonight while I ate (delicious) pumpkin pie with my Mom. And as usual, she gave me the best advice ever. Which was to sit down, suck it up and write what I’m writing.

My hope is that if I stop feeling so weird about the website all the time, maybe I’ll work on it when I stumble on free time. Or, maybe life will continue to get super great and busy and I won’t be able to post anything until I get a break in school. Who knows. The one thing I do know is that The Hedonist Cook is not dead or even in a coma. It’s taking a nap, or is on vacation. Something nice like that. And I still love emails and comments or suggestions. Really, feedback from ya’ll is one of the biggest things that inspires me. Love you more than homemade cheesecake, for reals.

xoxo,

Mel aka The Hedonist Cook

“I heard she’s only a cook…”

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This weekend I heard a comment that someone had made about me. It went, “I heard she’s only a cook. When I’m thirty I’m going to have a really successful job.” My first thought was “Oh the blissful ignorance of youth.” Actually, that’s total bullshit. The first thing I thought was an incredibly mean (but funny) prediction for their future that sounded very similar to the Against Me! song, Thrash Unreal. ”  But anyway, that’s not the point. The point is it got me thinking about my job. Which made me think about my day yesterday.

Last night I decided to make apple dumplings for Thomas, and a friend of his showed up with a girl I don’t really know. As soon as she walked in the kitchen she said, “Oh God, this smells like my Great Aunt’s kitchen. I love it!” It started a conversation where she told me about learning to cook from her Aunt and some of her favorite recipes. I learned more about this girl in the 15 minutes I puttered around the kitchen that I would have over a whole night at the bar.

Then, I got to hear how my friends Great Grandma would always make apple pie on special holidays. You could see by the smile on his face that he was enjoying that memory. It was the most personal comment I’ve heard him make about himself to date. It wasn’t much, but it was cool to see.

Finally it was time to eat, and it was damn good. The four of us sat outside on the porch, with the twinkly lights and the sound of crickets in the warm evening air. (I know it sounds really dorky, but the South in the spring really is like a movie.)

I didn’t change any lives last night, I’m aware of that. But because of the skills I’ve learned from my job as a cook, I was able to make food for people and get to know them a little better. Cook for someone and you do more than feed them. It’s a way to show a person you value them. That they’re worth taking time out of your day to prepare something for. And you open up the conversation for people to talk about food and the role it has played in their life.  An excuse to talk about a memory that would otherwise seem strange to bring up in casual conversation.

Being a cook is hard work, and you’re not exactly raking in the Benjamins. You sweat, get callouses, cut yourself, constantly burn yourself, get dirty and work your ass off. You can forget going to any party, concert or event that is happening on a Friday or Saturday night. I can only imagine how it looks to someone from the outside. I can see that to most people a job selling insurance or working in a cubicle sounds like a much better way to pay rent.

What an outsider doesn’t understand is the passion that goes into cooking. The creativity, fun, challenge and straight up joy you get when you prepare something kick ass for people. (And I’m not even mentioning the fun you have with the guys  you’re working the line with.) On top of that, you get to take those skills home and share them with your family and friends.

Each day I go to work I do something I love, I learn something new and I feel more confident and competent at my trade. Every day I get to be creative,  spontaneous and work with amazing people that improve the quality of my life.

I’m not sure what other people’s definition of success is, but as far as I’m concerned I feel pretty damn successful….

Organizing the dreaded spice rack….

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Great Tips on organizing your pesky Spice Rack, from DeliciousDays.com

I am in desperate need of a bigger spice rack. I just stood up and took this picture so you would believe me:

This is literally 1/4 of the total counter space in my tiny kitchen. (Yesterday my Dad told someone that I can bake anything, and I do it in a stove the size of an Easy Bake Oven. Ha!) So I was excited to find this article from my new favorite website, Delicious:Days. I’m not sure that this is the right plan for me, since I’m trying to get things off the counter, but it got me thinking. Also, I figured that perchance some of my lovely readers aren’t living in dollhouses and have the space to create this awesome spice rack/organizer thingy.

I’ll keep you updated on my SRS. (Spice Rack Saga.)

50-spice-tins-and-counting

Food Porn – Toffee Caramel Cheesecake

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Sweetest thing someone said to me all week:

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Recent quote about my cooking from a friend:

“Whenever I eat food you make I feel like I went out to dinner at a restaurant, but it’s free.”

Warms my damn heart…