I grew up eating fried chicken. My dad may have made the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. Perhaps it wasn’t the best fried chicken on earth, but it’s best I’ve ever had and it was made in the largest, deepest cast iron skillet in the kitchen. (Someone in my family must have that pan?) So you know how we strain fat and refrigerate it (if we deep fry very often, which I don’t) for safety reasons? That never happened at my house. That fat went back into a (then) metal Crisco can and into the cupboard. Don’t try this now; Crisco cans are made of cardboard. Even bacon fat sat out. Mayonnaise, too. No joke. I don’t think we were ever ill either. Witness what Dave calls Alyce’s cast-iron stomach.
It just happens that a lenten Friday Fish and St. Patrick’s occur on the same day this year. This is no lie: if you live in Chicago (and several surrounding areas) and are Catholic, you have special dispensation from the archbishop to eat corned beef instead of fish:
Ours is a merciful God. Chicagoland Catholics may enjoy the traditional corned beef and cabbage this Friday, despite the church’s practice of avoiding meat on Fridays during Lent. Cardinal Blase Cupich, leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has granted a dispensation. So have the bishops of the Joliet, Rockford and Gary dioceses.
Despite the fact that I’m a vegetable-crazy person, I often forget to put up a post for Meatless Mondays. I nearly always eat vegetables with eggs or, more often with egg whites, (the dogs get the yolks) for breakfast…
Above: Sauté spinach a minute or two in a teaspoon or two olive oil in a small, nonstick skillet with a little red onion or shallot, crack egg whites only (2-3) evenly on top, season with salt and pepper, and cover, cooking until whites are opaque. Garnish with salsa.
…but rarely write a recipe or post as the meals seem so simple–like the egg white and spinach omelet above.
Here are a few I have written and posted:
I make it nearly a practice to not google or check a cookbook when I first dream up a new recipe. Sometimes the dish-thought has been perking around in my brain or heart for a while; other times it’s a new idea encouraged by time or need. (Say Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up, for instance; I’m probably thinking about Irish food and that will not be corned and cabbage, I can promise you. Or, it’s Lent, like now, and I’m fishing around for fish.) But afterward, when the recipe’s a PDF or the post is written, I sometimes will search for information on my meal and almost always for additional links to help my cook-readers. (Like where to buy native wild rice or another way to cook beans.)
It’s one of the biggest challenges and conundrums of my cooking, blogging, writing, and teaching life. Folks are so very interested in food, love to chat about it, are crazy about eating, and seem to know lots about ingredients and technique (Food Network and “Top Chef”, I guess). But somehow they often have an awesome amount of trouble getting into the kitchen and actually cooking. There are myriad reasons and I needn’t name them.