Enjoyed Explained

Thanksgiving 2008 Postmort

The leftovers are gone. The fullness has subsided. It’s time to document.

Thanksgiving 2008

For much of the last six years, cooking had become more an act of desperation than a usual course of action. A year of frequent but uncreative cooking in Ithaca gave way to five years of constant dining out while in Astoria. Our pots and pans sat lonely in our oven, doing very little.

But the situation has turned around once more, and I am cooking regularly. So much so that we’ve successfully appealed to both sets of parents that we wanted to spend holidays here, rather than making the standard trips to upstate NY and Maryland to split the holidays. (For reference: our previous two Thanksgivings spent in the city were 2003 – invited to two friends’ dinners – and 2007, which we ate at Eleven Madison Park.)

Katie and I spent much of the last week scrambling. After scouring our cookbooks and favorite websites, we had settled on preparing six dishes and three sauces. It is the largest meal we’ve ever cooked to date – and will probably only be topped by Thanksgiving next year. And, just to be clear: we’ve only been cooking in earnest for three months.

Enjoyed Reflected

Dan Can Cook

Cooking has always vexed me.

On one hand, I have low tolerance for the prep work, the shopping, the cleaning, the waiting, the unplanned multitasking, and the inevitable throwing away of parts unused. Worse, the occasions I have decided to cook, my instincts to be creative often lead to some utterly stupid meals. (Ask Katie about my attempts to be creative with Chicken Parm.) Result: almost all of my meals are takeout or delivery.

On the other hand, I love food. This certainly doesn’t hurt the desire to eat at restaurants, but it does always pain me that I can’t even seem to make much right at home.

Two weeks ago, I decided to make a run to the grocery store and pick up a few things so I could do something easy, but with a little bit of effort. End result: some excellent homemade croutons that topped a pretty decent chicken Caesar salad.
Inspired by [Serious Eats’ National Pork Day coverage]( – particularly [Meg’s comment about her favorite pork recipe]( – I decided to get cooking again this morning.

* I grabbed some nice fresh european bread, a cluster of vine tomatoes, a head of Boston lettuce, a small bottle of Hellman’s Mayo and a pack of hardwood smoked bacon.
* I baked the bacon after seasoning it a little with some sea salt and cracked pepper. I have learned my lesson that trying to cook a lot of bacon in a skillet is both a time sink and a recipe for grease burns. It still came out the right level of chewy that a sandwich such as this requires.
* I ripped off two leaves of lettuce per sandwich, and sliced the tomatoes into four thin slices. I do not believe in shredded lettuce for sandwiches.
* The bread was toasted so that it just barely browned – leaving the insides chewy but the outside firm enough to hold up the sandwich.
* Mayo was blended with this lovely fried garlic olive oil we’ve had kicking around in about a 3:1 ratio to form a makeshift garlic aioli.

And when it was all assembled, it all clicked.

I Make A Kick-Ass BLT

Yes, cooking a BLT is not the most exciting thing in the world – but I defy you to look at that picture and not get hungry.

Food is even more delicious when you make it yourself. Be good to yourself – cook something. If I can do it, you sure as hell can.