Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wisdom and Brownies

Full disclosure: I'm a really shitty baker. Both of my brothers are incredible bakers, and I'm the one who burns everything, makes cakes that collapse, always get too impatient waiting for cakes to cool before get the gist. Let's just say I'm no stranger to the "stop by the bakery, buy goodies, put them on a plate and cover them in Saran Wrap like they came from your kitchen!" move.

Then I found the blog Eat My Shortbread. While the author, Mika, appears to actually have talent, all of her recipes seemed pretty fail-safe. I've only made one recipe so far, and I didn't fuck it up, so it gets commemorated in a kitchen-illustration!

I guess seeing it written out in four steps like this makes me feel slightly less accomplished for succeeding in baking them, but whatever. They weren't rock hard or raw in the middle, so they are better than any other batch of brownies I've ever made. The success of this batch kind of took the wind out of my "no, really, I think we just have a bad oven" sails, though. 

All self-deprecation aside, I am actually making some culinary strides. Last night I made fresh scallops in a brown butter sauce, which sounds much more impressive than it really is, but just give it to me. I've been making a concerted effort to cook more, eat out less. It's very responsible, sure, but it also kind of sucks sometimes. Chicago is a great food city (I'll be bold and say The Best),  and I will never get a chance to eat at all the restaurants I want to, so cooking at home is holding me down in that department. However, its making me less broke and less fat, so it all comes out in the wash.

Speaking of cooking at home, today my friend Catie sent me this list of 100 Rules of Dinner, and it's perfect. (As I assumed it would be, as Catie is that friend everyone needs to have, the one that always picks the right restaurant or shares the best recipes.) There is nothing overly fancy or inaccessible about the list, and it's my favorite mix of dry humor and warmth. A few of my favorites...

  • Being cooked for in someone’s home is one of the finer pleasures in life.
  • There are very few problems in my life that I can’t momentarily forget about when I’m cooking dinner with Andy. (Didn't even have to edit the name on that one!)
  • If you have to unwrap it, it’s not going to be good for you.
  • If you have to ask “lime or lemon?” when making me a gin and tonic…I’ll make my own gin and tonic.
  • You very rarely feel worse about yourself after cooking dinner.
  • You very often feel worse about yourself after going out and spending $68 for four soggy pepper jack quesadillas, some rice and beans, and a couple of Shirley Temples. (WHY IS THIS THE HARDEST LESSON FOR ME TO LEARN)
  • When eating grilled stuff outside in the summer, there is no shame in cold, pink wine.
  • If someone cooks dinner for you and that dinner is delicious, and you enjoy eating it, say so. Say, “Oh my god, this is so good. This is INSANE.”

Thanks, Eat My Shortbread, for helping me catch up to my brothers in the baking department! Thank you, Dinner, A Love Story for putting into words why I love meals, especially shared ones. And thanks, all of you, for reading every day, for the feedback on all sketches and projects, for sending me pictures of you drinking some of my illustrated cocktail recipes, for all of it. I mean it. I'd bake you all semi-edible brownies if I could.


  1. I'm beyond honored to be mentioned here alone, but to have an adorable kitchen-illustration on top of it?! I love this, thank you Meg! :)

    1. no, thank YOU for having a blog that makes me not terrified to attempt baking, and making cooking seem accessible and not like something that only the best of the best can do well!


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