At the recommendation of our friend Shana, I picked up Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries, which documents a year in Slater’s kitchen. As one of the reviewers stated, “The wonderful thing about Nigel Slater is that he cooks the way most people do, only much better.” He also writes about food the way most people do – except much, much better. He’s also more honest about it than most food writers – he talks about going to the corner store for fish sticks and being confronted by readers when he’s caught buying frozen peas – he also writes about those days when he’s overindulged and just wants broth, which I appreciate, especially in the wake (or midst) of holiday indulgence. As I read the book curled up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of coffee, I found myself equal parts hungry and happy, and Shane kept telling me to Put. The. Book Down. so that I wouldn’t read it too quickly.
By the time I finished it (the next day – I did make it last two afternoons), I was newly motivated to do the following:
- focus on healthy, flavorful meals
- try several new recipes each month
- learn more about our camera + take better photos
- write about food more regularly
All of these may seem like obvious outcomes of reading a lovely book about food, but the first was a bit of a revelation. One of the things I struggle with in planning meals is making sure we have enough – enough protein, enough vegetables, etc – not because we lack anything, but because I want to make nutritious meals that will also fill us up and will take advantage of the things seasonally available to us. I don’t want to down a plate of pasta and then regret it, or eat a salad and be hungry an hour later. Slater seems to address both of these problems by making intensely flavorful, satisfying meals, and then eating simply the rest of the day. I’d like to do more of both of these things.
In the next year, I will do my best to document our eating and drinking – focusing on dinner – in daily entries of around 200 words, not including recipes. These entries will be filed under Kitchen Diaries, and if they get too oppressive to our handful of readers, I may find some other way of displaying them in our blog/feed. In the meantime, happy eating, and happy 2010!