February 28, 2015

Cloth napkins: like or dislike?

Cloth-napkins

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

When, twenty years ago, our daughter returned from a year of study and eco-travel around the world, the first thing she did was banish paper napkins (serviettes, for those of you who live where "napkins" means diapers) from our house. She was right, of course, that we'd never paid attention to the huge amount of paper waste we were generating. These days, we have a huge stash of mismatched cloth napkins that we use for everyday as well as for special occasions. It's possible that, at some point, we actually had matching napkins, but now we have a hodge-podge of colors and patterns. Sometimes our table settings look a bit like a Mardi Gras parade, but the crazy collection of cloth napkins has become who we are. How about you? Do you use paper napkins, cloth napkins, or both? And if you use cloth napkins, do they match? [Thanks to my husband Ted for suggesting this week's Like or Dislike question.]

Cloth napkins: like or dislike?

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February 21, 2015

Lentils: like or dislike?

Lentils2

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

I don't remember eating lentils until I went away to college. Nobody in my circle of school friends had any money, and lentils were cheap cheap cheap at the local health food co-op. My friends and I cooked up soups and stews on the (illegal) hot plates in our dorm rooms, and served big bowls of steaming goodness with hunks of very grainy bread slathered with sweet butter. (And yes, there might have been beer, to wash it all down.) Lentils are still an inexpensive source of nutrition, and I still make pots of lentil soup, often in the slow cooker or pressure cooker. Best of all, lentils don't need any pre-soaking. I always have a few different kinds in my pantry.

Lentils: like or dislike?

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February 14, 2015

Ice cream: like or dislike?

Ice cream

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. At least, here in New England, we do. I believe that in this part of the country, we eat more ice cream per person than anywhere else, and we're partial to eating ice cream (and drinking iced coffee, too) in the middle of winter. Given the endless snow storms, you'd think we would forego it this year, but we don't. For me, ice cream must have something chocolate in it, or on it, but I recognize that for you, it might be lemon, or strawberry, or passion fruit, or jelly bean. I respect that, but if I'm going to eat the calories, I want them to be chocolate. And I don't want frozen yogurt instead of real, creamy ice cream. I'd love a bowl of chocolate ice cream with raspberries or strawberries for Valentine's Day. Or any day. How about you?

Ice cream: like or dislike?

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February 7, 2015

Garlic: like or dislike?

Garlic1

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

Garlic. Can't cook without it, can't stand to be near someone who's eaten too much of it. (It's not called the "stinking rose" for nothing.) That's my dilemma. I'd guess that 75 percent of everything I cook begins with onions and garlic. Cousin Martin isn't crazy about recipes like pesto that call for huge amounts of garlic. How about you?

Garlic: like or dislike?

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January 31, 2015

Notebooks: like or dislike?

Notebooks

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

Call me old-fashioned, but I keep my recipe ideas, kitchen experiments, and wish lists in notebooks, the non-electronic kind, filled with lined paper. And I write notes with a pen. Yes, I have a smart phone, with apps for taking notes, but I always have a notebook in my pocket or purse to scribble (or sometimes sketch) my inspirations. When I cook, there's a notebook on the countertop, so I can record every step of a recipe, especially the ones I want to share with you. I'm partial to Moleskines, but I have some Russell + Hazel looseleaf notebooks that I love to use when I'm working on e-cookbooks and other projects. Are you a notebook person?

Notebooks: like or dislike?

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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