How's It Going?: Homemade Edition

Pioneer Woman
Pioneer Woman
Screenshot: Food Network/YouTube

Welcome to Wednesday, and welcome back to our daily open thread.

Last night for dinner I had a tomato sandwich with greenhouse tomatoes from my CSA, homemade bread, and homemade mayo. I will admit to smugly eating the sandwich while being very impressed with my culinary prowess. (I’ve never made mayo before—it is surprisingly not hard, though I’m still waiting to see if I’ve poisoned myself with raw eggs.) As you’ve probably gathered, the effects of coronavirus have gotten me thinking a lot about where my food comes from, as well as given me more time to make some things myself that I’d usually get at the store. A friend and I were recently discussing what food we think is the gateway to “Oh, I could just make this instead of buying it”—I said guacamole, while she said salad dressing. What do you think?

Other adventures into pseudo-homesteading have been less fun than sandwiches, though. I need to do laundry again, but my last foray into handwashing my clothes was a day-long nightmare of tedium, physical exhaustion, and space issues. I could offset this by doing small loads every day, but that feels like just extending my torment.

Has social distancing led you to any new heights of self-sufficiency? How’s it going?

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Trying to think of my gateway to I Can Make That! I spent a long time in my 20s doing Cooks Illustrated recipes and trying new stuff, and there definitely were a bunch of moments where I had that a ha moment. Maybe it was making a whole roast chicken? It’s not that technical, not that involved, and the results are so good. There have been a few restaurants where it’s still worth it to order it, though—I think that’s one thing doing a lot of home cooking has taught me, which is recognizing when real chefs can truly elevate simpler dishes. I’m not impressed with jamming expensive ingredients together in the latest gourbage gastropub comfort food (though that can be satisfying at times), but an amazing chicken or small bowl of pasta or actual memorable salad? Blows my mind. How do they do THAT?

Other things I’ve learned to make that I won’t order at restaurants because I can make it just as good at home: panna cotta, chocolate mousse, and creme brulee. These are easy, panna cotta especially. Definitely higher margin desserts for restaurants if you want to give them more funds, though.

Oh, and pie. There’s literally one place in Portland I’ll get pie from (Lauretta Jean’s) because I’m so happy with my pies. Speaking of which, can’t wait to snag some good rhubarb.