In uncertain times, I turn to food preservation—and a pandemic soup recipe you might like

I found this post in my draft folder, dated September, 2017. Just the headline, “In uncertain times, I turn to food preservation,” with no text. I was probably setting up some post about a thing I’d canned.

Apparently I thought 2017 was “uncertain times.”

That’s cute.

It’s true, though, that I look to my kitchen as a coping mechanism. After nine weeks of sheltering in place—and with the stress of lost employment and the trauma of a global pandemic—I’ve spent more time there than ever. I feel really lucky that I like to cook; undoubtedly, preparing three meals a day is placing more stress on many families, not less.

One of the things that’s given me the most joy during this time is finding ways to produce less waste. I’ve dehydrated orange peels to supplement a tin of black tea; saved bones and vegetable scraps for gallons of chicken broth, turkey broth, ham broth and beef broth; frozen and canned chilis, soups and salsas and restarted a compost regimen which had fallen by the wayside.

Yesterday I made cream of broccoli and potato soup and thought I’d post it as a flexible base to make “cream of whatever you’ve got” soup. Please enjoy.

Continue reading In uncertain times, I turn to food preservation—and a pandemic soup recipe you might like

I made a recipe from the back of a box of powdered milk and it wasn’t terrible

I’m moving.

It’s not like I’ve never moved before; I’ve probably done it more than the average Midwesterner. But having lived in the same city for 18.5 years, and having spent all but one of those years in the same neighborhood, it’s a bit daunting to imagine being in a new place. (And in case you’re wondering, I’m still going to be in Chicago half time, for now.)

It’s also an opportunity.

Continue reading I made a recipe from the back of a box of powdered milk and it wasn’t terrible

IMBIBE: Aquafaba sours have all the frothy fun, without the salmonella

There are a few things you should know about whiskey sours:

First, sweet and sour mix is gross. It’s not very hard to create a sour cocktail from scratch and give up the big bottle of electric green stuff. All you really need is a lemon and some sugar, or if you don’t want to make a simple syrup yourself, you can buy it pre-made at the grocery store or the liquor store.

Second, a Boston sour is a whiskey sour with an egg white, which makes for a delicious froth that rises to the top of this digestif.

OK, so the chances of salmonella from a frothy raw egg white in your drink are lower than the chances of a hangover from having one too many of these, but raw ingredients can admittedly be a turnoff.

Continue reading IMBIBE: Aquafaba sours have all the frothy fun, without the salmonella

Canapolooza 2016

One might call it a Labor Day tradition: a gathering of many hands, a pitcher of sangria, and an unreasonably large quantity of tomatoes in a Rogers Park kitchen for the annual Canapolooza. In case you missed it, this is what happened:

Continue reading Canapolooza 2016

This one time, I got ready to get married

A lot of people have asked:

“So, Lauren, do you feel different now that you got married?!?”

“Meh. Not really.”

I mean, that’s how it’s supposed to be right? The person you profess to spend forever with (in public, no less) should theoretically be the same person you knew the day before you did that.

But if I’m being really honest, there’s a tinge of contentment and joy that is, in certain moments, wonderfully overwhelming. It doesn’t hurt, I suppose, that our wedding was totally kick ass. Unfortunately, that means you’re going to be living through it on this blog for as long as I feel like it. Fortunately, I have really talented friends and some great documentation.

So… sorry not sorry. Continue reading This one time, I got ready to get married

An Amtrak Adventure: Chicago to Austin by train

Since my visit to Union Station in Kansas City, I’ve had a hankering for a long train ride, and when I found out that Amtrak could get me to Austin for the Dance/USA conference for less than the cost of a plane ticket I decided to go for it.

You’re probably either really jealous or think I’m really ridiculous.

At one point in history, the train was THE way to get there, wherever there is, and aside from the extra leg room, for me, it’s a blast to get a taste of what life was like before planes became an accessible way to travel. Our country is littered with magnificent buildings posing as train stations, and despite my home city’s inability to use Union Station efficiently, departing for a long ride from there transports you to a classier time before neck pillows and body scanners. Continue reading An Amtrak Adventure: Chicago to Austin by train

I didn’t know I was missing wedding mints in my life.

Mandy the mint-maker, among other things, on the morning of our wedding. Photo: A.Deran Photography
Mandy the mint-maker, among other things, on the morning of our wedding. Photo: A.Deran Photography

When our friend Mandy arrived from Wyoming five days before the wedding to “protect and serve,” as she called it, one of the first things she asked was,

“When do you want to make the wedding mints?”

“…Huh?” Continue reading I didn’t know I was missing wedding mints in my life.