Cooking and coping

Since my father-in-law passed away I've found myself cooking more than ever, as a way of coping with my own personal grief and also as a way to help those around me through this difficult time.

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Let’s just get this out there: the holidays fucking sucked. We’ve all been devastated by the loss of Heather’s dad, “Pops.” Some days are fine; other days are brutal. I’m thankful for the friends and family we have in our lives who have been so kind and supportive.

I’m convinced that loss of any kind cannot be “healed,” but rather dulled by the passage of time. We cope with our loss in various ways, making the weeks, days, hours, and sometimes minutes, less painful.

Much of my coping has been in cooking, both for myself and for those around me; I hope that maybe it will help them a little bit too.

New Year

On New Year’s Eve we have a fun little tradition of Asian food and Champagne. This year I decided to give the delivery-guys a break and make it myself: Thug Kitchen has an amazing Pad Thai recipe that we absolutely devoured; the ginger paired perfectly with a big-ass bowl of Jubal Early Punch, which is way more fun than sucking down a bottle of Champagne all by itself.

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents (and now the rest of the Boston family) celebrated New Year’s day with Eggs Benedict and Mimosas. I have fond memories of my mostly futile attempts at getting booze from the grownups. We wanted to honor this tradition, as we have in years gone by, but we also wanted to make it our own.

Rather than the traditional version which has ham and eggs, we did a classed up vegan Eggs Benedict (minus the tofu) and served it up on a nice potato pancake instead of English muff. It was fucking fantastic. I had enough breading to make a couple more fried tomatoes after the fact. Unfortunately, I was way too hungover to enjoy a Mimosa, but brunch more than made up for it.

Scrambled

I whipped up a delicious Tofu Scramble Revisited from Vegan with a Vengeance/Post Punk Kitchen, plus tomatoes and shit. I don’t get it when Isa is all:

Scrambled tofu is probably one of the most mundane vegan recipes there is. Go ahead and roll your eyes when you open a cookbook and see the obligatory entry, I know I do, even at my own.

I love a good tofu scramble and her recipe is the best. Whatever, maybe I’ll hate it when I’ve been vegan for 20 years. But I love it for now.

Canning

I got wild on Saturday and decided to can a whole bunch of tomatoes. I’ve never canned anything before but I did watch this awesome episode of Mind of a Chef where Sean Brock shows you how to do it. It looked wicked easy, so I thought I’d have a go at it.

When I was growing up, my grandma Boston would fill a whole closet with stuff she had canned. I always remember being in awe whenever I opened that closet and saw it stocked from top to bottom. I figured she’d know how to preserve some tomatoes, so I gave her a call to get her take.

I love the transfer of knowledge from the older generation to the younger, especially with things such as canning and preserving food. It truly feels like an art that my generation and younger really couldn’t care less about.

I’m glad I gave her a call, because sure as shit, grandma’s method was even simpler than Brock’s. Hell yeah, canned tomatoes!

I got all excited after that and made a bunch of vegetable broth from all the leftover kitchen scraps I’ve been storing in the freezer. Then I canned that too.

Etc.

You get the point… but for reference, here are some of the other fun things I’ve been cooking up: