Tuesday, July 6, 2010

what's in that pot?

Recently I got to thinking about why I put so many food and cooking posts on my blog. I don't consider this a "food blog" and I'm not an especially good cook. On the other hand, I am fascinated by domestic life in general and cooking from scratch and family dinners in particular.

Then it occurred to me that making these meals and setting up these little table scenes is one opportunity for creativity in my day that I am sure to make time for. Each meal cooked and served is a lot of work, frequently with frustrating moments in the midst of it, but also fills me with a sense of accomplishment and a wonderful feeling of having nurtured the family and created something beautiful. That is all so important to me.
Sometimes I like to read through the comments over at Soulemama and one of my favorite things is when people ask her "what is in that pot?" whenever she posts a table shot. Back on this post somebody asked her that very question and she kindly replied that it was the vegetarian chili from Once Upon a Tart. That happens to be one of my all time favorite cookbooks so of course I was inspired to try the recipe. It turned out to be a wonderful, rustic and summery chili with beans soaked and cooked from scratch and with fresh summer squash and zucchini and fresh corn from the cob. On the down side I started it late in the day (aside from having already soaked the beans) and it took forever to get to the table. It was nearly 8 o'clock before we ate that night! Oh well--it was close to the Solstice and still quite light. Another thought I had: I think I need a Le Creuset pot in the next size up! This recipe makes such a huge batch that I ended up having to scoop some into a separate saucepan! (Do you see how I rationalize such purchases? Never mind, though, because I'm on a 2-year spending freeze . . . otherwise I would be tempted!)
The recipe suggests topping this with sour cream, cheese and onions, which was delicious.
Here is the cookbook that I am talking about. I've also blogged about it here.
And an inside shot to show how delicious this book is.

By the way, I have a little bookshop! It's been there for months but I never mentioned it to you. I just wanted to have a spot to show you all my very favorite books. I only have added books that I love and return to over and over again and that have lots of "heart" and good writing. It's not a money making endeavor for me at all, but just to let you know, if people bought enough books through my shop Amazon would eventually cut me a $10 certificate.

And thanks so much for all your help with the mystery of the comments not showing up! You guys are awesome. It was good to hear that it is a Blogger-wide problem and not something I had done wrong with the blog. And it looks like they're working again.

19 comments:

nicole said...

i like how you said "... i'm fascinated with domestic life in general...". i agree. did you ever read "the gentle art of domesticity"?

Holly C. said...

I am fascinated with domestic life too and really enjoy seeing dinner tables like yours and Soulemama's!

Beautiful table:)

Joy said...

What a sweet post. I'm fascinated with domestic life as well, but unfortunately, don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to domestic duties. I'll have to check out Once Upon a Tart. I have a wee bit left on an Amazon gift card that might make a good match. ;) Thanks for sharing your shop too!

Andrea said...

Yum! That chili looks delicous and the cookbook looks wonderful (I'll have to see if the library has it!). I love your beautiful table settings and meal posts...they're very inspiring (I'm lucky if I shove the junk mail to one side to make space for whatever slop I'll be forcefeeding the kids that night!).

Dawn said...

I enjoy scrolling the comments at S.M. at times too. That chili looks wonderful, I am going to make some soup for tonights supper...I can't believe it's cold and drizzly in July. We are usually having 90' days by now!

:)

todaywas said...

I enjoy your meal posts - I especially liked your zuchinni sticks and fruit - your meal posts make me think out of the box about meals, how to make them simple but beautiful and yummy and I love that!

Sarah said...

When your two no-spending years are over, if you still want a bigger pot, you could try the Lodge brand. They are much cheaper than Le Creuset, but are supposed to be just about as good. That's what the reviews on amazon say, at least. I can't personally vouch for that because I've never owned a Le Creuset, but I do have a Lodge dutch oven and I love it!

Anonymous said...

I love your table posts! They inspire me to set our dinner table Pretty. =)
Well I love all your posts about home and cooking, who am I kidding.
Hope your having a wonderful summer, it is finally starting to act like summer up here in Cape Breton, NS!

Oona Nicholas

Abbey said...

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog! Along with Soulemama it is one of my favorites. I agree that putting together a meal, and setting a beautiful table is a wonderful way to find a way to find a way to be creative. Your table settings are always so inspiring.

Mary Beth said...

Thank you so much, Abbey!

Nicole--yes! I read it and enjoyed it.

Denise C. said...

Love your posts & photos! I love all the "earthiness" of your photos & posts. You cook & serve real food. You like to make things from scratch. (I just learned how to soak beans, then cook them! So easy!) I also picked up that you use glass containers in the freezer, that is something I must try! =)

Twig and Toadstool said...

I think food posts are a wonderful treat on a blog!! I love sitting down vicariously at someone elses meal...being inspired by a beautiful table and wonderful food!
(I've never heard of that cookbook, but I'll be checking it out for sure!!)
Thanks
Maureen :)

Nancy said...

thanks for the bookshop mention--so fun to see what you like to read!

Kathy said...

I just reserved that cookbook at the library and I'm excited to pick it up. Please keep the food posts coming. They are always inspiring and beautiful.

Mary Beth said...

Thank you everyone for the lovely feedback! I'm glad you are enjoying the table posts.

To Kathy and everyone who is getting this book out from the library--you'll love it! My favorite part is the little sidebars by Frank and Jerome, the authors/cafe owners. They have strong opinions about low fat and stuff. Enjoy!

Maiz Connolly said...

I always ask my friends, "So, what are you having for dinner?" I enjoy seeing what's on your table, and it's usually similar to what I like to cook. I love making chili. I make it in enormous amounts and freeze small containers of it. Yum! I think I'll make some tomorrow.

Janae said...

You make all food look gorgeous--and I've never thought of making dinner as being a time of creativity, but it's true! You say you're not an amazing cook, but I beg to differ. Every picture of food you post makes me drool and want to eat at your house. :)

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

I agree with you. I also find I go on themes for a bit before switching. That cookbook is new to me. Thanks for sharing it!
Nicola

Laura said...

yum - that looks delicious! i love how you set your tables & make them so special - what a beautiful way to express your creativity & let your family know how much you love them & how special you think they are. i'm a big fan of mix & match dinnerware (from lots of thrifting!) and i love seeing how you put pieces together. your tables have such a warm feeling of love, comfort & family.