Not because she refused to be airbrushed (which is awesome), but because of her standing up for the home cook.
In a recent interview on The Splendid Table (for all you NPR junkies, you may know of this show) she said a few things that impressed me.
First, she says:
“I think it’s necessary to champion the home cook because people are apologetic. They say, ‘I’m just a home cook.’ When, of course, it’s home cooking that keeps the universe alive — at least the human race alive.”
Amen, Nigella. Amen.
Then she makes an even more profound point:
“I think chefs can over-complicate because the thing is when it comes to the very basics, they are charging money. And people want to go out and they want to pay money for something they couldn’t cook at home. So, it can encourage, I think, a slightly manic pursuit of novelty, which doesn’t always aid pleasure. Sometimes it isn’t better; the knife skills begin to be more impressive and there are all sorts of ways you can cook something that a home cook wouldn’t have access to.”
I think the reason this really resonates with me, is I’m somewhat sheepish about posting my main dish recipes on the blog.
For years I’ve created & developed recipes for our family meals–my kids often love what I make (I’m not saying they *always* love what I make–they’re kids after all), Joseph often loves what I make, & generally I’m pleased with the outcome as well. But what I make is typically very simple, frugal, & not quite worthy of a full-page spread in Gourmand.
Joseph loves my vegan food, but he more often than not hates/loathes/despises intentional vegan food at restaurants. Why? In his opinion, they try to get “too creative” with their combinations & flavors. I tend to agree. Why not have spaghetti without the meatballs (a simple vegan fix)? Or a baked potato topped with some non-dairy butter, salt & pepper? Or a vegetarian chili? Instead it’s cumin infused, rosemary laced tofu stuffed tamales. Or spinach stuffed tortellini smothered in a roasted yellow pepper & eggplant pesto. To him, & to many other omnivores, it’s too weird, the flavors too complicated & foreign.
I latched onto this idea quickly. I’m prone to over complicating things. When we were dating, I spent a whole day once, making a many-layered chocolate torte cake with about 30 ingredients (& cost at least $30 to make). I was pleased with myself, & thought he’d be over-the-moon impressed. He only ate one or two bites (claimed he was full), & then later, after we were married I found out he doesn’t like cake, no matter (or especially if) it’s fancy. He’s fine with apple pie & vanilla ice cream.
Over the years, between dealing with a very simple palated husband & then finicky kids, I’ve learned simple = better.
And, can I let you in on a secret?
If you want to save lots of time & money, learn how to make your own soup. It’s fairly easy (cut up some veggies, throw in pot, add protein &/or grain & seasoning, let simmer in broth) & foolproof (hard to “mess up” a soup). My mom was a classic soup maker, as was her mother, as was I’m sure her mother before her. Because they all realized this simple fact: you can easily feed a lot of people with this versatile & frugal, & delicious, satisfying comfort food.
Here’s a variation on soup that I made just last night. My kids ate this with toasted corn tortilla chips.
A note on the amount this recipe makes.
Emma made a comment on my last recipe about the size of the recipe yield (*60* cookies!)–my response–I’m feeding a small army, so feel free to reduce the recipe if you’re not in the same boat, or freeze the leftovers (this soup freezes really well).
Also, I figure it cost me about $6 to make this soup ($2.50 for the peppers, $.25 for the onion, $.75 for the lentils & quinoa, $2 for the diced tomatoes, & $.50 or thereabouts for the spices used) & is enough to cover 3 or 4 dinners for my family of 6 (not counting baby Tyndale here). It makes about 32 servings. At about $.18 a serving, not bad.
Not bad at all.
A simple, protein rich soup; vegan, gluten-free, & grain-free
- 1/4 c. oil oil*
- 1 medium/large onion, diced
- 1 red pepper
- 2 green peppers
- 2 c. dry lentils
- 2 c. quinoa | red or plain
- 4 quarts water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 c. nutritional yeast | omit if using vegetable broth
- 3-4 TBS. organic no-salt seasoning (I like Costco's brand)
- 2 tsp. cumin powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 TBS. garlic powder
- 1/2 TBS. paprika
- several dashes of Tabasco, or red pepper sauce (omit if sensitive to spicy heat)ample freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 1, 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1, 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1, 14 oz. can diced tomatoes w/ chilis | or additional can of diced tomatoes
- *olive oil is optional (use water to saute the onions & peppers instead) but since this is a rather brothy & lowfat soup as it is, adding olive oil adds some flavor & fat making it a bit more filling.
- Dice onions & peppers. (Smaller often is better for picky kids.)
- In a large pot, on medium heat, heat oil. Add diced onions & saute for 3-4 minutes until onions start becoming translucent. (If using water, just add onions to heated pot & add water 1 TBS. at a time, as needed).
- Add peppers & continue to saute for a 2-3 more minutes.
- Wash lentils in a fine sieve. Do the same for the quinoa.
- Add both the lentils & quinoa to the pot.
- Add water/broth & all spices.
- Bring water to a boil, cover, & reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until lentils are soft (but not mushy).
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, & diced tomatoes with chili. Stir & let simmer for a few more minutes. Add salt & additional pepper to taste.
- Leftovers will keep for 5-7 days in fridge, or a few months in the freezer in a Ziploc freezer bag.
Additional nutrition info: 17 g carbs, 5 g protein, 2.4 g sugar, 127 mg sodium; 3 WWP points
This recipe submitted to Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend–check it out for more healthy (all vegan) recipes!
Do you agree with Nigella? Do chefs tend to over complicate things?
P.S. Thank YOU so much for sharing on yesterday’s post! I’m LOVING reading all about you. You are fabulous. If you haven’t had a chance to add your two cents, do so here (& you’ll be entered to win one of the 5 bring joy totes I’m giving away). Also please note that I will & want to respond to each & every comment, but I must ask you to be patient with me. It may take me a few days to get to your comment, but I’m excited to respond to what you’ve had to share.