Klutz in the kitchen? How-to author will offer cooking tips at La Jolla talk
By Ashley Mackin
Celebrity chef Ina Garten says stirring a pot of risotto at the end of the day with a glass of wine can be relaxing. Food Network personality Anne Burrell prefers tenderizing meat as a way of bringing joy to the cooking experience.
Whatever your preference, author Kate Payne wants to see you in the kitchen, enjoying yourself.
In her new book, “The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen,” she presents different projects for aspiring cooks and will speak about them at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17 at Warwick’s Books, 7812 Girard Ave.
One of Payne’s first projects was baking bread. “I’ve been gluten-free for eight years but because I was living in Austin (Texas) and had a salary, I didn’t mind buying the gluten-free bread.”
But in 2008, she and her wife Jo Ann moved to New York, and that bread was suddenly $9 a loaf.
“I thought, how hard could it be to make this myself?” she said. “That was really my introduction to the kitchen. My background is in anthropology and sociology, and working for nonprofits, so my culinary experience is fairly limited.”
From there, in an effort to get the most from her entire grocery budget, she started making jams and pickles. A particular favorite, and something she plans to discuss at Warwick’s, is preserving vegetables through lacto-fermentation.
“They are incredibly easy to do (despite how it sounds) and they can be done in small batches, so people can get the hang of it,” she said.
“Fermented vegetables are really crisp and zingy, but not acidic, and can have that pickle taste plus whatever flavorings you add to it.”
Payne said the fermentation gives certain vegetables probiotic benefits, similar to those found in yogurt, and that fermented cabbage produces anti-carcinogenic compounds. “It’s pretty magical stuff,” she said.
Now back in Austin, Payne said cooking for her family is “a grounding experience” and that once novices get in the habit of cooking, even just a few small things, making complete meals is not that far behind.
“You start to see that it’s not that much more convenient to pick something up or get something delivered. You can put the time you would spend in line (ordering and paying for food) toward cooking a pot of rice, and with that, you have control over what is going in your body.”
She said there are many reasons why people don’t cook today. “Sometimes people watch the Food Network and think ‘only people like that cook at home,’ or maybe it’s because there are so many cookbooks and so many recipes that people get inundated with possibility and don’t actually undertake anything,” she said. “It can all get to be too much.”
She hopes her books (she also penned “The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking,” HarperCollins, 2011) simplify the cooking process.
For more information, visit HipGirlsHome.com or call Warwick’s (858) 454-0347.
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