Tag Archives: cooking from scratch

2011 in Review: Top 5 Blog Posts

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is a marketer by profession, and thus cannot resist reviewing the stats on the year, the first year of this blog. Thanks to each and every one of you for making this ride so fantastic. I didn’t think it was possible to love food and cooking more, but I’ve found in sharing it with you all, it is.

All we are saying, is give @NCPig a chance.

All we are saying, is give @NCPig a chance.

The Top 5 Most-Viewed Blog Posts from 2011

1. Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck Review (with video): I still stand by the fact that these are the best dumplings I’ve tasted in the area. I’m yet to meet the person I’ve recommended them to who doesn’t love them.

Soup Dumplings with Sweet Sausage from Chirba Chirba

Soup Dumplings with Sweet Sausage from Chirba Chirba

2. Deep-Fried News: Kool-Aid and Bubble Gum at the N.C. State Fair (with video taste test): Yes, I ate that. Being the Deep-Fried Ambassador this year was one of the most fun things about writing this blog. And I got connected with the Food Bank through this gig, another huge win.

Look what's frying at the N.C. State Fair!

Look what's frying at the N.C. State Fair!

3. Garlicky Roma Beans with Tomatoes Recipe: Who knew the need for Roma bean recipes was so great?

Toss the Tomatoes into the Romas

Toss the Tomatoes into the Romas

4. Spaghetti Bird’s Nests: Simple and effective. These really are delicious and fun.

Spagetti Bird's Nests

Spagetti Bird's Nests

5. Mexican Squash Casserole: Another simple recipe with big flavors. Looking forward to squash season already!

Mexican Squash Casserole

Mexican Squash Casserole

My personal favorite post? I don’t know if I can choose. I will tell you my very favorite misdirected search term: fried orka. I do hope that Gentle Reader found what they were looking for.

Do you see your favorites listed above? I’m curious, what has been your favorite post this year? What do you want to see more of? Post a comment, send an email, Tweet at me. I want to hear from you!

Email me at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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At last, Reader Questions Answered! We’ll dive into the mailbag. There’s still time, email today!

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Filed under Fried, Kitchen Philosophy, Recipes, Restaurant Reviews

Forgiving Yourself in the Kitchen

Gentle Readers, oh the irony of this post. You see, The Practical Cook scheduled this post, and then promptly made a new mistake that is fodder for it. One of the most frequent comments I hear from up and coming cooks: I can’t cook, I mess things up all the time. Lean in please, just a little closer: so do I.

Toss the Accidental Butternut Bulgar with parsley and pecans to finish the dish.

Toss the Accidental Butternut Bulgar with parsley and pecans to finish the dish.

Be it from haste, inattention, or sheer exhaustion, I make mistakes. Yesterday’s Accidental Butternut Bulgar Recipe being a prime example.

Following right on that near-disaster’s heels, I added twice as much water as was called for to the pre-fab Taco Seasoning packet on Taco Night! Yes, I messed up Old El Paso. So what did I do? Turned up the heat, reduced the sauce by evaporating the water, and added a few squeezes of tomato paste from a tube at the end. Turned out to be better than usual according to The Practical Cooks Junior.

Spatzle Maker + Boiling Water = Great Photo, So-So Spatzle

Spatzle Maker + Boiling Water = Great Photo, So-So Spatzle

And let us never speak of the Spatzle incident again.

I think you’re sensing a trend here. Disaster doesn’t have to spell defeat. No use crying over spilt milk and all of that. Yes, I have 30+ years of kitchen time, so I’m a seasoned vet in the area of Kitchen Disaster Recovery (a little shout-out to my DCV peeps!). But, the crucial first step is letting the mistakes go.

Forgive yourself for not making everything from scratch all of the time, for letting things spoil before you use them sometimes, for ordering pizza when you’re exhausted, for serving mac-n-cheese for the umpteenth time. You are in the kitchen, you are reading this blog, you are fighting the good fight. Keep up the good work. Forgive yourself.

Feel free to share your story of kitchen forgiveness in the comments section below.

Send your kitchen confessionals to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, shockingly, it’s time for Weekly Menus again.

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Filed under Can this supper be saved?, Kitchen Philosophy