Joy in the kitchen

Ok, maybe 3. :blush:

But still, alone time in the kitchen is oddly relaxing.


Enjoyed my first steak at home ever–searing using my beloved Staub brasier:

Mine has a decorative cow instead of a knob.

Steak was great, but, most important, the cooking experience was pure joy.



TBH I wish I were more joyful in the kitchen. I do love preparing food for my beloved and myself, but … you wouldn’t think I’m happy about it if you observed me. I get angry at my food when it doesn’t cooperate, so there can be a lot of swearing during the process :grimacing:

My dude’s suggested if I ever had a cooking show, it would be called “The Angry Chef” and would mos def not be SFW :rofl:


Funny, as I put out almost 100% of our food, 24/7, I really can’t think of anything I consciously enjoy while cooking. Perhaps the organization, timing, flow and final plating and am adamant about cleaning up as I go. I usually only have a sketchy idea of what a meal will consist of. I think I get enjoyment out of pulling a meal out of the pantry or fridge and having the elements more or less complement each other.

I have joy when I surprise myself by how good a slap-dash dish is, like last night’s salad that consisted of torn romaine, little leaf lettuce, halved grilled (globular) spring onions, asparagus tips, swizzled ham, sliced raw mushrooms, hard boiled eggs, whole meal croutons dressed simply with EVOO and Banyuls vinegar.

And like a few of you, I get great satisfaction out of washing up and restoring order .

I would rather eat in than eat “ordinary” out, and am pretty critical of meals out. Getting something decent on the table at home isn’t that big a deal.


I like to optimize things, so it’s always a joy when I can put out many dishes under short amount of time.

Latest joy: finally getting air-fried chicken to work.


What’s the secret?

Not quite a secret, just a good version after several missteps. Dip in seasoned flour, egg, flour again, egg again, then dredge in a mix of Italian breadcrumbs, panko and cornmeal, patted so it adheres without dripping. Half-hour in the fryer at 425F, flip halfway through.

The first versions had insufficient coating, or not enough time in the fryer. I tried plain cornstarch, then a mix of flour and cornstarch, both without the egg. My instant read said that the earlier batches were done after 20 minutes (165F), but they were pink towards the middle and rubbery at the bones. The extra ten minutes made a big difference.

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Last night’s joy:




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I derive all manner of joy from what happens in the kitchen. Most meals are preceded by a drink, a couple of crackers, and some cheese. I enjoy the process of planning the meal, including the timing of each dish so that they come out at the correct times; prep work including chopping, slicing, salting, resting, etc.; preparing the mise; the sheer fun of actual cooking; chilling salad plates and heating dinner plates; plating; and, of course, cleaning and storing everything. I get joy out of having made aspects of a meal like bread, stock, vinegar, etc. I enjoy harvesting fresh herbs. One of my greatest joys is making something exceptional from leftovers and/or improbable ingredients. I get joy out of all the old kitchen wares that surround me. Now and then I get something truly special like a truffle, a Harbison cheese, or a hanger steak, and that brings joy. Breaking out a really good bottle of wine is joyful, and the joy is compounded if it was either a really good deal, a rare find, or a bottle I allowed to age a decade or more. Kitchens are just joyful to me. Most of all I enjoy company in the kitchen.


Great post, Vecchiouomo,

I’ve been following many of your adventures–including your kitchen remodeling/restructuring–and remember what a nice, homey, relaxed, environment you’ve created.



Thanks. You are kind.

The perfect smell. There’s a smell to garlic rice that tells me I did it right, even before it’s finished cooking. Braised lamb shanks, the smell I did it right again. I love the olfactory validation.

I also take great joy in knife work. From the stone to the onion.


+1 gazillion. Nothing better than to sit down to eat and the dishes you made are clean. Allows you to sit and enjoy w/out constantly thinking of the next step.


My Japanese collaborator gave me a small Hinoki Cutting board for my birthday that showed up a central feature of my latest reorganization–but I didn’t realize how central until it’s wonderful cypress smell permeated the kitchen and became just one more reason for my joy.