Introducing Chronicle Cooking, Our New Recipe Hub
Check out our growing list of dishes, drinks, and techniques
For me, cooking is entwined in nearly every aspect of my life. There's my job reporting on other people's cooking, obviously, but it's also deeply personal. Cooking helps bookmark my teetering sense of time, and it anchors mind to body in a way that curbs my anxiety. But mostly, making food for people is one of my love languages: It connects me to loved ones in my home and far away, and to those living only in memory now.
My late grandmother, Honey, was one of the finest cooks I've ever known, despite exactly zero hours of formal training. Her lemon meringue pie boasted perfect peaks and just the right amount of tartness, and I have yet to taste better fried chicken. Her daughter, my late mother, did not enjoy cooking as a general rule, but the handful of simple items she made are the versions I still prefer to this day: her spaghetti sauce, her sour cream chicken enchiladas, her cinnamon toast. I've cooked all my life, graduating from making myself just-add-milk blueberry muffins and boxed macaroni to making my son's scrambled eggs in Honey's cast iron skillet and beef Wellington for my boyfriend's birthday.
Cooking also gives me a deeper understanding of the truly incredible skills of professional chefs. Attempting (and rarely mastering) techniques far above my skill level and researching new ingredients far outside of my realm cuts through the veil, shining a spotlight on the hours of hard work and years of training showcased in the dishes created within restaurant kitchens. Ever try cooking a 60-hour tonkotsu broth or 300 perfect pillows of gnocchi? Me neither.
With all of that in mind, I'd been slowly pecking away at a cooking project for a while, but now that we're in the midst of a global pandemic, it seems like now is the time. And although almost every aspect of life is changing rapidly, one thing remains the same: Everybody's still gotta eat.
Austin has an evolving restaurant roster working hard in the midst of COVID-19 to continue fulfilling our wildest food desires – and we'll absolutely keep reporting on their tremendous work – but now that we all have to stay home, we have to cook, too. Fortunately, that means we can explore new flavors and techniques, customize weeknight meals, spruce up happy hour, and maybe even save money by preserving ingredients. And whether it's braving the socially distanced line at H-E-B, signing up for a local CSA, or bartering fava beans for Clorox-wiped beer handed over the fence (true story), playing Iron Chef with ingredients you've scored is an excellent way to pass the time and connect.
On Thursday, April 2, we launch our shiny new web page, Chronicle Cooking, at austinchronicle.com/chronicle-cooking. It's a recipe hub filled with recipes from our archive, as well as a growing trove of tried-and-true recipes from local chefs, cookbooks, and our own staff. And on Monday, April 6, we'll be launching our new companion newsletter filled with fresh recipe ideas. To sign up, go to austinchronicle.com/newsletters. And if you'd like to submit your own recipe for consideration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – and don't forget to tell us the stories behind your most treasured recipes.