Oh hi, it’s me, Mariel. I suppose this is my first official, out-from-behind-the-scenes post, so here goes. As the daughter of a truly talented chef, I’ve learned a few things along the way. While my friends were eating hot dogs, burgers and Big Macs growing up, my mom was using us kids as taste-testers for whatever catering job she was working on. Prosciutto Palmieres, Orange Bread Tea Sandwiches and Racks of Lamb were pretty common in our kitchen. Meanwhile, all I wanted was Mac & Cheese and Chicken Fingers.
Now that I’m older, I appreciate the complicated, flavorful, oftentimes exotic food my mother served us, all while running a house, a business and raising three (demanding) kids.
So while I still crave takeout and restaurant food on a pretty consistent basis – choosing to make dinner versus buy it is a daily battle – cooking isn’t a foreign language, and as many of my friends will attest to, I’m not afraid to try anything at the table. Other than fennel, I HATE fennel.
Following in my mother’s footsteps, I’ll be sharing a few things I make in my tiny West Village kitchen. A lot has been made of the size of my kitchen on this blog, and it’s no exaggeration to say it’s miniscule. I have a half-size fridge, a mini-oven and stovetop, and a sink. For real, that’s it. No counter. Nothing.
The image you see here is of my former cutting board. For over a year, I was placing the cutting board on top of the stove to slice veggies or whatever. And then one day, while I was baking lasagna, it exploded. I was at my desk about 15 feet away and thankfully no one was hurt, but it just goes to show you how incredibly tiny my kitchen is. If I can make my mother’s recipes, anyone can.
Although my mom has done a wonderful job paring down ingredients, swapping out expensive items and generally “dumbing down” directions for her daughter, the fledgling chef, I still have to cut corners. The recipes I’ll be sharing from my burgeoning repertoire will be even easier, even cheaper and perfect for teeny-weeny counter-less kitchens.
I’m no Top Chef, I don’t have a degree from the Culinary Institute, and Oprah hasn’t slapped me with her seal of approval, but I can cook some pretty tasty meals in an extra tiny kitchen. That has to count for something.