Tag Archives: guest posts

what geeks eat – please welcome vanessa!

Well, I have about a month left of guest-writing for Accidental Hedonist and it’s been a blast. I’ll be wrapping up my guest position at the end of December and here to take over the post is Vanessa of What Geeks Eat – you are in very good hands, guys. Of course, I’ll continue to write regularly at my own blog – the Sassy Radish.

Aside from the instant affinity for the name (I went to a techie college and I’m a photo optics junkie – which qualifies me as a geek) – I found the blog refreshing, well-written and firmly grounded in reality – Vanessa is a mother and a wife and has a family to feed. Oh and she’s from Wisconsin (I’ve a soft spot for that state) – go Badgers!

So to properly introduce Vanessa to you, I posed a few questions to her and her answers are below. Welcome Vanessa – we’re excited to have you on board!

1. How did you start cooking and when?
In college when I met GH. I wooed him by cooking for him. A year a later we were living together and figuring out how to make homemade bread and three meals out of one chicken. Since then we’ve never stopped.

2. What is your earliest food memory?
Eating red, ripe tomatoes, warm from the garden. I’d come home on the school bus and I’d stop at the garden, pick a tomato and eat it like an apple.

3. What are you favorite foods? Least favorites?
My all time favorite is pork…oh what a lovely animal and what delicious meat. I adore pies, fruit, chocolate, cheese, beef, sushi, actually there’s not much I don’t love. I don’t cook fish well…so I don’t like fish for that reason but I will order it at a restaurant.

4. What’s one dish you’ve always wanted to make but were afraid to and why?
Fabulous, dainty, french macarons…I swoon at the thought of eating them but no one makes them here in Madison…I keep saying I’ll make them this winter.

5. What is the one cookbook you cannot live without and why?
I won’t actually buy a cookbook until I’ve checked it out from the library at least four times. This year I bought Dorie Greenspan’s Baking and I love it. But I
don’t really feel passionate about any one cookbook. I read a bit here and there everyday and as I go along I compile lists of flavors that go well together, techniques to try, or ingredients to hunt down and use. I love Peter Kaminsky’s Pig Perfect, Heat by Bill Buford, and I’m looking forward to Ruhlman’s Elements of Cooking. However, I cannot survive without the internet, google, and my moleskine notebooks.

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something old, something new

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I can’t wait – my favorite holiday is right around the corner. That’s right – Thanksgiving is upon us and if you’re anything like me (all but this year) – you’ve probably been keeping a mental list of dishes to cook since July. Oh yes, I get excited for Thanksgiving pretty early on – I clip those recipes early and create an abominable pile through which I sift the first of October and which I eventually wittle down to about 12 dishes in total. You see, every year, but this year, for reasons I’ll explain shortly, I’ve cooked a monster feast for friends because for one reason or another I couldn’t go home for the holiday and at one point decided that the holiday won’t be taken away from me.

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It all started out innocently enough with a couple of college friends and me stranded in Pittsburg for Thanksgiving one year – I had so many projects, I needed to stay on campus to work through them – my friends found themselves in a similar predicament. So we up and cooked a bunch of dishes and had our own perfect meal, accompanied by some excellent micro-brewed beer. This created a tradition.

When I moved to New York, I was a junior member of a team in an investment bank, so taking the Friday after the Thanksgiving Thursday was out of the question. And so the dinner tradition continued first starting with three people. The following year, it was eight. The year after seventeen. Last year it was thirty-one. A few friends of mine and I made dinner for thirty-one people! And it was amazing and great and delicious and warm.

This year, I simply couldn’t get around to it. Every weekend in November, including this one (we have a bat mitzvah service and party today to attend early this morning) is filled with festivities. My work has taken a very front seat and I’m exhausted when I come home. With two weeks a year for vacation, that doesn’t a restful girl make. So I am opting out of hosting a feast. Will KS and I sit down to a quiet festive meal of our own for two? Quite possibly. But no large feasts for me.

However, I’d like to share with you some of my all time favorite holiday recipes here if you are looking for something new to bring to your Thanksgiving table. Maybe you have a few traditional dishes you’d like to keep, but introduce a few new ones to the table. I hope you find these helpful and if you try them, let me know how you like them. Happy planning!

Spiced Glazed Carrots
How to find The One (turkey, that is)
Apple Celery Salad & Cranberry Sauce (2 recipes!)
Porcini Mushroom Soup (my favorite soup in the whole, wide world – a family tradition)
My thoughts on roasting a turkey.
Apple Pie (sorry, I cheat with a pre-made crust!)
Acorn Squash – roasted
And my personal, favorite dish now: Pumpkin Bread Pudding Souffle – a dish that renders me speechless and elated, and the first dish to get devoured at the Thanksgiving table every year!

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