Discover more from Keep Calm & Cook On
some answers to your questions!
For those of you who are new here, welcome! Every so often I devote a newsletter to answering reader questions. I picked four to respond to today. Got a question for me? Leave it in the comments (open to paid subscribers only). Your questions/things you’re seeking advice about don’t have to be about food!
From Stephanie: “I’d love to hear more about this cabinet you’ve kitted out to hold sheet pans. The cabinet where I have mine is messy and clackity and a pain in the ass to get things out of or put into.”
Here it is! To make those dividers, I cut an old broomstick into a couple of pieces, each about a foot long. I screwed those pieces into two strips of wood and then screwed those strips into the base of the cabinet. This way I can have sheet pans (and their friends) divided into a couple of sections so they’re a little easier to get in and out of the cabinet. Note that this cabinet still gets kind-of messy and noisy! But it’s better than it was. If you are not a DIY-er, you can buy these things (like this one from the Container Store). I would say measure your cabinet first before searching so you can narrow down your search to only what fits in your space. Hope that helps!
From Jackie M.: “For dinner, what do you cook/eat after a long day or if you don't feel like cooking at all?”
I feel this way often! Here are some of the things I do.
I ask my spouse Grace to make pasta!
We pickup takeout.
I make a tuna sandwich and have it with potato chips, a pickle, and a beer.
I often refer to this newsletter I wrote about easy dinner ideas!
From Aimee: “My frozen fish is always so waterlogged. What’s the best way to combat this issue?”
Don’t defrost the fish in the packaging it came in. If you do, it’s just sitting in defrosted ice (a.k.a. water). Take the fish out of its packaging when you defrost it and set it on a paper towel-lined plate and let it defrost overnight in the fridge. This way the paper towel absorbs any excess liquid as the fish defrosts. This usually yields a drier piece of fish that isn’t waterlogged and can be cooked and enjoyed just like a fresh piece of fish.
When you don’t have the time to do that method, lean into the texture and add your fish to liquid to cook it. This could be tomato sauce or it could be adding it to fish chowder, or it could be a Thai-ish coconut curry.
Just cook it directly from frozen. Here’s a post I wrote about doing just that in March! You’ll see in the post I mention that after unwrapping the frozen fish, I run it under a little running water to get rid of the thin layer of ice on the fish fillets, then I pat dry with a paper towel before cooking. This usually does the trick just fine!
From Amy: “How has cooking for a T1 diabetic person in the family developed over time? Does mixing that with an anti-diet approach ever get tricky?”
This is a really thoughtful question, Amy, thank you.
For a little background, a couple of years into our marriage, Grace was diagnosed with Type 1. This is something I’ve written about a bit in my cookbooks and other places, too (like this piece in the Washington Post). Immediately following the diagnosis, we drastically changed the way we cooked and ate together as a way to make the adjustment easier for Grace.
Simplifying our meals and limiting our carbohydrates was something we did together so there were less variables as Grace learned how the full-time job of living with a chronic illness that requires a ton of attention to what and when you’re eating. (Having Type 1 Diabetes means your body no longer produces insulin so you have to become your own pancreas and constantly monitor your blood glucose levels so you can administer insulin yourself, either through a pump attached to your body or through injections.)
But yes, this has evolved a lot. In part this is because Grace has learned the language of living with Type 1 and now that Grace is fluent, it’s not so necessary to limit anything.
But it has also evolved because we’ve both come a long way in our relationships to our own bodies and are both extremely weary around any types of food restriction. (This is something we spoke about together about a year-and-a-half ago on my podcast — you can listen here! — I’m sure if we were to record this conversation today, it would be different and even more evolved).
So while it’s all evolving, yes, it’s also all tricky. Both Grace and I have lived with eating disorders at various points in our lives and continue to navigate the long-lasting effects of those experiences, and just diet culture in general. Doing this alongside a lifelong diagnosis that requires constant attention to what you’re consuming is really hard.
In terms of how Grace manages that, that’s Grace’s story to tell. But in terms of how I cook for the T1 diabetic person in my family, I have really switched from thinking of cooking for me and my T1 spouse to just cooking for us. I make what I want to eat and offer it to Grace if Grace wants some. I ask Grace what they’re in the mood for and I make that. I no longer use Grace’s T1 diagnosis as an excuse for my own restrictive measures and I trust Grace’s ability to treat their own body with kindness and compassion. We are always figuring it out and I’m just so grateful to do it together.
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LAST MINUTE MOTHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: A COOKING CLASS WITH ME!
Gift an experience! No shipping! No expiration date!
I offer gift certificates for a single class ($40), a pack of two ($80), a pack of five ($185), or a pack of ten ($350). No expiration date! Note that gift certificates go directly to the recipient immediately upon purchase (you fill in their contact info at checkout).
You can also purchase gift cards for whatever amount you’d like right here and these can be sent to you so that you can share with the recipient whenever you’d like. These come in the form of a custom checkout code which I suggest just writing down in a card — done and done!
All info about my classes including FAQs is right here.
This Sunday’s class (2p EST) is going to be a wonderful Italian-American dinner.
Okay, have a fun weekend all! xo, Julia