"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

How to have a happy Tuesday

by Julie Tilsner on February 25, 2007

in Chew on This, Libations

I have discovered the key to happiness. It involves drinking just enough to take the edge off the day while cooking something easy enough to make well even while drinking. And dancing. You gotta dance while you’re cooking, too.

I remember a friend, the fabulous Paula Davis, telling me that her favorite thing in the world was locking herself in her kitchen, pouring a big glass of red wine, and cooking the family dinner. I remember thinking, “huh.” at the time. I guess I just wasn’t there yet. I understand now.

Here’s my recipe:

  • Sit the nits in front of a DVD. Give them some pasta to shut them up.
  • Lock yourself in the kitchen. Figuratively speaking, of course. Unless you actually have a kitchen door with a functional lock. I do not. (which is why you distract the children first).
  • Open a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck. You can either get a glass or drink it straight from the bottle.
  • Turn the kitchen iPod onto to something upbeat and dance-y.
  • Cook something easy but fragrant, like soup.
  • Wear a faded blue apron an old Russian lady gave you once upon a time a million years ago.
  • Put your hair up. Wash your hands. Take a swig of Two-Buck Chuck for proper attitude adjustment, and begin chopping vegetables.

Your iPod playlist can vary. Mine includes:

La La La – the Birds and the Bee
Upbeat flamenco (bulerias and alegrias) (various artists)
Aimee Mann selections
Beatles (any)
the Cabaret Soundtrack (original Broadway)
Manu Chao selections
Transglobal Underground selections
Squirrel Nut Zippers selections
Frank Sinatra
Steely Dan selections
The Sundays selections
Beck selections

Serve the soup. If they eat it or not, who cares. You’ve had yourself an hour’s free vacation; you’re happy and sweaty and you’re about to eat.

I’m starting to wonder how many great cooks out there enjoy this very activity. Have you?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam's Mom February 26, 2007 at 2:20 pm

It’s like you were reading my mind. I love coming home after a long day at work to fire up the stove, open a bottle of wine and cook up a delicious easy meal. All while listening to my favorite tunes. Sam occasionaly comes to help. He sips on his cup of blackberry juice, since it resembles red wine and he requests Living La Vida Loca. we have a blast and our reward is a warm meal with soem more wine or blackberry juice.


Stafford February 26, 2007 at 6:58 pm

I like to take the groceries that haven’t gone bad yet and make some miraculous meal. This turns me on on two axes: 1, there IS food in our homes, in spite of what we think, and 2 I can take dreck and make art.
http://todayeye.wordpress.com/ http://westernqueensland.wordpress.com/


sher February 27, 2007 at 12:42 am

Oh yes!! Been there! And I have played many of your favs on my ipod! Sinatra and Steely Dan are particular favorites of mine! We gotta kick back sometimes!


Adrienne February 28, 2007 at 5:56 pm

I don’t yet have nits and I keep my mp3 player at my desk. HOWEVER, I do have a CD player/radio (ancient, I know) on top of my fridge. If I’m not catching up on NPR while I cook, you can bet your booty I’m dancing and/or pouring a glass.
My mother passed along this tradition with her Bee Gees record. When I think of the kitchen I grew up in, I can’t help but picture my mom dancing to that bass-line in Jive Talkin’. Kitchen dancers–young and old–UNITE!


Bad Home Cook March 1, 2007 at 5:21 pm

Adrienne: What a lovely visual you paint…and I can’t think of a better childhood memory than one’s mom dancing happily around a warm kitchen. I hope my nits are taking note. Thanks!


niki March 9, 2007 at 6:50 am

Ha, I dance around the kitchen, in a faded polk-a-dot apron with my music blaring and a glass of wine in my hand, as I cook dinner too.
I thought I was the only one :).


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