Julie Powell — the author and Julie of Julie & Julia — cooked 524 recipes in 365 days. That’s small potatoes compared to Brooklyn’s Cathy Erway, a twenty-something-year-old hipster who ate nothing from restaurants, take-out spots, or street-stands from September 2006 through September 2008. (The project began in an effort to save money, but it turned into a deeper exploration and appreciation of food.) Erway kept a blog of her culinary experiences, which is about to be released as a book, February 18: The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove.
I started following reading Erway’s blog senior year of college, as I faced losing campus cafeteria food. While she’s generally a fantastic cook, it was her honesty about kitchen misadventures that kept me hooked — like The Scotch Bonnet Black Beans Disaster of 2008. Her blog posts, with titles like “Reason For Not Eating Out #39: Because the Hair In My Food Is Always Mine,” is more than a string of recipes and pretty pictures; they show a coming-of-age through food.
Inspired by her book, I experimented with baking pita bread. I added some sourdough starter to the basic recipe (from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) for flavor. Then I let the dough rise for two hours, separated it into eight pieces, and rolled out each into a circle with a rolling pin. After just a few minutes in the oven, they puffed up and began to resemble little air-filled whoopie cushions. Slightly charred but still very delicious whoopie cushions.
So, my reason for not eating out #1: Because even the mistakes are tasty.
– Jess Jiang