Kitchen Think

Why Kitchen Think?

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We ought to think before using our mouths… before things go in, and before things come out. What we eat (ingress) and what we say (egress) tend to have effects that transcend the moment.

Eating French Fries at lunch might be just the indulgence that marks a transition from a really bad morning to a better afternoon. Eating fries every day is probably a marker of a less than healthy relationship with food, and a predictor of a gradual transition toward medical diagnoses that no one really wants.

In a very unscientific random sampling of one, I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing goes better with a meal than a big helping of conversation. What better time to ponder life’s meaning than while cooking and eating. Plus, thinking in the kitchen and at the table provides a second sort of sustenance, one that nourishes emotionally and intellectually. Thanks to the global supermarket a chef’s salad probably contains a few current events – so there’s always fodder for chat. Good conversation is yang to food’s ying.

Kitchen Think is my way of bringing assorted chairs to a virtual table. It’s the online version of AndyFood – the culinary studio I owned for a dozen years. A kitchen is a place to create, share, collaborate, taste, laugh, get misty-eyed (from chopping onions or coping with life), and bring life (in the joie de vivre sense) to our day-to-day existence. My kitchen will always be a studio, because cooking is art.

The Slow Food movement embodies a food-as-art sensibility (or ideal) with the goal that we ought to prepare food with more in mind than calories, nutrients, and profit. Even a sandwich can be an ephemeral bit of edible art. A person can be inspired, or inspirational in a kitchen without actually cooking. Be the bringer of wine, flowers, or history-infused salt from the Dead Sea you happened upon at Harrods and bought with me in mind (it happened, thank you Jan Johnson). Make brilliant conversation or help with the cleanup.

Cooking is a therapeutic blend of repetition and creativity. When I’m alone in the kitchen the voices you hear are probably form a classic black and white movie. Audrey Hepburn has spent a lot of time in my kitchen, along with most of the Avengers and a lot of hobbits. When I make chili or quesadillas I invite Mexico to my table and I embrace a culture different from the one I inherited. When I eat Salade Niçoise or make my own vadouvan I’m a bit French, unless you’re French, and then I’m an American who speaks French like Miss Piggy.

I’m not sure I can have an authentic Zen moment since I’m not a Buddhist, but when I cook I often find myself very much in the moment, able to appreciate the ingredients and the process, and taking great pleasure creating something that’s more than the sum of it’s parts.

This blog lets me share my thoughts with you whenever I “Kitchen Think.”

A few disclaimers:

  • I’m not a dietician or nutritionist. Make your own decisions about what’s best and healthiest for you to eat. Better yet, ask your doctor.
  • Don’t use a kitchen tool or piece of equipment if you don’t know how. You could hurt yourself or damage things. I’m not necessarily suggesting you follow my every lead. And, it’s the 21st century – there’s an online tutorial for just about anything.
  • I enjoy a bit of irony and sarcasm in my humor – and I enjoy humor. Don’t take what I say personally. That said; if I’ve caused offense please accept my apologies. If I repeatedly cause offense, maybe we’re not compatible. There’s no way I can make everyone happy – and if I constantly tried I’d be awfully boring.
  • Comments: If you’re profane or hateful your comments won’t be posted. My blog – my rules.


AndyFood / Andy Broder

What’s in a name …

I taught my first cooking class in 1998, right after I completed culinary school. Between 2003 and 2014 I spent my days and a fair number of evenings at AndyFood my house-kitchen-on-steroids-size cooking school. I called AndyFood a culinary studio because I wanted it to be a place where people learn, experiment, and explore the sweet spot where food, art, and science merge.

My home kitchen is my only kitchen now, and this feels right. It’s still a bit of a studio, huge stainless steel tool chest and all. Thanks to people who think electronics and semiconductors are exciting (and who understand how to make such things coalesce into a blog) I can continue to share what goes on in my kitchen and at my table.

During my AndyFood years I cooked thousands of recipes with a pretty good cross-section of America, plus international visitors. I had the luxury to observe, in a Jane Goodall sense, how regular people cook when left to their own devices and/or when they think nobody’s looking.

The biggest unanswered question? Why do so many people cook in flip-flops? Knives get dropped and boiling liquids get spilled. Put on some real shoes!

Every class at AndyFood started with a demonstration. This put me on stage for about half an hour. When you’re standing in front of an audience silence tends to be awkward, so while the food simmered or browned I did my best to be entertaining. As I talked about ingredients and techniques I told stories, discussed current events, or shared food trivia.  Kitchen Think is now my stream of consciousness blend of food and whatever’s going on in my head and the world.

Want to know more?  I’m a native Arizonan. I was an attorney before I went to the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. I did my culinary externship at the Los Angeles Times in the Food Section. I wrote a weekly post for the Phoenix New Times’ Chow Bella food blog for about two years – where I was told to get to the point, not tell a story, and where I could link to recipes but not put them in my posts. Expect me to do a 180 on each of these “suggestions.”   Last, a confession: I don’t like cilantro, anise/licorice, and tarragon. They’re all perfectly fine ingredients; just don’t expect to see them in my recipes.

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The Dinner Party is not Dead

In the not too distant past, with the sort of trepidation ultimately remedied by reality and hindsight, I worked up the nerve to tell my husband that it was time to close my cooking school. Right after he silently said a spiritual sort of “Oh thank god” (that I intuited more than heard) he asked what plans I had for stage-next. I said that among the things I wanted to do was entertain at home … to have dinners … to host parties where people had great conversations.

“You want a salon!” he said.

He was right, but “salon” sounds a little fussy – even to me. So, my parties will be get-togethers, suppers, tapas and wine, and occasionally something a bit fancier. Via Kitchen Think I’ll share my food and my thoughts on the endless intersections between food, feasting, and those bits of the world that work their way onto the table or into mealtime conversation.

Having people over shouldn’t be stressful. MY goal is to appreciate the joy of a family meal, dinner with friends, or a long Saturday lunches that morph into wine on balcony.

Is there such a thing as a salon of one?

We shall see…

Sorta Slow - Sorta Easy: Everyday Good

Ritual is my one-word mnemonic for what Slow Food is all about – at least for me. My rituals incorporate the following:

  • Respect for what I eat, which is a sort of self respect
  • Attention to detail when I cook
  • Moderation in general as opposed to a seesaw of binge and denial
  • Manners – with regard to shopping, cooking, serving and eating
  • Sharing all of the preceding sensibilities, and the fruits of such, with others

Often, ritual means nothing more than taking the time to do something the right way. For me injecting something new, seasonal, or unpracticed is part of the ritual.

As much as I enjoy cooking I’m a little lazy when it comes to shopping. This translates into a sort of self-imposed challenge to turn ingredients I have on hand into food I’ll like.

I’ve evolved (or I’m evolving) into a flexitarian, as awkward as that label can be, so I’m eating less meat. I aspire to a diet that’s healthy enough in general to accommodate small daily offerings to my sweet tooth. This means my food-centric posts will often touch on 1) healthy/healthier recipes, 2) veg(etari)an recipes, 3) what’s trending, and  4) splurges.


6° (of separation between food and everything) ... Stories, Raves & Rants

The concept of six degrees of separation did not begin in Hollywood.  In 1929 Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story based on the concept that everyone and everything is related. “Related” is a relative term, and in this case means “has something in common” within six or less reference points.

is my shorthand for the concept that everything is (apparently) just a tangent away from the goings-on in my kitchen. It grants a sort of license for me to explore the sort of ironies and contrasts that give rise to balancing acts between concepts like moderation and abundance; tradition and whimsy; manners and honesty. Why do so many vegetarians want food that looks and tastes like meat? Isn’t that eating meat in effigy? Is that ok?

I also look forward to telling you about some of my family’s culinary proclivities. I think they’re pretty funny. With luck I’ll be able to share some lore and avoid being disowned.


Kitchen Hacks: Techniques & Tips

This is a category for short posts with info that ups your game in the kitchen, makes your entertaining easier (and hopefully more frequent), or makes cleanup easier.

Culinary science is 90% common sense and 10% science that’s taught in grade school. Once you understand the reason behind a rule you gain a sort of culinary power. It’s easy to remember practical, common sense sorts of things.

Common sense is kitchen science for regular people.

Food Porn

Everyone likes to sneak a peek at intimate pics – even if the sexy organic matter is food.

Thanks to the great high res camera on my iPhone 6 I can snap and post pics in a snap (that’s 2 snaps up if you’re counting.) Sometimes I snap on a close-up lens – but rarely.

Flowers? They belong on my table and in my kitchen (and if edible in my food…) so expect a few flower pics on this page.


Look to the Kitchen Think Facebook and Twitter feeds for current snack-size posts.

If it makes me snort in Sheldon-like haughty derision, this is where I’ll share.

If it makes me close my eyes so I can appreciate the incredible aroma I’ll share that as well.

I’ll show you my slow (meals) and post what I’m eating, liking, and stuffing into already-to-heavy luggage because I buy food in jars, tins and bottles when I travel.

If it’s on a table, in a kitchen, or at a market it’s fair game.