When I asked folks to contribute recipes, stories or whatnot to this, I thought a category called You Poor Baby might be a helpful prompt. When Megan Craig wrote in with this pancake recipe courtesy of Gwyneth Paltrow, it occurred to me that Gwyneth may well regard all comers as poor babies, and that that should be the title of her next cookbook. You Poor Babies: Extravagant, Aspirational Recipes That Will Make You Feel Lost, Fraudulent, and Loveless. Just a thought.
Here’s Megan on Gwyneth’s vegan pancakes:
I like cooking but I don’t like recipes. They take too long to read and they confuse me because I’m often trying to adjust the quantities. I like to read recipe books at night before bed, when it has nothing to do with cooking. This is a time of day when I also like to look at maps. If you have children, recipe books are even more insane. Especially if they are written by Gwyneth Paltrow. We have her book with her glossy blond face on the cover. She is smiling at me. Her recipes are infuriating, but sometimes they work out. What doesn’t work out is vegan pancakes. Here’s what you do: take something that’s not milk – the farther removed from milk the better. Pour it into a bowl with millet or quinoa or some other ancient grain that is not related to wheat in any way shape or form. Add something sweet but not sugar. Dates are good. Mush them up and dump them in. Combine 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of baking powder (or maybe it’s the reverse) and stir that in until you see bubbles. Add an egg substitute, like applesauce. Mix in some tiny bits of kale because it’s good for your skin. Now you should have a thin, dribbly liquid that you can spoon onto a hot griddle smothered with a non-butter margarine or coconut oil. Watch the pancakes pool and simmer. Turn them over when they are a dark greenish brown. Serve them hot without butter and with a dipping sauce made from sand and dew and watch your kids gobble them up. Seriously, your kids will be instantly blond and tan and beaming like they have been touched by god or retouched by Instagram. For a really great time, add a soy/kombu smoothie on the side.
Situated on perhaps the other end of the spectrum from Gwyneth Paltrow is Alex Sumberg, who wrote in with the following advice:
Some general tips:
Cook steak in the oven rather than grill it
Mix salsa instead of mayonnaise with canned tuna
Alex on breakfast:
I am very lazy in the morning and I hate, hate, hate, will not do, never will I make breakfast in the morning. But a growing boy needs fuel so I take like this gross green vegetable powder I have, a little protein powder (for strength, and the false promise that I can get RIPPED drinking that instead of going to the gym), fruits, other weird vitamins I have at house, chia seeds sometimes and blend it up to make something that usually makes my morning blood surge, and then makes me poop almost immediately.
So lazy am I that I can’t be bothered with making coffee (plus I live in Hawaii so hot coffee just makes me start sweating, anyway you see the problem) so what I have started doing is just putting the ground coffee straight into the blender with the rest.
The shake thing is a single guy diet standard. A direct real life relative of those drinks you always see 80’s tough guy movie stars making after a long night out. They always had nine eggs and some booze in it. Mine is more wholesome (as in no booze) and healthy (no eggs: high-cholesterol). The coffee part was a creative revelation. I think it would be better if you used actual brewed coffee (preferably cold and a day old, as to not defeat the whole purpose of the thing).
I was talking to someone today about this, and I was talking about my other famous recipe, which is called eggs in a hole. You take bread, cut a hole in the middle (best method is using an overturned wine glass pushed into bread and turned slightly back and forth until a perfect circular piece is cut). You butter the pan, but bread in there for like 5 seconds, then break one egg into center hole. Wait for it to bubble. It’s all about timing. Then flip it and you need to land it perfectly. You then push down with spatula around side of hole to “seal” in the egg. If you do it wrong the yolk breaks and runs everywhere. When egg looks done, you want it to remain runny, you add pepper a little salt maybe or whatever, then spatula it up and serve.
My lunch companion said she used to do that but instead of bread she used a thin slice of meatloaf. Which sounds more delicious. You could top it with grilled onions or vegetables or bacon.