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Article

In town? Get in the kitchen!

First course (lobbied for by me): broiled sardines atop heirloom beans with preserved Meyer lemon and tarragon

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I love it when people come to visit me, especially when the guest is as obsessed with food as I am; it always means lots of excuses to eat well. This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting Young Will, as I call him, a fellow Fine Cooking test kitchen alum who is now living in Las Vegas. Because we first bonded in a kitchen back in Connecticut, it seemed only fitting to cook with him again here in San Francisco. So I threw a dinner party in Will’s honor…and “volunteered” him to help.

As we worked to put the meal together, I realized how rewarding it is to share a kitchen with another seasoned cook. Even in the planning stage, it’s exciting to debate the menu (sometimes vociferously) and create a lineup that’s reflective of not one, but two imaginations. Later, in the thick of prep, there’s something beautiful in what isn’t said – in knowing what each person’s duties are, in hearing nothing but the quiet rhythm of chopping, and in punctuating it here and there with an inside joke or two. Physically, there’s that efficient, practical dance in maneuvering out of each others’ way that makes the kitchen feel like a well-oiled machine. And though I’m not a competitive person, there is unquestionably a sense of wanting to live up to the other person’s standards – with an equal dose of ribbing and teasing to balance it out. But most of all, there’s a sense of trust in the other cook…that they’re going to pull off their dish, and help you if you get behind, and you know that you’ll do the same for them.     

Although the food that night was good, and the company even better, the most satisfying part of the meal took place in the kitchen rather than at the table. And though it had been almost a year since Will and I had hung out, it felt as if not a day had passed since we were testing recipes in the Fine Cooking test kitchen. I can’t think of a better way to catch up with each other.

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  • User avater
    SharonAnderson | 04/29/2009

    awww. dabs & will back together again :) that's how it feels when my mom and i cook together--but we're usually blasting akon or kanye and dancing (not so practically) around the kicthen. so much for quiet noises of chopping and sizzling...

  • User avater
    Tyler_M | 04/27/2009

    I know all about "maneuvering out of the other person's way." That's my signature move in the "practical dance."

  • User avater
    LisaWaddle | 04/27/2009

    Ah Will, still letting Dabs boss you around, eh?

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