Monday, March 9, 2009

//We're going to need a bigger bowl

Several months ago I asked the artist Ali Spagnola if she could paint me a picture of a shark eating a cupcake. I won't go into why it had to be a shark specifically; to tell you that story would keep you up well past your bedtime, and that'd be cruel. Just know that I lurve sharks as much as I love less ferocious, bloodthirsty animals, such as puppies and baby pandas (I'm aware I have eclectic tastes). Anyway. What should arrive in the mail last week? Why, a shark eating a cupcake!


Between the works I've purchased from Jessie at, gotten from Ali, and made myself, my cupcake-muffin art collection is growing at a pretty impressive rate!


  1. Hi Lindsay,

    So here's a question from someone who just learned to do what could even remotely called cooking a mere year and a half ago: How do you manage to cook so "elaborately" so often? Do you accumulate a variety of ingredients so that when you sit down to prepare a recipe, you happen to have all of them? I always felt that every time I wanted to cook something nice, it required a trip to the store and spending a fair amount of money on the ingredients I didn't have.


  2. An excellent question, Kira! And I'm more than happy to answer it. The short answer is that accumulating a variety of ingredients makes it possible for me to do what I do. Getting the "right" combination ingredients necessitates a much longer answer.

    Except during the holidays, I make it a point to buy ingredients for no more than 3 dishes each week. Because I live alone, I already know that 3 meals really translates into 7 or more. The inspiration to use the leftover ingredients often comes to me when I'm running: I'll think about what I have, what might sound good, and what can be made using the equipment I have. To have gotten to the point where I can just come up with an idea for a dish within a matter of minutes comes from 4 years of serious practice. As you continue to cook, your brain will integrate everything from preparation methods, to tastes, to recipes, to mistakes and total disasters. Everyone starts off spending a lot on food, either because they're tempted to make as many dishes as possible, or because they haven't yet developed the rhythm that comes from the aforementioned integration. I'm now at a point where I don't have to spend more than $60 on food a week. Sometimes I'll spend closer to $100 if I need to buy spices that I don't already own, or if I need to replenish an entire stock of staples (e.g. butter, flour, eggs), or if someone is having a party. In the end, I welcome the challenge of trying to make the most out of what I have; it's incredibly exciting!

    If it helps at all, you'll notice that my dishes tend to take on certain themes (e.g., green tea tiramisu, followed by green tea blueberry bread pudding a few days later; orange pear polenta cake and chocolate sandwich cookies with orange chocolate creme, then Jaffa Cake bread pudding). Green tea powder and orange marmalade helped transform leftover King's Hawaiian rolls (from when I made sliders) into two varieties of bread pudding. This week's muffin had the leftover (uncooked) pearl onions from the duck dish I made Sunday afternoon, along with asparagus I had planned on roasting, but hadn't gotten around to. The remaining bits of Serrano ham from the cantaloupe gazpacho also went into the muffins. The cod fish I used for the sliders came from a frozen pack of three, which I had purchased to make mung bean green curry. So on and so forth.

  3. Another tip: While it's not possible to get just 1 egg (unless you're raising hens), you can buy a lot of dry goods in bulk, and nuts too! Whole Foods has a pretty decent selection, and it's a lot cheaper to buy a pound of oats at .99 per pound than it is to buy the stuff in a canister that costs upwards of $2.00-3.00.

  4. Thanks! I'm currently in a homestay in Paris experiencing the joy of a real French mother's cooking, but I'll definitely take your tips to heart when I'm on my own again.