31 Days in the Kitchen

Five things I learned from the Pioneer Woman.

The Pioneer Woman is my second-favorite show on the Food Network (after Ina). I love her style of cooking and how she’s just as much of a blogger and writer as she is a chef. Her cookbooks have these amazing step-by-step pictorial instructions and her first one gets a spot on my bookshelf near my kitchen table.

PW2

PW1

Here are some things I’ve learned from her:

  1. Cooking is best when it’s simple, but not easy. Usually the best recipes are not easy, but simple (see also: potage parmentier and Things Julia Child Taught Me). Many of PW’s recipes are simple but not easy. For example, I made her recipe for black bean burgers one night. It was a simple recipe but by no means an easy one—I could have made a ton of things easier than those burgers. But they were delicious.
  2. You probably need an ice cream maker. And a super-cute custom KitchenAid mixer. And a flat whisk. And a FitBit (to counteract the ice cream and all the recipes that include heavy cream, half and half, and butter). But also: you don’t. What you have works, too.
  3. Blogging works best when you post often, with lots of photos, and in your real voice. (And for 31 days straight. Right? Right.) And sometimes you should just post photos of your dogs. Give the people what they want.
  4. Use real-person ingredients. (Not people themselves. Whoa. No. I mean ingredients that a real person would have. Sheesh. That got weird.) Let’s be real: I love Ina Garten a lot, but she’s always tossing in ingredients that I would never buy or have. Usually it’s specialty alcohols that I know would make the recipe better (if only because Ina is always right), but come on. I appreciate sticking to the basics.
  5. Butter. Just don’t even worry about it. Put it in/on all the things.
The Pioneer Woman's strawberry oat bars. So easy and delicious.
The Pioneer Woman’s strawberry oat bars. So easy and delicious.
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