You can get by with a charming and rakish state of informality
September 21, 2020 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Now that the supermarket is no longer a festival of goodies but rather a militantly regimented prophylaxis hellscape, I dread going there. Now I try to avoid it. Now, when I do go, I try to plan and buy a week’s worth of groceries so that I won’t have to go back for a while. This doesn’t really work—it never works—for me, an incredibly disorganized person with cataclysmic ADHD Brain; this means that, once a week or so, I enter the late-afternoon pre-dinner period worrying because I accidentally forgot to perform some number of preparatory steps necessary to whatever insane dinner I’d wrongly thought I had the capacity to plan several days in advance. And this is when, reliably, I can open the refrigerator, peer around for a few seconds, and realize that for all my disorganization and chaos, I have the means to throw together a perfectly delicious frittata.

SLDefector, by Albert Burneko. Helpful recipe tips include:
By now your skillet should be very damn hot. That’s good! Chuck a small amount of your cooking fat in there and begin blistering the absolute shit out of your vegetables. It’s good to work in small batches here, for the sake of walloping these dang veggies with heat rather than steaming them in their own liquids. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and move them around in the pan with your implement of choice, now and again giving them a chance to sit still for a minute and pick up some browned color and caramelized flavor. Most of all, relax. Trust your senses. The vegetables will flare a bright green when they hit the heat; they’ll burst with aromas. Pluck one out and eat it after a few seconds; then again 30 seconds later. When they show signs of softening but aren’t quite yet fork tender, that’s when to get them out; they’ll soften a bit more between now and the end, all on their own. This, pals, is the absolute best kind of cooking: Loose, informal, involving a very hot pan and a trusty wooden spoon or silicone spatula and your even trustier senses and not much else. It’s going to be fine. You’re doing great.
posted by medusa (23 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
I admit to crying by the end
Your frittata is finished. Scatter that last pinch of herbs across the top. Cut yourself a slice. I have no rapturous closer, here. You turned what you had into a meal, and it tastes good and smells good and is nourishing and hot and it will keep you alive; you laid a plank and took another step, and tomorrow you can do it again. Eat slowly, chew carefully, and remember to breathe.
posted by medusa at 4:52 PM on September 21 [11 favorites]


His recipe write ups are always good.
posted by Carillon at 5:44 PM on September 21


I loved this. I eat frittatas all the time, but I never put them in the oven. I don't like really browned eggs, so I pour them in, crank the heat down to low on the stovetop and cover. A minute before it's done I throw some cheese in there if I'm doing cheese that day. When it's done, it's a perfectly eggy yellow color. So damned good. I already know what I'm doing for breakfast tomorrow....
posted by nevercalm at 5:46 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


I used to make frittatas all the time before I had kids; I'd shop for the week on Saturday or Sunday, and then on Friday I'd use up all the random vegetable scraps (half a bell pepper, part of a broccoli head) and make a frittata out of it.

Then I had three kids and had to shop 2-3 times a week and now I'm stuck in quarantine with 2 adolescent boys who are SHOOTING up (Mini McGee has three tiny mustache hairs, y'all, and he's very proud of them) while we only shop once a week, so I am cooking in football team quantities and there's never any leftover ANYTHING. If my kids would even agree to eat frittata! Children are so suspicious of "mixed food" like frittata and casserole and pot pie! (Which of course are the easiest to cook so of course they won't eat them.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:12 PM on September 21 [6 favorites]


"I don't like really browned eggs,"

You may need to adjust your oven racks; mine never brown in the oven, just puff and set. You may have the frittata too close to the top heating element. (My husband learned the oven racks adjust like last year, so no shame to anyone who didn't know rack position matters.) Or you may just have a shit oven! Mine can't broil to save its life.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:29 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]


Also regarding eggs in the oven- I feel you and this whole scenario can be avoided by adding like, half a cup to a cup of flour to your frittata (I use 8 eggs) and then you get something that’s more like a frittata loaf and there’s no risk of rubbery eggs.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 6:37 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]


Shit, I forgot to get salt for the third time in a row. SALT!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:51 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]


I would do this but since "going to the grocery store" has turned into "sitting fearfully outside the plague playground waiting for the groceries I ordered online to be brought out in reusable plastic bags that can never be brought back," I can no longer paw through the egg cartons for the one that expires in more than three days' time, which would force me to plan my frittata-ing and defeat the entire purpose.
posted by darksasami at 6:51 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


Now, when I do go, I try to plan and buy a week’s worth of groceries so that I won’t have to go back for a while.

One week? Amateur. I buy for four weeks at a time. Two shopping carts filled to overflowing.
posted by escabeche at 7:05 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]


You will need eggs, probably somewhere between four and eight of them, depending on how big your skillet is.

Also, this guy definitely does not have kids because I can tell you I have never made a frittata that didn't use all twelve eggs in the carton.
posted by escabeche at 7:07 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]


Finally, a cooking post I find relatable!
posted by Lonnrot at 10:03 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


Escabeche, I order groceries for a month and a half. So go us. People lose it on me for not constantly buying fresh food, but the less contact with humans, the better.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:12 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]


A handful of potatoes will be great, even as this edges you into tortilla española territory
I have met Spanish people who would absolutely fight someone in the street over a statement like this. Cheese in a tortilla would be wrong, taxonomically incorrect, offensive to cultural heritage, and maybe heretical. Which is the opposite of the philosophy of cooking on display here (which I happen to ascribe to):
This, pals, is the absolute best kind of cooking: Loose, informal, involving a very hot pan and a trusty wooden spoon or silicone spatula and your even trustier senses and not much else
Informal frittata, it means no worries, for the rest of your days...
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:14 PM on September 21 [9 favorites]


The return of Foodspin, or whatever he’s calling these posts is one of the main reasons I ponied up for Defector. I’m not a huge frittata fan, leaning more towards the Spanish tortilla end of things, but I love his writing.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:44 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


My veggie leftovers usually end up as fried rice, but a frittata sounds nice too.
posted by Harald74 at 1:39 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


There is an entire spectrum of easy egg-based dishes, with frittata, tortilla españole, omelet, fried potatoes with egg, and a whole bunch more as options depending on what ingredients are actually at hand. I do the same as the author, putting it in the oven after pouring in the egg; I have found that more predictable and easier than doing it all on the stovetop.

but since "going to the grocery store" has turned into "sitting fearfully outside the plague playground waiting for the groceries

My experience has been different, and the grocery store is one of the least scary spaces I have to go into. At least at my local store, mask wearing is better than 99%, at least at the times I go it isn't crowded, they have people cleaning all the time, and it's easy to go through the whole thing without any close contact whatsoever. I had to go to a medical appointment the other day, and even though everyone was wearing masks and so on, it was still three and sometimes four people together in a room the size of my closet for 40 minutes.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:11 AM on September 22 [3 favorites]


Re iceberg lettuce: Challenge accepted, wilted lettuce frittata after the next monthly grocery store nightmare.
posted by joeyh at 6:19 AM on September 22


I thought this post was going to be about supermarkets - "militantly regimented prophylaxis hellscape" - really?
posted by Billiken at 7:24 AM on September 22


Trying to figure out where the rest of his food writing lives. This was a lot of fun.
posted by bunderful at 7:36 AM on September 22


as a not-cooker I nonetheless love to read descriptions of cooking as it reminds me of the days when I used to be able, as a not-cooker, to ever eat something that tasted halfway decent.

But yeah I'm with Dip Flash -- the grocery store is a voluminous place, sparsely populated at 9:30 or 10 pm (when I visit), with ample air circulation and mask protocols and sanitizers and one-way aisles. It is hundreds of miles ahead of basically anywhere else indoors, and basically the only place I ever actually go at all. I try to go less often than I used to in the Before Times -- which was like, literally every single day and sometimes twice -- but yeah.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:45 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


My grocery store even has a temperature scanner at the entrance that displays everyone in heat vision on a giant tv screen with a temperature displayed above their heads. (Granted I have no idea what happens if your temp is high). So yeah, it feels pretty safe to me! I have adjusted my habits - no more multi-store shopping trips to save money - but I feel pretty okay going to one store for like 40 mins once a week.
posted by misskaz at 3:41 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


This is a new genre of Adventure Story.

Instead of reading about painfully carving steps into the side of the Antarctic crevasse the author had tumbled 30 feet down into on his quest to find the dry valley where Emperor Penguins drag themselves to die when they sense the end is near, we are treated to an account of going to the fridge and preparing a surprisingly tasty meal from unpromising ingredients in language that would seem overheated in a description of space aliens landing in the back yard.

Such, such are the joys . . .
posted by jamjam at 5:04 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


My grocery store even has a temperature scanner at the entrance that displays everyone in heat vision on a giant tv screen with a temperature displayed above their heads. (Granted I have no idea what happens if your temp is high)

I assume you get hunted by the Predator. Covid counts as carrying a weapon.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:09 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


« Older Bras   |   Longcat was long Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments