Saturday Sun 02.24.24

Created by Laura Wright
An overhead shot shows a whippet chihuahua mix dog sleeping in a little curl on a blanket.

Hello and happy Saturday to you. I’m celebrating my birthday on Monday, so we’re taking a slightly indulgent long weekend. It’s Cleo’s birthday too 🥰. Lots of rain and above-seasonal temperatures are in the forecast, which I don’t mind. We will likely pop out for a little café outing, have a fun takeout dinner with my family, and do all the usual laundry, dog walks, grocery shopping etc. Also I think we’re going bowling with Mark’s family at some point, which should be interesting since I haven’t bowled since I was a teen I think. Overall pretty chill and quiet, just how I like it!

It’s only the end of February, but I’m already feeling that strong urge to Spring clean. I’ve been looking in the back of our cupboards, trying to use things up, going through stuff in the garage, and sorting through clothes and outerwear. Just trying to make way for new energy and the pursuits of longer and warmer days ahead. I hope that you’re keeping well lately! Take care ♥️

5 Things I’m Reading:

  1. Create like your life depends on it
  2. It’s Giving: GenZ Groceries
  3. ‘My life will be short. So on the days I can, I really live’: 30 dying people explain what really matters
  4. Is It Just Me Or Is Every Food Brand Super Thirsty?
  5. The Revolution That Died on Its Way to Dinner

5 Things I’m Enjoying:

  1. Watching season 2 of Welcome to Wrexham and have teared up multiple times.
  2. Can every pizza place do this please?
  3. Loving Adriana Tudorache’s slow living content on YouTube
  4. Great, concise explainer: why some veg freeze better than others and the best way to do it at home
  5. We watched Past Lives last weekend, a beautiful meditation on the choices we make as humans in relationships.

5 Questions:

  1. I noticed in your recipes that you use a lot of shallots instead of onions. Is there much of a difference between shallots and onions in cooking?
    I do love the shallots! I go through a large Costco box every month. Shallots tend to be a bit sweeter and not as sharp tasting as regular onions. I think the milder flavour works nicely with all of the spices, herbs, and umami-rich ingredients that I usually incorporate. In terms of my regular, everyday cooking at home (away from the blog), the smaller size of a shallot is often handy as I’m usually just cooking for two people. My most frequently made shallot recipe is the caper shallot dressing from this asparagus niçoise-style salad! The milder, slightly sweeter flavour really makes a difference in vinaigrettes.
  2. What do you do with all of the recipes you are testing? Do you share the tester meals with others? Do you eat it all yourself? How much food waste do you produce as a food blogger?
    I tend to work on my recipes over very long periods of time, using them for our real life meals and making notes in a notion table as I go. Just as an example: For the last couple months, I’ve been making and tweaking a smoothie recipe a couple times a week that I will be posting soon. The same goes for soup, pasta dishes, sides, sheet pan meals, dressings, sauces etc. In these instances, we are eating the tests as our regular meals/as part of our regular meals or as leftover lunches. I’m also not pumping out a ton of recipes on here–just one a week, maybe two during the prime holiday season. Focusing on one really good recipe per week helps with keeping the volume of prepped food down in the house. Also I don’t say this to brag, but I’ve been cooking at home and in professional settings for so long that I rarely make something that is truly inedible. Of course, sometimes there are some failures that need to go in the green bin unfortunately (usually baking recipe tests for me). Do I get sick of eating/working on certain dishes after a while? Yes definitely, but it’s part of food blogging and taking the recipe development part seriously.
  3. Do you very often just get fed-up with food and have to turn your back on it for a while?
    Yep, more often than you’d think! The peak era of the pandemic really tamped down my enthusiasm for cooking. I’d say there was a period of about a year where cooking felt like a struggle almost every time. I had a mental block around making dinners, ate more takeout than I ever have in my life, and just could not motivate myself to approach cooking with enthusiasm or even a bit of curiosity. We were having long conversations about whether I could continue this line of work! Luckily it was a phase and it not only gave me a new perspective on our everyday home cooking, but it also clarified some intentions around the recipes that I share. Focusing on the blog community and email subscription has really brought back the spark for creating recipes (and also some balance in my life). Spending less time on social media, reddit, and food media sites has made a big difference too. Cooking is like any creative endeavour: sometimes you need a true break from it to keep the inspiration alive.
  4. Do you eat out very often? When you do, are you looking for inspiration or just a tasty, healthy meal?
    We get takeout once a week and we dine out probably every other week or so. In both situations, I’m mostly just looking forward to a date night/time with family and also not thinking about cooking/cleaning up after. Sometimes it can be that simple! Of course I do find inspiration when we eat out sometimes, and that is wonderful! We dined at Taverne Bernhardt’s recently and the vegetable dishes made me so happy.
  5. About tasting as you cook: do you taste at every stage? Is that critical? Or just at the end?
    For something like a soup/stew, braise, curry, risotto, or pasta sauce, I’m tasting it pretty often and seasoning with salt and pepper gradually over time. I learned recently (from Cook’s Illustrated) that it actually takes a long time for salt to fully dissolve and integrate with a dish properly. For this reason, they didn’t recommend only seasoning something with salt at the very end of cooking, but doing it in stages throughout. I try to write my recipes in a way that encourages folks to season as they go. For elements like heat, sweetness, and acidity, I feel fine adjusting at the end of the cooking process.
24/02/2024

12 comments

  • Grace

    Happy happy birthday! Have a great day, love Saturday sun XXX

    • Laura Wright

      Thank you so much, Grace!

  • Allison

    I have pretty much left social media … FB years ago and more recently Instagram. So I’m happy to keep up with you via your newsletter … though I miss tip Thursday!

  • Heather Heagney

    Another great newsletter, Laura! I also loved Past Lives – I actually wrote a review of it on my Substack – I added the link in this comment form if you want to check it out

  • Elizabeth

    Happy Birthday, Laura! I hope you enjoy your weekend! I always enjoy checking in with your Saturday Sun on the weekend, and look forward to your recipe posts each week. Your site is definitely the place I cook from most and the recipes most often on repeat. Thank you for everything you bring to this site!

  • Caitríona

    Happy Birthday, Laura!
    May you have a magnificent day (and a fabulous year ahead)!

    • Laura Wright

      Thank you so much Caitríona! :)
      -L

  • Amy

    Yay, Past Lives! it is my favorite movie from last year and definitely in my top all-time lists. I have seen it 3 times and I take somethings new away from each time. Seeing a scene differently than I did the first time. Appreciate hearing your recipe process. I also love the changes you made as a content consumer. I love the community vibe you have with Saturday Sun and e-mail subscription. I also appreciate your efforts for more simple and basic recipes as I went through a similar phase during and after the pandemic. I still don’t like to cook – mostly it’s the cleaning after I think and how I want to prioritize my evening after work. Just wanted you know to know that me and likely other readers love it too. Also Happy Birthday fellow water sign!

    • Laura Wright

      Thank you, Amy! It might be my favourite movie that came out last year too. And I think that cleaning is a major hurdle for lots of folks when it comes to cooking–you’re definitely not alone in that one! I personally get in moods with it, and it always motivates me to work on more one-pan or baking sheet-style suppers.
      -L

  • Lauren

    Ugh that whole thing about cultivated meat is so awful. What a waste of resources that could have been put to use actually feeding people with the healthiest food out there: plants.
    They could have spent money promoting a plant forward shift and given grants to small scale local farmers and helped eliminate food deserts. It’s just sad and wasteful.
    On a brighter note, LOVED the Adriana Tudorache cosy slow YouTube rec!! That is totally my jam :)
    As always, a really wonderful Saturday Sun! I love reading this every weekend, thank you!!

  • Liz W.

    Great NYT article. Reminds me of Elizabeth Holmes’ company. Pretty depressing though! I was excited about the prospects of converting meat eaters to eating humane, lab grown meat. Seems like the road will not be so easy, however. I know quite a few people who say they could go without meat, yet never do, even when an impossible burger is on the menu. Makes me batty – don’t you realize a sentient being gave its life for you to eat that??? It’s difficult for me to respect meat eaters’ choices.

  • Nancy

    Happy Birthday Laura!
    Thank you for your wonderful recipes and sharing so much valuable and entertaining information – I always learn so much. I truly look forward to the Saturday Sun each week!