Finding a unique niche in food writing is tricky. Some of the best food scribes start with a narrow view, and along the way make it accessible to a much larger crowd. Case in point: Big Girls Small Kitchen, the work of two 27-year-old women who created a concept they call “A Guide to Quarter Life Cooking.”
Phoebe Lapine and Cara Eisenpress started pushing the idea of cooking for those of tender years in 2008, a year after they graduated from Brown and Harvard. That was three years ago, which is a very long time ago when you’re in the first-quarter of life.
(You know you’re dealing with a young duo when they look back on their sources of inspiration and say, “…our high school was very creative-minded.”)
But, ageist observations aside, the whole concept is a good one. Even with the barrage of foodie shows now being broadcast, there’s not been much useful info geared to younger adults who want to cook for friends, family and themselves. This isn’t Cooking for Young Dummies, it could more accurately be called Good Food Without Pretense.
One of my favorite innovations by Lapine and Eisenpress is a recipe categorizing system headed “When You’re Short Of…” followed by categories for Money, Time, Space, Skill. It’s not unlike the Julia Child approach–take the nervous out of the prep and it all works better.
Now the Big Girls are getting attention from a much larger audience with the debut of their cookbook: In The Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes From Our Year of Cooking in the Real World (William Morrow/Harper Collins).
Watch out Mark Bittman, I may have a new foodie bookmark that comes before yours on my regular-reading list.