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We Got Something To Say

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Hello! We have a little announcement: We are thrilled (and slightly terrified) (but mostly thrilled) to tell you that Pen & Palate is going to be a book! It will be an illustrated coming-of-age story, and it will have recipes, and, thanks to our amazing and badass agent Brettne Bloom, Grand Central Publishing (HELLO) is putting it out in 2016. Yay!

When we started this thing a little over a year ago, no one read it, not even our moms. We did it to amuse ourselves, as a creative outlet outside of our day jobs, and we never imagined anyone else would actually be interested in hearing about our kitchen disasters. So it is with the sincerest gratitude that we say thank you to everyone reading this blog—for your comments, your suggestions, and your support!

 

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HO HO HO!

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Let’s talk about the holidays, shall we? Being a godless heathen myself, I spend Christmas day at my favorite Szechuan restaurant trying to selfishly gobble up all the salt and pepper triple seafood delight before my boyfriend can beat me to it. Afterward, we roll ourselves home and usually watch a good movie like Beverly Hills Cop or Coming to America (In my world, Good Movie=Eddie Murphy Movie, apparently).

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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Illustration: Tram Nguyen

Illustration: Tram Nguyen

 

One thing that happens when a person works from home is that “getting dressed” becomes a highly relative term. For instance, right now I consider myself dressed because I am wearing sporty leggings and a tank top, so if there was a fire I would be able to leave the house fairly quickly (once I put on shoes). But as “looks” go, it falls somewhere along the cat mom/occasional jogger spectrum, and it is not an aberration.

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Hunger Games

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What are you doing this weekend? The Chicago-based half of Pen & Palate will be attending the 10th Annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest, the biggest apple pie contest in the country, clad in my finest pair of elastic-waist stretchy pants, chowing down on some homemade baked goods. And since Lucy can’t make it because she lives in some place called New York City (here in the Midwest, we refer to anything east of Gary, Indiana as “flyover country”), where such wonders do not exist, I will be eating for two. Sacrifices, etc.

I nearly gave myself an aneurysm last year, not finishing my apple pies until 3 AM, the morning of the contest (I think it lent a sense of urgency in the finished pies, which I believe worked in my favor), but that shouldn’t stop you from entering! Last year, they had upwards of 2,000 people show up. This year, who knows? Perhaps famous Chicagoans Kanye West and Billy Corgan will make an appearance. You know who else is from Chicago? A certain President of the United States of America. Just saying.

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Conspicuous Consumption

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A couple of weeks ago, I got a mysterious text message from my friend Soo. “Skillets and frying pans are 40% off sticker!” it read. I was confused. Last I checked Soo was on vacation in Africa, and why would she be shopping for cookware directly before getting on an international flight? Have they started selling pots and pans in duty free? After a few follow-up questions, Soo revealed she was actually in Rhode Island, at the Le Creuset outlet, offering to buy me a cast-iron skillet. I was incredibly touched. Anyone who would spot you $80 bucks* and then lug a 15-pound pan across state borders—all in the name of a good deal!—is obviously a true friend. Read more

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The French Montana

Pen & Palate The French Montana Cocktail

Illustration: Tram Nguyen

 

Let’s talk baby names. I’m not pregnant, nor do I plan to be any time soon (Can you hear that *creeaaaakkkk*? That’s my empty womb calling out to you.), but I’m at that age where everyone I know is either popping out babies or just about to. The topic of what to name a child has been on the forefront of my mind lately. Every so often, I like to run an up-to-date list by Lucy, just to get a rise out of her. Some recent candidates: DRose, Theory, the letter “K”, and James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. After Lucy asks what the hell is wrong with me and voices concerns about the welfare of my hypothetical children, I usually reconsider. Any kid of mine is most likely going to be an awkward, artsy, weirdo, and they’ll have a rough enough time as it is, so perhaps it would be better to not saddle him or her with a ridiculous name as well.

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Friday Links

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Hi, happy Friday, what are you up to this weekend? Lucy has a birthday, after which she has big plans to turn into a cobweb and disappear forever. That’s in addition to: eating Japanese food, eating Chinese food, eating cake, drinking wine, eating more cake, drinking several beers, etc. Rob I hope you’re reading this (hint: bake me a cake). According to the internet, other people on this planet will be doing things like drinking Cheez-It cocktails, ordering from the secret Mister Softee menu(???), and more. Check it out after the jump. Tell us fun things in the comments. Read more