It is my pleasure to come to you today with some foundational advice on how to go slow in your kitchen. We can get into the nitty gritty in posts to come, but these here are my four basics for getting started.
1. Stop buying random kitchen crap. If you're looking for a list of things to buy, you've come to the wrong list! To make great food in your very own kitchen, you really don't need much more than a few basic items (i.e. great knife, a cutting board, a good pan, a wooden spoon). Some of my favorite food heroes of the past 20 years taught me that you can make food miracles without fancy gadgets (see: Laurie Colwin and Julie Powell). Garlic press? See ya. Microwave? Wouldn't wanna be ya. The less stuff you buy, the less stuff ends up in the landfill.
2. Go meatless and dairy-less one day a week. A recent study showed that the best way to lower your carbon footprint is to cut out meat and dairy just once a week. A good time to remember that there are things that taste good, even if they don't have heritage/local/sustainable bacon in them. Seriously, I didn't believe it either but it turns out it's true. My two favorite vegetarian cookbooks: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Fields of Greens.
3. Compost. I live in an apartment in NYC, so if I can compost, so can you. If you have a backyard, even better (for the composting, sure, but also for the general fanciness that accompanies a backyard--way to go, you!). I am a fan of the freezer for this purpose--use plastic yogurt containers, or used plastic baggies. Every time you eat an apple, or peel carrots or peel an onion, put the scraps in the bag and the bag in the freezer. You will be AMAZED how much food waste you gather. For me, I can bring it to the Greenmarket and drop it off there every weekend. Look for options in your neck of the woods--but the farmers market is a good place to look/start.
4. Grow something. I am cheating a bit when I put this on here, since I am not presently -- and have never -- grown something to eat. But the people I admire do, and I am planning to become an admirable person myself this spring. I will start with herbs on my windowsill and hope that the city grime doesn't poison the plants and then me.