The blog we all need right now.

Miss me? It’s okay, I didn’t either.

Recently, I have been thinking about this blog, what it was and what it could be. I set it aside a few years ago because it stopped being fun. I was posting content because I thought I should post, not because I wanted to write. I was committed to this imaginary editorial process that took all of the fun out of it.

What this blog did was give me a jumping off point. Had I not been reviewing restaurants here, the Syracuse.com opportunity would not have materialized. If I wasn’t already reviewing beers, Syracuse.com and October may not have happened. And, had I not built up the confidence in myself as a writer, I might not ever have started pitching Deadspin and Lifehacker.

The Coronavirus outbreak means that crowds of people are going to work from home environments as the result of offices, schools, meth labs, governments, brothels and otherwise closing themselves to prevent congregating and promote social distancing.

With kids out of school indefinitely and spouse/partners moving to remote work situations, we have an opportunity to make dinner a unifying time for these family units, where we can shut off the world, dive into conversation and (most importantly) eat well.

Go to your local grocery store and look around. There’s not a lot of stuff on the shelves. Forget about the hoarding of cleaning supplies and toilet paper; stores are rationing dairy products and pasta to stop stockpilers. Also consider the fact that we are not rushing home from offices, schools and grow houses to get dinner on the table. We have a little extra time to cook dinner.

So, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to talk about the recipes that we are making here at Al Dente HQ and share them with you. We’re also going to share some of our favorites that don’t require you to barter with your neighbor for provisions. Like chicken. Seriously, why the fuck are we hoarding chicken?

Let’s start with something easy. Sausage with white beans and spinach should come together quite ably for even the most unsure of home cooks. Plus, it’s versatile enough to where you can substitute sausage types and style of white beans to make it happen. Canned white beans may be a tough find in Coronamerica, so grab a bag of dry white beans, toss them in a bowl with water, and let them soak overnight.

This week at Al Dente, we’re going to hit the freezer and:

  • Turn a pork shoulder into Cuban pernil asado.
  • Make Japanese gyudon from a ribeye
  • Make corned beef hash from a 48-hour sous vide corned beef brisket
  • Rummage for some other frozen sauces and soups.

I’m also going to use this space to share some thoughts about being exiled to a home office indefinitely. It should be fun, but I do see this as a limited run.

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