8 Tips for a Banging' Challenge

Hi Crew,

It’s been a while since I had a chance to sit down and write about food. It has been a crazy year filled with politics and activism and a schedule that generally just didn’t allow for time or energy to cook or write much. This is the most enthusiastic I have been coming into the 30 at Home Challenge. I have been looking forward to slowing down a little, thinking about food, turning up the music and just cooking.

I’ll get the kids to try things, maybe. I’ll try things I’m not good at, for sure. I’ll get sick of the dishes, already. I am going to share a few things that always help to get me centered on the kitchen as I am starting this challenge.

  1. Sharpen knives. If you don't have a knife sharpener, I have heard tell that there is a really great one at the Mueller Farmer’s Market. Roll your knives up in a few kitchen towels and get it done. A sharp knife is key in the kitchen. It may sound counter-intuitive, but a sharp knife is going to do a lot less damage if you cut your self. If you only do this once a year, it will make a huge difference in your enjoyment of cooking.

  2. Oil the wood tools. Wood is porous and needs oil to keep functioning well. I just use a regular cooking oil and cover each tool in a thin coat and let them sit out over night to soak in. This is especially important with your cutting boards. Use your hands for this and wipe down with a paper towel if need be.

  3. Clean out. Before the challenge starts, I always take inventory of my fridge and pantry so I have an idea of what all I want to cook through. It is a great exercise in clearing out a backlog of the stuff that piles up. In my case extra grains and nuts that can be used through out.

  4. Treat yourself. This year I ordered 6 pounds of product I have been wanting to try from Rancho Gordo. They are these totally beautiful, heritage beans and worth every penny. I get fired up thinking about what all I can do with new product.

  5. Old Reliables. My go to emergency- I don’t have time to deal with it- meal is a quick pasta thrown together or a grain bowl. So, I make sure I always have a box of pasta in the pantry or grains ready to cook. In dire straights it is breakfast for dinner, which is officially everyone’s favorite…

  6. Get Inspired. This week I have ended most evenings watching food shows on Netflix and y’all, that shit is good! My favorite so far is Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, which is legit brilliant and I loved every minute. David Chang has a fun new show out too, called Ugly Delicious that I love getting lost in.

  7. Include the Kids. Truth, I don’t do this for every meal, because I just don’t have time. But, at least once a week, I’ll get the kids to help me in the kitchen. In my house they are 100% more adventurous if they have participated in making the meal in any way. And, it boosts their confidence. My 7 year old can now make scrambled eggs for himself and he feels like a boss about it.

  8. . Go to the Markets. This is ritual for me. I always take a least one kid with me and we will wander around, pick out veggies, hold bunnies, and try things. I look forward to this every week.

I hope you enjoy this list and am pumped you are on this adventure!

I would love to know what inspires you all!

Thank you for doing what you do out there.


Martha Pincoffs