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Have you ever had a galette? Me neither. But I'm about to try to cook one.

My co-worker is leaving for an exciting new job, and we're gathering for a farewell dinner this week. Somehow, galettes starting taking over my Instagram feed this summer (not unlike Aperol spritzes). They're like an open-faced pie that kinda looks like a pizza, but can be sweet or savory — and if the name isn't pretty enough, here are some pictures to prove it.
My family will be the first to tell you that I, as someone who regularly made myself microwavable pancakes for dinner growing up, am not the brightest chef in the kitchen. But there's just something about the process of making your own food (even if it ends up looking absolutely nothing like the pics above) that is, well, nourishing. 

Tanya's on the other end of the spatula — she's been working on her own cooking for years and turned to her kitchen skills to reflect on her own, as she calls it, quarter cup crisis. She created a delightful newsletter of the same name, which I joined along the way to her 25th birthday last month, learning more about her fish-grilling and baking and pickling techniques. (You can see the full archives here!) She's touched on friendship in adulthood before, but I wanted to dig in a little deeper. 

Bon appétit!

Your friend,
Christine
 
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Christine: Where did this Quarter Cup Crisis come from? I mean that both in the sense of the idea for the newsletter itself and what sort of ~ feelings ~ you were encountering to describe it as such, if you're comfortable sharing.

Tanya: Turning 25 terrified me for a number of reasons, but mainly because I worried I wasn’t far along down my “path,” whatever that may be. I think working in media has dramatically affected my perception of success, mainly because I work alongside/admire so many talented young people in this space. It’s really hard not to compare yourself to other successful young people and wonder “Am I on track?” I turned to cooking to deal with a lot of those anxieties. I feel comfortable in the kitchen, even if I may not feel comfortable cooking every single type of food. Cooking has always been a way for me to express myself and feel a bit more in control of my very-hard-to-control life. As I approached the big 2-5, I found more and more that my routines, friendships, etc., were often defined by food and cooking and I really leaned into that as a coping mechanism of sorts.

Christine: What are the biggest lessons you've learned out of this — related to cooking, friendship, life, etc?

Tanya: People always say “food brings people together.” I think that’s true in some respects, but it’s cliche as hell. I more so have found that cooking is one of the best ways to show people you care. I think I most show affection and love through cooking. I want to cook for my mom, I want to cook for my boyfriend, my friends, my colleagues as a way of showing them how much they mean to me. I take note of their tastes and try to create something that I know will mean something to them, even if it’s just for the 15 minutes they’re physically eating it. There are few things that light me up like seeing someone I love devour a thing I’ve made for them.

Christine: Tell me about the instances you mention in your newsletter about cooking + friendship; I'm thinking about the Cook Club, gathering with other strangers around the food, expressing your love for your friends by baking for them. How has your hobby helped you handle the quest of making friends as an adult? Do you think cooking provides opportunities for building friendship that other activities/meetups/events don't?

Tanya: In short, yes. I have made more meaningful and fruitful friendships in the last year that were established through food and cooking than I did in say, college by a long shot. Friendship is a lot like dating, and I’ve invited over people to cook and eat on the like, second or third “date.” What’s great about cooking with people you may not know as well is the actual act of cooking serves as the ice breaker. You’re deeply engaged in a task, giving each other feedback or tips or tasting things and talking mostly about what’s at hand. Then you have the chance to sit down for whatever meal you created and a lot of those small-talk pleasantries you’d be forced to endure at a happy hour or whatever go out the window. I loathe small talk.  

Christine: In a previous issue, Caroline Kitchener, who wrote a book about relationships in the first year out of college, spoke about how her investment in a pizzamaker helped set the right tone for friend-making for her. What do you think has been the best investment for you (not limited to the kind of $$ investment that goes into a kitchen gadget — could be time, mental energy, etc)?

Tanya: That’s a tough question. I’d have to say time. I’m busy; I have a full-time job at The Washington Post, I was, for a time, writing Quarter Cup Crisis weekly, I worked at a yoga studio, am in a relationship, etc. Making time for your friends, both old and new, as an adult is really tricky and it only gets tougher as your friends start to meld their lives with partners, families, their careers, what have you. I got really, really into managing several color-coded Google calendars this year to make sure I made ample time for a social life that involves food-focused events, my cookbook club and weekend getaways. During busy work weeks I’ll sometimes regret packing my schedule so tightly, but it’s worth it. When I moved to D.C. three and a half years ago, I was alone a lot. I can’t say the same now, and I’m grateful for that.  

Christine: I know this is a tricky question but I'm asking it anyway: Which was your favorite recipe? 

Tanya: That’s like picking a favorite child! I’m kidding, sort of. It’s probably a three-way tie between the Camarones al Ajillo, the Lemon Rosemary Curd and the Salsa Verde. As far as popularity goes, I think people were very into the Breadcrumb Bucatini, the Chickpeas and Chutney and the Salsa Verde as well.

Go sow: Challenge for the week. 

✨✨✨
Spin the wheel of recipe delight and see what you end up with! (Check the full recipe list here.) Try your hand at a new dish this week — and if it goes well (or even if it doesn't!), maybe even consider doing your own pop-up Cook Club.

Grow the Sow.

Zoom into the full map here.

Share Sown
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