Welcome to our new food blog, Two Lazy Gourmets. First, let us introduce ourselves. We are Robin Donovan and Juliana Gallin, two very lazy gourmets and coauthors of The Lazy Gourmet: Magnificent Meals Made Easy (look for it in bookstores in May 2011 or pre-order online now).
The two of us met years ago as college students moving into a big drafty Victorian in Santa Cruz, California—and we instantly bonded over food. Of course, we were barely out of our teens, and on student budgets, so the food was anything but fancy, but it was good enough to bring the seven women who lived in the house—who all took turns grocery shopping and cooking—together around the dining room table most nights. From garden-fresh soups, to homemade pies, to pierogies from someone’s grandmother’s recipe, we ate surprisingly well.
While we shared food costs and cooking duties—and a love of eating—our culinary knowledge was anything but equal. Robin, on the one hand, grew up in a food-obsessed family where the primary topic of dinner table conversation was where and what the next meal would be. Having grown up watching (and helping) her mother, a professional restaurant critic and accomplished cook, prepare dinner each night, cooking came naturally to her; she was simply comfortable in the kitchen, not intimidated by complicated recipes or exotic ingredients.
Juliana, in contrast, was generally more interested in eating than cooking; she cruised through childhood blissfully delighted when delicious dishes magically appeared in front of her. Pringles, candy bars, and four-star meals were all welcomed with equal enthusiasm. As she grew more aware and discriminating, she began to covet her friends’ cooking know-how, but couldn’t imagine putting in the time, energy, and training she thought would be required for her to learn to cook great food. Well into adulthood, Juliana enjoyed the gourmet cooking of others while remaining resigned in the belief that she would never be a fantastic cook.
Then one day, Juliana had a revelation when it suddenly dawned on her that some of the most elegant, beautiful, and memorable meals she encountered—those that made foodies swoon, squeal, and beg for recipes—were also some of simplest. A surprising combination of unlikely ingredients, the use of fresh herbs, or a dash of a special vinegar or infused oil were often the things that elevated a meal from decent to stunning. After years of befuddlement and self-doubt, Juliana had stumbled upon a startling concept that changed the way she approached the kitchen: cooking great food can be really easy.
We teamed up to write The Lazy Gourmet because we wanted to spread the word: Anyone—even people with extremely limited time, energy, motivation or culinary experience—can dazzle friends and family with delicious and sophisticated fare. As we like to say, “Cooking a great meal can be just as easy as cooking a crappy meal!”
All these years after we first met, both living in the San Francisco Bay Area, we continue to cook and eat together regularly, sharing recipes, ideas, successes and, amusingly, the occasional culinary disaster. You can read our story in more detail in our book, The Lazy Gourmet, where you’ll also find the keys to wowing your friends and loved ones with gourmet cooking abilities you never knew you had. And keep reading here for even more tips, ideas, tricks, recipes and other information that will turn even the laziest among us into gourmet cooks.