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January 2, 2023. Amaze yourself once a week. In the kitchen. Once a week, do something you’ve never done before. Learn to make one thing you love to eat. One of those things that’s always made you think, this is great but I probably shouldn’t try to do this at home by myself.

Which is how I thought of almost everything until six or seven years ago. That’s when I started to cook indoors. In the kitchen. I used the oven for the first time. For cooking, not for storage. With the strong encouragement of a great friend who assured me that even I could roast a chicken. She was right. I could. I still can. At this time of year, I do it almost every week. It’s always great, always Better than you can get at almost any restaurant. Always Cheaper. And always a celebration at the table, perfect for Slower enjoyment and appreciation.

Now you’re probably Way ahead of where I was when I started. But it’s equally probable that you’ve still got a trick or two left to learn. After learning how to operate my oven, my next trick was pizza. Because I love it. And because a great, fresh, crisp pizza crust is a great platform for every imaginable healthy topping. Once you try it at home by yourself, you’re addicted. You’ll be making pizza dough at least once a week. With 15 minutes of your time and a 2.5 hours of time for the dough to rise. $1 worth of ingredients gets you 3 or 4 great pizza crusts. Another couple of dollars covers it with your favorite toppings. Pizza 101 gets you started with a rolling pin. Pizza 102 is the easy Way to stretch it by hand. A modified tossing, just not up in the air. And Pizza 103 is the easy Way out. Maybe not a true, classic pizza – but just as tasty. Make Summer Tomato Pizza. Kale, mushroom garlic Winter Pizza. A Bolognese or BLT pizza. Spring Green Pizza. A killer Apple-Cheddar Pizza for dessert or breakfast. Click “Search” at the top of the page and enter “pizza” for dozens more. You have to try this. In your kitchen.

Once I realized my oven could turn out wonderful pizzas, I began to wonder about bread. Turns out there’s this truly amazing Way to make bread without kneading dough. Honest. A big, round, deeply flavorful, rustic bread with a crackling crisp crust and a soft chewy interior. Then try Walnut-Raisin. Chocolate-Cherry. Irish or Smoky Bacon. Makes your home smell like a great bakery. Makes you feel very, very happy.

To achieve a perfect combination of delight and amazement, you should make a Pudding Cake. A weird but thoroughly pleasing Way to get acquainted or re-acquainted with your oven. Part airy, moist cake. Part silky light pudding. You put a uniform batter-pudding mixture into the oven, but you get a finished product that’s two distinct layers. I just regard this as magic. Try the classic Lemon Pudding Cake. Or any of the sweet or savory versions I’ve been making up as I go: Chocolate, Strawberry-Rhubarb, Espresso, Basil-Tomato. You’re really missing out on easy amazement if you don’t try this.

Love your kitchen. Get back to where you once belonged.

Help someone you love Be Better in the Kitchen. Just $10 for a Happy One-Year Gift Subscription to Better Cheaper Slower.

2020 Resolutions
#1 Better in Bed
#2 Better in the Kitchen

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