Well hello! Before we get into why you’re reading this letter, let’s get some formalities out of the way and start off with an introduction.
Who’s Talking to Me and Why?
My name is M.E. (short for Mary Elayne, but only my grandmother calls me that), and I’m the new senior editor here at Tablespoon.com. A few quick things about me: I have always loved writing (I’ve been keeping a journal since 1998), I have at least two beverages on my desk at all times and I have a cat named Donut, so you can probably guess what my favorite food is. I love to experiment in the kitchen with new ingredients, but I have my favorite standbys that I make again and again (fried egg and kimchi on avocado toast, anyone?). The more I cook, the more I love cooking, and the more comfortable I am taking risks and trying weird techniques and new ingredients.
So, why am I writing directly to you now? First, because I just wanted to say “hi,” and second because there are so many cool things that the Tablespoon team is working on behind the scenes that I just couldn’t keep them all to myself.
Things are buzzing in the Tablespoon kitchens right now! We’re currently getting amped up about summer and all the ways we’ll be soaking up every minute of the season. Tablespoon is based in Minnesota, so we know how to truly cherish the summertime before our brutal, unforgiving winters set in again. Because summer is so brief here, we’ve been thinking about ways we can make the most of every moment, big or small. For instance – have you ever noticed how much better food tastes when it’s eaten outside? That simple little act of bringing your dinner plate and a glass of wine out to the back patio is enough to make dinnertime feel like a special occasion, and it doesn’t cost anything extra. That’s my favorite thing about summer – everything feels just a little bit more special.
And since deck-dining is only here for what seems like a blink of an eye, we’ve been busy re-testing (and re-tasting) recipes that are easy to carry from your kitchen to your porch, and they’re easy to make so you can hurry up and get outside. We were recently in the kitchens re-making this spicy shrimp pasta salad, which I must say: as someone who isn’t crazy about seafood, this pasta salad is delish and I’m just a little bit obsessed with the color of the spicy mayo sauce that gets drizzled on top. Which, as someone who has an affinity for pastels, I couldn’t be more thrilled about. The Tablespoon team also remade and re-tasted a huge batch of this beautiful quinoa salad, just to double-check that it was just as delicious as the last time we made it. There’s nothing new about this salad – it’s classically perfect. I could literally eat a bowl of it every day for lunch for a solid month and have no complaints. There’s just something about a simple, hearty salad that hits a certain spot for me in the summertime.
Also happening in the Tablespoon kitchens - we took a day to make HUGE batches of popcorn in preparation for all those summer activities that require snacks, like watching a movie in the park or in someone’s back yard. Again, we wanted to double-check that these popcorn combos were still as amazing as we remembered them being before we shared them out with you, and spoiler alert: they were. We re-tested five different popcorn recipes, including one that I swear tastes just like a slice of birthday cake. The trick is to add a tablespoon of cookie butter – who knew?
It’s still a little too cold to be cooking outside just yet, but pretty soon we’ll be dusting off the ol’ grill and firing her up. Get ready for some next-level foil packs and grilling tips, plus we’ll be talking about all the reasons picnics are the best part of summer.
Do you go picnicking as an adult? As a kid, pulling a blanket into the backyard and eating a PB & J sandwich cross-legged on the ground was definitely a familiar activity, but as an adult I don’t pack nearly enough picnic lunches. One of my goals for this summer is to go on a picnic brunch, mostly as an excuse to drink mimosas out of a thermos, but also because brunch and picnics seem like the perfect pairing.
We’re also busy working on some new recipes for fall, believe it or not. I know I was just waxing on about how wonderful summer is, but secretly I’m really excited to share with you what we have in the works for autumn. Without getting too ahead of myself, I’ll just say that we’ve got lots of recipes that are full of the best flavors of fall (i.e. apple, cinnamon, and maple!).