Santa's little kitchen helper

Grab a partner. You have some cooking to do. Plus: Last week's winners

By Francis Lam
December 22, 2009 7:01AM (UTC)
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Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.

Last week's challenge to make a dish that represents someone you love brought out many wonderful entries – some funny, some sexy, some heartwarming and some heartbreaking. So this week, let's cook with someone we care about. The challenge is simple: Get in the kitchen with someone else and cook. Bonus points for making or re-creating a family tradition, and extra bonus points if one of you has to help teach the other how to do it.


Be sure to tag your post: SKC holiday tag team

Scoring and winning

Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and touchdown-to-interception ratio.



Last week's contestants made meals that represent people they love. And the winner is ...

Beth Fortune! For writing a sexy, gorgeous love letter of artichokes and braised meat -- a young couple celebrating themselves. "Then, because you appreciate things one step past simple, I will coat the tamed thistles in olive oil, give them another little sprinkle of salt and pepper, and grill them over charcoal, because Christmas here is 70 and sunny, and you’re done with nostalgia. I’ll serve them, smoky and warm, with aioli, the sauce you like as much as a word as you do a food."

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In the Not Tonight, I Have a Headache ... Can You Make Dinner? category:

Iamsurly, for a sweet-and-salty statement of the redemptive power of grilled cheese, "the childhood comfort food that can cure anything that Darvocet can't." Recipes included


In the category of Breakfast for Those Who Have Passed On:

Rebfar: "Her lap, covered in a patchwork of knitted squares, provided frequent refuge. 'Was your mumma mean to you?' she cooed as I nestled into bosoms the size of goose down pillows. Naunty was the softest place on earth. They are all long gone, save for my Aunt Jane and me, but if I could pull us back together around a breakfast table, I would serve my mother’s Crispy Oatmeal and a pot of strong coffee." Recipe included

In the Real Meaning of Fusion Cooking category:


Linda Shiue, for her post on Indo-Caribbean armadillo curry: "A lapsed vegetarian eating armadillo? Learning to savor and cook the previously unimaginable tastes of my husband’s childhood? If this does not spell love, I don’t know what would." Recipe included

In the category of Wait, This Really Is About Cooking for Horses:

Aunt Mable, for an utterly charming post about feeding animals: "In the horses' minds, I was the greatest chef on the planet. To this day, nobody has ever appreciated my culinary efforts to the extent they did. Not even the dogs." Recipe for Bran Mash, described in the comments as "crack for horses," included


In the category of Mormon Cuisine:

Kathy Riordan, for a cross-ecumenical feast: "Some tropical golden fruit salad, a hat tip to Mormon cooking. This generally starts with fruits like canned pineapple, canned mandarin oranges, and canned pears. Keep in mind this recipe originated when canned/preserved fruits were easier to come by than fresh." Recipes included

In the Dessert That Resembles Your Ex category:

FusunA, for a romantically unflattering but culinarily solid introduction to the soufflé: "But there’s a third ingredient in baked soufflés which is not mentioned in many recipes -- air (of which my beloved B was full of in great quantities). It’s the air, trapped inside the soufflé, that causes it to puff up or inflate (like his ego)." Recipes included 

Francis Lam

Francis Lam is Features Editor at Gilt Taste, provides color commentary for the Cooking Channel show Food(ography), and tweets at @francis_lam.

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Food Kitchen Challenge