Posts by Megan Scott


We invite people with noteworthy ideas about food to blog on Culinate.

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Let’s hear it for cold soups

Warm days, cool recipes

By
August 14, 2013

When people learn that I’m from the South, they assume that hot weather doesn’t affect me.

“Oh, you’re used to this kind of weather,” they say, almost as if it’s understood that Southerners have a gene that shields them from heat. How else could Southern belles have withstood summer in crinolines and whalebone corsets?

I can’t answer that question. My best guess is that all those Scarlett O'Haras suffered just like the rest of us, with a dash of masochism and maybe a mint julep or two.

In truth, I don’t handle the heat any more gracefully than the average person. While it’s true that I have seen many a scorching, muggy day, my tolerance for them is no greater than anyone else’s.

Continue reading Let’s hear it for cold soups »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Cooking phases

Change in our kitchens

By
April 19, 2013

We all go through phases — hedonistic and healthful, self-destructive and nurturing, persistent and momentary. We are taught from a young age, often by exasperated parents, that these phases aren’t serious.

“It’s just a phase” is a cliché in almost every household, underscoring their transience and thus their unimportance. The implication is that the phase itself is distracting us from who we really are, a sideshow of ourselves; further, that there is something inherently better about staying the same, and something inferior about changing.

But the reality is that we constantly go through phases. Some are extensions of others or perhaps something traumatic occurs, leading to a dramatically different and new phase. Going through a phase isn’t just peripheral — it is a state of being, and no less important for being in a constant state of flux.

Continue reading Cooking phases »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Food ways

Getting eating right

By
March 13, 2013

When I tell people that I grew up in a household where we ate dinner as a family almost every weeknight, I get their attention.

When I tell them that my mother worked full time and that I have two sisters, they are surprised.

When I add that not only did she prepare dinner for us after a long day of work, but she also made us breakfast many days of the week, they are incredulous.

But the facts remain: my mother, a working middle-class mother of three girls, kept us around the family table. We didn’t always like it, and the conversation was not always stimulating, but we ate together almost every night, and regardless of what phases we were going through, we all ate the same thing.

Continue reading Food ways »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Citrus celebration

The fruits of winter

By
February 13, 2013

Citrus is a consolation prize for those of us who make our lives in temperate climes. Of course, all plants have their fruiting season, and there is perhaps very little romance about the whys and wherefores of plant reproduction. But to me, it always seemed merciful that citrus season should fall in the middle of winter, sending its tart-sweet orbs of condensed sunlight into my kitchen.

We buy lemons year-round. Lemon juice is nearly as instrumental as salt and pepper to our cooking, balancing and calibrating dishes that would otherwise taste flat at best, insipid at worst. A juicy lemon can be the bridge from middling to electric, sparkling on the taste buds before cleanly giving way to more subtle flavors.

Continue reading Citrus celebration »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Butter love

A luscious thing to create at home

By
November 6, 2012

“Really sad folk — by which I mean those cooks who haven’t the first clue as to how to carefully fry an egg — now advocate the use of lashings of extra-virgin olive oil in almost every single recipe; they actually fry with it, make dreadful risotto with it, drizzle it over everything in sight, and probably even use it as bath oil. No one in their right mind would heat up an expensive slug of extra-virgin, in which to fry, say, a dreary chicken breast, but they surely do, these equally dreary people.”
— Simon Hopkinson in Second Helpings of Roast Chicken

Continue reading Butter love »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Three fruit desserts

A fruitful search for a seasonal sweet

By
September 18, 2012

Fresh fruit is an immaculate gift.

The gentle resistance of a cherry’s skin beneath the teeth; the dense crispness of an apple; the coy seduction of a fig.

Fruit is the original fast food — ready and nutrient-dense, thoroughly pluckable, and easy to love.

To see an apple tree so laden with fruit that its branches buckle is to witness one of nature’s finest works of reproduction. The tiny tree that bears big fruit.

Ripe fruit marks the changing seasons, perhaps more reliably even than the weather. It is the thread that we dangle upon as we listen hesitantly to news of late frost, drought, or hail. It has the rare ability to make us forget decorum as we slurp at the errant juices of a peach or spit watermelon seeds over our shoulders.

Continue reading Three fruit desserts »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Full of beans

Cooking legumes

By
August 10, 2012

I have two kitchen alter egos. One is a fast-paced, surly kitchen dominatrix who makes her ingredients submit to her whims. She’s the one who can have scones in the oven in eight minutes flat, the one who can knead an unresponsive dough into malleability, the one who can have all four oven racks loaded at once with no timer set for anything.

The other is a slow and steady cook, content to chop vegetables for unspecified amounts of time, willing to peel a bushel of tomatoes in silence, patient enough to wait for a chicken to roast (but who then eats the tail and the tips of the wings as soon as the bird comes out of the oven, because those are the best parts and should not be suffered to sit cooling).

Continue reading Full of beans »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

The okra accident

Ever had this vegetable fresh?

By
July 18, 2012

As with many stories of great innovation, I had nothing particular in mind when I planted a patch of okra in my garden this year. I simply knew that okra was one of the few crops that could be planted without worry of drought or infestation in this climate. I was told that it would yield no matter what, and so I chose the most likely-sounding candidate from my seed catalogue: Hill Country Red Okra.

Having lost most of my garden last year to drought, extreme heat, and insects, I was determined to see at least one crop to fruition this year, even if the crop in question was something I wasn’t entirely sure how to use. It was one of those act-now-think-later scenarios that often end in catastrophe, but that sometimes, serendipitously, results in something marvelous.

Continue reading The okra accident »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Ramp land

The exploitation of an unusual vegetable

By
May 25, 2012

Growing up, I was given doses of family stories the way some kids are given Flintstone vitamins. As my family hails from Appalachia, I heard the requisite tales of ancestral moonshining, of apple orchards tucked between the hills, and of sylvan homesteads brimming with dent corn, collard greens, and freshly laid eggs.

My grandfather recounted an expedition for ginseng (or “sang,” as the old-timers called it) when he and a fellow forager upset a hornet nest and had to leave their bounty on the hillside, only to have another hunter poach it from their stomping grounds before they could return for it.

Continue reading Ramp land »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

A quiche lesson

The crux is the crust

By
April 26, 2012

When I am at my most harried and discouraged, I remember quiche.

When two hailstorms in three days tatter my spring garden. When taxes are due, the chicken coop needs cleaning, and the aspic recipe I was testing sticks, irreconcilably, in its mold.

As days lengthen, it seems there is less time than ever for the luxurious pleasure of cooking for the sake of cooking.

When cooking falls off the back burner, a jar of peanut butter with a long spoon often provides my nourishment. I make a big batch of granola and reach far back in the freezer for the half loaf of stale bread I couldn’t bring myself to throw away. Dinner’s served.

Continue reading A quiche lesson »

Megan Scott has been both a cheese maker and a goat herder. Currently, she’s working with her husband, John Becker, on updates to the American classic cookbook ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and has recently overseen production of their new website. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Kitchen thrift

Using everything

By
March 23, 2012

Culinate editor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Tennessee-based writer and cook Megan Scott to the Dinner Guest Blog.

I grew up surrounded by frugal cooks.

My great-grandmother saves sheets of tin foil and plastic wrap as well as sour-cream containers, and I happen to know that on Sundays, when the whole family gathers for a noontime feast, she saves the leftover coffee.

I always assumed these habits came from living through the Great Depression, but no. As she put it: “We didn’t know there was a Great Depression. We were already poor.”

Continue reading Kitchen thrift »

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