Welcome to Alinea at Home.
Glad you're here.
We'll get everything up and running in just a few days, but first, a little housekeeping and some rules of the road:
1) I'm using TypePad instead of Blogger this time around, so forgive me if I gork out on the first few posts and things are out of whack and look all cattywompus, or the feeds aren't feeding. I'm still learning, and am grateful to Benjamin Lim for helping me get started.
2) I'm maintaining my comment policy from French Laundry at Home, which if you'll recall, went a little something like this: "Your comments and questions are welcome here. In fact, I think it's one of the things that makes this site such a pleasure to be a part of. One thing, though: please think of this web site as if it were my dining room table, and make sure your comments reflect the manner in which you'd treat someone in their home, as if you'd only just met them and were sitting across from them, sharing a meal. I've got thick skin and can take constructive criticism (because ultimately, we all learn from it), but nasty, rude, grossly off-topic (unless it's about Jim J. Bullock), attacking, baiting, or blatantly self-promotional comments aren't welcome and won't be posted. It's just not cool." Let's add Jo Anne Worley and Michael Bloomberg to the Jim J. Bullock exemption, and we'll be all set there. I'm moderating comments, so if you post one and it doesn't appear immediately, it means I haven't pushed it through yet.
3) I won't be posting recipes from the Alinea cookbook, so if you want to play along at home, buy the book. It's available on Amazon.com for the low, low price of $30. A freakin' STEAL if you ask me.
4) I do not work for Alinea, they are not paying me to do this blog, nor am I BFF with the chef/owners, nor can I get you a reservation. Not even if you offer me your house in Aspen for the weekend.
5) Yes, Grant Achatz and his team know about the blog, and Grant has been incredibly supportive about it. I hope he'll continue to be a good sport when I inevitably cock up one of his creations, which I am wont to do because HELLO HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOOK?
6) I am not a chef, nor am I a professionally trained cook in any way, shape, or form. I am a home cook who, with only one intro to knife skills class under her belt, cooked her way through The French Laundry Cookbook and lived to tell about it. So, I'll do my best to explain everything as best I can, but if I screw up a little bit of technical jargon along the way, forgive me.
7) Just like I did with French Laundry at Home, I'm only going to attempt each dish once. And for those who've asked, I'm not planning on buying all the serviceware and restaurant equipment, as much as I'd like to. I'm going to do my very best to do these dishes in a way that reflects the resources I believe most home cooks have, or at least have access to. That said, I might cave and buy one or two gadget-y things, but I'm trying not to. I'll also bring back the "Music to Cook By" feature from French Laundry at Home because I know you all really want to know how many times I can listen to Styx and REO Speedwagon in any given month.
8) Content on this blog will revolve around the Alinea cookbook. From time to time, I may post links to interviews or other related content I think you need to see, but this blog has a singular focus: to cook my way through the Alinea cookbook and write about it.
9) You'll notice I'm not running ads on the blog. If you feel the urge to part with a few dollars while reading what I write, I'd much prefer you make a donation to Share Our Strength.
10) Alinea at Home is not my full-time job (although, dude, wouldn't it be awesome if it was?). Instead, I do some things here and there in our nation's capital around policy and media and issues and stuff, and that's really all I'm gonna say about what I do.
11) If you email me (which you are ALWAYS welcome to do), please know that I do my best to respond right away. However, aforementioned job sometimes gets in the way, so I hope you'll understand if it takes a day or two or five to get back to you.
12) I hope to post here at least once a week, with a goal of updating every five days or so. I wish I could update more often, but see #10 above. I'll be doing the dishes as close to seasonal availability of ingredients as I can, but will also factor in degree of difficulty and will be starting out with some of the easier dishes to get up and running... and by easier, I mean those dishes I think I can conceivably pull off without a big, fat, huge, colossal FAIL because OH THE HUMANITY HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOOK?
13) Because I don't want you to think the only things I cook and eat are from Alinea, I'll soon start a section in the right-hand navigation area called "What Else Did I Eat This Week" so that I can share what and where I've been eating, and hopefully give you some ideas for other things you can make at home. Most of the time, it will look like this: peanut butter on toast, coffee, Pad Thai, peanut butter on crackers, roasted chicken, bacon, a spoonful of peanut butter, eggs over easy on toast with goat cheese, and did I mention peanut butter? -- but I'm sure some other things will make an appearance from time to time.
14) This is here because I can't end a list on an odd number. Oh, I know what I could say here for #14: feel free to follow me on Twitter, if you'd like. Nothing prolific goin' on over there, but it's a nice distraction if you're bored at work. Ditto for Flickr.
Bacon, butterscotch, apple, thyme.
See you soon.