Hi, and welcome. First of all, congratulations to both of you! Please, come into our office—which also happens to be our home. We work from home, or as we like to put it, we live at work. Our kitchen doubles as a test kitchen, and our living room is also our food photography studio. And when we are not at home writing and photographing cookbooks, we work together as wedding photographers. As such, newlyweds (or almost-weds) are a big part of our daily lives. These people are our clients, yes, but through the process of documenting their weddings, they also often become friends. While it’s been more than eight years since our own wedding day, connecting with all types of couples at this unique and exciting stage in their lives means the newlywed chapter still remains a significant part of our lives as well.
After your wedding day, the bliss of your first moments as a married couple remains while your new life together develops its own patina. As life gets busier and more complicated, it’s a lovely idea to make simple gestures to remind each other of the lightness of your honeymoon phase. You can think of these moments as “mini dates” that can happen spontaneously on any day and can come in many forms—but it’s always about finding a way to connect with each other, make each other laugh, and show each other some affection, even amid hectic schedules or stressful times.
For us, this kind of reconnection most often happens in the kitchen or around the table. Cooking and eating together is one of the most consistent and practical ways we pause our daily schedule in order to have a little “date.” It’s not always the fancy, elaborate date you might be picturing, but it’s the sentiment behind the moment that counts; even a perfectly made peanut butter and jelly sandwich will do.
The ritual of the wedding day points to this secret: All of the couples we work with pause on their wedding day to eat together. Every wedding day goes by like a blur, but we often hear couples say that their wedding meal was a oment of their special day when they remember feeling truly present. If you’re reading this cookbook, it’s very likely you will want to make cooking or eating together a part of your new married life. We hope the tools and recipes in this book will provide a foundation for the two of you to spend a little quality time with each other over a homemade meal.
And it’s not only a way to connect; it’s also a way to learn fun new skills together and have a chance to use any of the culinary wedding gifts you may have received. We were thrilled with all the kitchenware we were generously given at our wedding shower—even if we could barely lay out two settings in our tiny apartment, never mind eight! We’ve learned a lot since then about how to stock and organize our kitchen and how to use the right tools and ingredients to prepare simple, delicious food together and for each other, and we’ve learned much of it working side by side. We have filled those same plates, which are a daily reminder of our family and friends, with countless meals while creating happy memories in the process. We’re sure that no matter your current skill level and regardless of how you set your table, you can gradually and naturally find your own way as a couple in the kitchen.
This book features meals for all parts of the day, with servings for two and sometimes more when the recipe lends itself well to serving a crowd or keeping leftovers. Recipes include prep and cook times and cook’s notes to guide you through particulars of special ingredients, plus tips or tools when applicable. This book gives you a neat Rolodex of recipes that you can pull from for various occasions—whether it’s an after-work meal on a busy weeknight, a healthy breakfast before running off to work, a decadent breakfast on a slow Sunday morning, a wow-worthy meal when hosting friends, or a dessert to celebrate for any reason.
And a note about the creation of this book. This book was a collaborative effort between both of us through every stage of the process, but the voice you will hear in the recipes is Kiera’s. That is, except when you reach the cocktails section. For those recipes we consulted expert Kara Newman, a well-known drinks writer who tells you the ins and outs of putting together your first bar, starting on page 210.
We want to thank you for welcoming this book (and, in a way, us) into whatever place you call home. We hope it resides with you for many happy years.
Copyright © 2019 by Cole and Kiera Stipovich. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.