Cooking in Quarantine with Emma Love Suddarth

Contestants—open your basket!  What can you make with the ingredients you find inside?

If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Chopped” on the Food Network, you know this challenge. And, if you know Price and I well, you also know not only do we enjoy that show, but we absolutely LOVE to cook. Page back through the archives of the PNB blog—you can find recipes for some of our favorites like vanilla bean ice cream or fish tacos.  The kitchen just might be our favorite room in our house—and that’s not only because the coffee maker lives there.

While Price was definitely a foodie from a young age, excited to be “cooking with numbers” (see the home videos…), it’s a surprise coming from the little girl that hated the following items:  fish, tomatoes, mustard, avocado… among others.  You can literally find ALL of those ingredients in a dinner salad on our table on any given night.  After long rehearsal days or high-adrenaline performance evenings, cooking has always been our release.  We arrive home and, chatting about the ins and outs of our day, seamlessly “dance” between the stove and the sink, occasionally dodging one or two dogs scurrying between our feet.  In our 9+ years together, the shared love of it has only grown stronger.

Since March—for us, really more so since May—our culinary circumstances have changed a bit. First, COVID happened and access to certain ingredients, quick daily trips to the grocery store for only one or two things, and the freedom of “what should we make tonight” all seemed to go by the wayside.  I’m entirely a planner, but dinner planning for the week was never really “my thing.”  I always preferred to grab the salmon, greens, and avocado I needed day-of.  Quickly though I got in the habit of, and even grew to enjoy, planning a whole week’s worth of meals—making sure I timed the produce right so we didn’t end up with far-too-squishy avocados or the world’s spongiest eggplant.  It was my own exciting food game show.  And, oddly enough, these new circumstances set us up well for what was coming in a mere two months—our first baby, Mr. Milo Suddarth (as we nickname him).

Guess what?  We’re STILL in the kitchen cooking together, even with a four-month-old.  Our meals have become simpler—a rice or quinoa bowl with a protein, some veggies, and something to sauce it up (bad pun attempt), or salmon with a simple kale salad and a baguette. If we’re hoping for a really easy day, we throw a tray of cauliflower/black bean enchiladas that we made and froze earlier in the week in the oven.  It’s a current favorite and the recipe we owe to a wonderful food delivery from fellow PNB dancer Leta Biasucci right after Milo’s arrival.  Sure, some nights it’s a constant trade-off between entertaining the little guy and doing part of the dinner prep, but it’s only made the Suddarth kitchen game show more fun.  And it’s remained a time we wouldn’t trade for the world.  It’s just gone from a team of two to a team of three.

The next exciting cooking adventure we set off on only two days ago?  Cooking for Milo!  Thus far he’s a big fan of bananas and sweet potatoes.  The assembly—i.e. pureeing or smooshing—isn’t too involved.  And, someone couldn’t be more thrilled to be at the dinner table in his own big kid highchair.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to have one more potential foodie in the family.

Here are a few favorite recipes of ours as of late (we make our own little tweaks here or there but that’s the fun of it—knowing what you like!).

As for Milo, we’ll find out what’s to come on his menu. I foresee carrots, oatmeal, and avocado all making appearances soon…

Writing and photos by dancer Emma Love Suddarth.

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