Behind The Butter

Kitchen Rules

1. Always lick the spoon while baking brownies…to, you know, test them.

2. Cookie dough is a must.

3. Disengage the fire alarm before baking naan.

4. Beat egg whites to tone your triceps.

5. Chocolate is a food group and should be treated with respect.

The thing I love most about cooking is just kicking off my shoes, getting in my kitchen and letting it all go. No music because I love the cool silence. I love the way the knife feels in my hand, slicing down on onions and garlic, and I love the instant warmth the comes when I drizzle oil in my cast iron and crank the heat to high.

Often times, I’ll just cook in my fuzzy leopard slippers with my favorite apron tied around my waist. I always pin back my hair and sometimes, I’ll even throw my old chef jacket on if I know things are about to get really messy.

Then, once I start, things fly everywhere. Onion pieces scatter, carrot peels stick and flour smudges on the oven door. Dirty dishes pile up in my tiny apartment sink and red pepper seeds slip through the cracks in my counter.

I still love it though. All of it. Because I know that after the mess, the dishes and the onion tears, I’ll have a meal that is all mine. Something to feel good about and something to call my own.

Later, I’ll do the dishes, clean the counter tops and wipe the flour smudges from my cheeks. I’ll make a cup of tea, break off a square of chocolate and sit down with a new cookbook, preparing to start the whole process over again.

What are your “kitchen rules”? Music? No music? Apron? No apron?

You Might Also Like

  • Fit Chick in the City
    October 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Apron for baking. Music for washing dishes only.

  • Tabitha (From Single to Married)
    October 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I just try not to make too much of a mess and try to clean as I go or else I get really frustrated. 🙂

  • Casey
    October 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    My rules:

    A glass of red wine is a must.

    No music.

    Apron and slippers all the way.

    Lit candle on the counter next to me–apple-scented is a good one.

    Baby gate at kitchen entrance to keep my dog’s head out of the sink.

    A box of cheez-its next to me never hurts.

  • Jaya
    October 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Apron. Because if good cooking is messy, you better believe that good eating is too!

  • Evan Thomas
    October 14, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    My kitchen rule is to always have extra cookie dough or baked goods in the freezer, you know, for “an emergency”… or Thursday night

    • jenna
      October 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      Evan, we’re meant to be friends. I just know it!

  • valen
    October 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I enjoy music while cooking, and an apron when I remember. I usually end with a hot mug of tea as well and I have to wear stable shoes because of sport injuries-so no slippers for me.

  • Lisa
    October 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I’m the opposite. There’s nothing better than standing in my kitchen with some good music (jazz usually) and a glass of wine. The best!

  • grocery goddess coaching
    October 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    You said it, sister. There is something so magical about being in the kitchen, and the mess is totally worth it. I sometimes blast NPR or Katy Perry, though.

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    October 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I always wear a full apron, kitchen towel on my shoulder when I cook and do the dishes. Clean as I go. No one else in the kitchen unless help is needed.

  • Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy
    October 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    My rules:

    (1) You can’t bake something without eating some of the batter. It’s so good!

    (2) No apron – though I should buy one because I’ve ruined clothing this way a few different times!

    (3) I love cooking with music – makes it so much more fun. It’s good to dance in the kitchen a little sometimes!

  • Therese
    October 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I must admit, I do love cooking to music, I tend to dance around and sing loudly while I cook!

    Only recently have I learned to use an apron on a regular basis, FAR too many tops have gotten oil marks on the gut from my bending over the counter (I’m short).

    I’m also a slow cooker as I tend to clean up as I go along as I HATE doing the dishes. So it may take me two hours to make a lasagne but at least I won’t have to worry about piles of dishes looming over me while I eat it!

  • Dorry
    October 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I’m so excited for my husband and I to move in a few weeks and have a much better kitchen setup than we do now (plus a BUNCH of new gadgets and gear from wedding gifts!). I want windows in my kitchen and I like the quiet, too – husband loves music. At least we agree on one thing – an open bottle of wine. 🙂

  • Chicago Cuisine Critique
    October 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I actually like having music, usually some type of soft acoustic-like rock, it actually relaxes me. I have yet to have an apron, but have considered it recently as I make quite the mess when using flour and tend to get it everywhere. Cute post!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Wine. Wine is my only must.

  • eatmovelove
    October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    You had me at that pizza. Yes to all of the above.

    Try NOT to eat all the batter prior to actually baking the product…that’s a necessary one in my book…

    How do you stop snacking while cooking and baking though?! I don’t – and eat a meal before a meal ! It’s nuts.

  • Rachel
    October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I have to have music or the TV on, but this is probably because I can’t do anything in silence. I usually have a glass of wine… definitely slippers… usually sweatpants… and now I think I may invest in an apron. Something full body, and full face 😉

  • Amanda (Eating Up)
    October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    My kitchen rules: if you’re not making a mess, you’re not doing it right. And there has to be at least one laughable moment each time you try to make something!

  • Exercise and Eat
    October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Music and wine are always neccessary – and I deserve a treat for handwashing dishes!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    October 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    1) no apron (not because i’m against it – just because i don’t currently have one)
    2) i need to have access to “my counter”, “my cutting board”, and “my knife”
    3) taste tests are essential

  • Anne
    October 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    i have like 12 fabulous aprons. that i always forget to put on.

    i love music. or a good podcast. preferably ‘wait, wait, don’t tell me’ or ‘radiolab’

    and finally, a jar of something delicious: wine, whiskey on the rocks or sparkling water. i stick with the jar, otherwise i spill it. and i don’t like to waste whiskey. or wine. or sparkling water.

    a post well done, jenna, well done, indeed.

  • Tina
    October 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Love the one on licking the spoon. I definitely HAVE to do that after baking.

  • Andi
    October 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    what a lovely post!

    My kitchen rules:
    1. Always wear an apron. (I’ve started collecting aprons: vintage, or with my name embroidered on, or from various countries I or my friends have visited)
    2. When baking, I have a plate out on which to put all of the measuring and stirring utensils I might use again (spatulas or measuring spoons).
    3. Put ingredients away after using them (or at least on the kitchen table instead of the counter).
    4. Listen to music (italian, broadway, or guilty pop pleasures).
    5. Carefully clean dessert batter off of beaters before putting in the sink or dishwasher (the use of one’s fingers and/or tongue is encouraged).

  • Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)
    October 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I don’t own an apron. Yes to music. And I love cooking with my husband and sharing a beer while cooking.

  • Steph
    October 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I love listening to loud music if alone, but usually my daughter is in there helping me. It really makes it a fun and learning time for us both. We actually have matching aprons that we will sometimes wear.

  • Claire
    October 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    lovely…yes, licking the spoon of most desserts is a must…and sometimes scraping the finger as well…

  • elleneatsbeets
    October 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    If I’m home alone and in the right mood, the music is louder than ever. Apron is a must. My good friend made me THE cutest one, and I wear it every single time I’m in the kitchen.

  • Maria
    October 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Music always, no aprons…even though I have like 3-4 of them. I always have the intent of wearing one, but never get around to putting it on, haha. Cleaning happens throughout the process.

  • Shenan @ iambs and ales
    October 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    1) Cats must be delegated elsewhere. One must not attempt to persuade them to occupy themselves with treats or bits of what one is cooking; this will not placate them, it will only give them the hunger for more.

    2) A meal-prep beer/wine/cocktail is a must. A refill or top-off is also a must if beer/wine/liquor is used at any point in the cooking process.

    3) Aprons are useful, but will usually be remembered halfway through, when something spills on something else, usually something white. Music is also a plus, but will usually be remembered when risotto is already on the stove requiring constant stirring or when one is up to one’s elbows in cookie dough.

    4) Nobody else may peer into the kitchen to “see how things are going” unless they are specifically asked to help.

    5) Bits of cooked or uncooked food do not count if they are eaten directly out of the pot/pan/mixing bowl/whisks. Without the proper pomp and circumstance of the meal, you might as well consider then non-canon. Along those lines, no dish is allowed to go into the sink without first being licked clean of all possible tasty remnants.

    6) Along THOSE lines, boyfriends must always do the dishes 🙂

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    October 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    No need for an apron since I’m always in sweats anyways 🙂 ALWAYS lick any spoon, spatula, finger, bowl, etc. Eggs or no eggs.

  • Hope
    October 14, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Everything must be taste tested
    Wine makes everything better
    When I am creating, no one else can be in my kitchen – esp hubby, he has a thing for raw onions so hes likely to have eaten them all before I start…lol so odd!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    October 14, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    #5 on your list is key.

  • RhodeyGirl
    October 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I could have written this…. except for the rules. HA! I have never tasted brownie batter or cookie dough nor have I ever beaten egg white by hand.

    I have, however, called the police department because I smelled gas in the kitchen, only to have 3 fire trucks show up at my place…. where the firemen pointed out that my oven was on with my dinner inside it and that’s why I smelled gas.

    How embarrassing!

    • jenna
      October 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      wait……you’ve never tasted cookie dough before??!

      Who are you and how are we friends??!??!?!?!

      (just kidding…but seriously?!)

      • RhodeyGirl
        October 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm

        Friends share their brownie batter with friends… next time you’re here the spoon is alllll yours.

  • Candice @ChiaSeedMe
    October 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I love to have music playing while I cook. And I always clean as I go. Otherwise I go crazy!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    October 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    depends on my mood whether i want silence or not…. if i am cooking or baking for a party i might like music, on other days i like having the food network on in the background:-) Oh and tasting the cookie dough is definitely mandatory

  • Meg
    October 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    For me, music is a must in my kitchen. I pop my Ipod into my stereo and let Etta James and Edith Piaf serenade my brussel sprouts.

    It lets me imagine that I am just prepping a little something for my own jazzy bistro. If I drink enough wine I start to believe it… And that is a good time.

  • Taysa
    October 14, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Always with music and a glass of wine.

  • lindsay
    October 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    no music, always a glass of wine and my sweet dogs at my feet anxiously waiting for me to drop something!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    October 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Love this! I listen to country music and dance around the kitchen gathering ingredients. Always wear an apron, always end up with flour on my cheek that my husband calls cute and kisses off me 😉 (baking is romantic!) I make a huge mess, overwhelm myself in the process, but you’re right it is so totally worth it!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    October 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I love music when I cook. Sometimes I use my ipod, if hubby is in the living room watching TV. It’s one of the joys in life.

  • Megan (Braise The Roof)
    October 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Garlic is generally a rule. I use it in everything. It’s kind of sick, really, but I’ll hold onto that rule with everything I have.

  • Jenny
    October 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I love baking alone! It’s so weird but I like it to be me. myself. and flour. Usually coffee is involved to.

  • Scargosun
    October 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Music – jazz or classical unless I am getting ready to have guests.
    No dogs allowed while I am cooking – they like to trip me to get food
    Weather permitting – windows cracked (like your Naan rule)

  • Charise
    October 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I NEED to wear my apron more often – always staining clothes! I generally throw it on when I’m making something that will for sure be messy (which should be ALWAYS in my case!) or if I’m already dressed (for hosting guests or some such). Some days chill music, some days none because I need a break from stimulus overload.

    Another rule: definitely, attempt to pick up some (mainly put away ingredients and dispose of what’s left on cutting board) before my husband does his she-cooks-he-cleans duties so he doesn’t freak out about the disaster I’ve made of our tiny kitchen while making dinner. 🙂

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    October 14, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Always clean up as you go along. I hate finishing a meal and having dishes and plates and cheese graters and everything all over the place. I like to put things in the sink or dishwasher as I go.

  • katie hery
    October 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    bake something yummy, have one then bring it to work. that way i can enjoy other people eating it too

  • Eleonora
    October 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Apron: yes, if it’s my favourite Peanuts one. Which is currently one ocean away.
    Music: radio (now podcasts) while cooking, jazz or classical when cleaning up. In the worst dish washing scenario Haendel’s Water Music and Fireworks help a lot.
    Taste: always, everything. And I join the crew that make extra “for emergencies”. After all, I’m from Italy, a place where – imagine! -people normally cook both for lunch AND for dinner. Leftovers are always welcome.
    Book club: have you ever read “Kitchen” by Banana Yoshimoto? I was looking for my favourite quote ever, when the protagonist describes her love for kitchen, and the comforting sound of the refrigerator. The book is atypical, but I loved it.

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy
    October 14, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Only until I moved into my apartment in June did I start cooking. I’m definitely a messy cook, and need to grab the Starbucks aprons I still have (I worked there for five years, I was not going to give up my special black apron!!) and use it. I do like cooking with music, because it helps me zen out. I do my best to use as few dishes as possible… but I’m just like my mother that way- might as well use every dish you have! 😉

  • Julie
    October 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I see a Lagunitas tap in the first picture… have you tried it? It’s hands down my boyfriend’s favorite IPA.

  • Charles
    October 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    My cats love it when I cook. They get an extra meal, sometimes on purpose!

    Audio is handled by Sirius or my iPhone. The Sirius plays NPR or Coffee House. The iPhone handles NPR podcasts, Pandora, or whatever the flavor of the moment is, and the flavor changes daily, if not hourly, and is all over the map.

    Clean as you go, please. Laura on the other hand, is of the ‘use every pot in the kitchen’ philosophy.

  • Becki @ Hike, Bike, Eat
    October 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    An icy cold beer and the movie Mostly Martha playing in the background accompany me whenever I’m slaving over a hot stove creating something gourmet.

  • Mia
    October 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Girrrlfriend, cookin and bakin in the nude (try it) with your man by your side can make an interesting day or night in the kitchen….trust me….and so much fun.

    • jenna
      October 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm


  • Karen
    October 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Your musings remind me of the similarly passionate essays contained in the compilation “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant,” (A recent, enjoyable read!)

    Reading everyone’s creative replies has MADE my day!

    What a fun theme, Jenna!

    • jenna
      October 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      I haven’t read that—will look for it at the library! Thanks, Karen!

    • Charles
      October 14, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      Picking this up on the way home tonight. Haven’t had a bedtime book in forever!

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    October 14, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I like the idea of music. But it can’t just be any music. Pretty much just classical, jazz, or holiday music will do. Otherwise, I listen to the TV in the next room.

    I recently bought a super-cute (and I mean Anthropologie cute) apron from an antique store for $7. I’m so excited about it! I wear it practically every time I’m in the kitchen. It inspires me, you know?

    Oh, and eating raw dessert dough/batter is MANDATORY for success.

    Oh, and my getting-close-to-anal one. Kitchen MUST be clean before I cook. Otherwise, I’m completely uninspired to clean anything I mess up. See, cleaning the kitchen is the husband’s household chore. If that’s done before I cook, I’m more likely to strive to keep it clean by rinsing my dishes and putting them in the dishwasher instead of letting dirty dishes pile up anywhere there’s a surface. That said, cooking in a clean kitchen is a rarity for me.

  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad
    October 14, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Usually I watch tv when I cook. No apron for me! But usually I change into bummier clothes.

  • Camille
    October 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    My kitchen rule is to always lick the bowl! Always!

  • Lauren Z.
    October 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Always sample ingredients, particularly when baking…and when said ingredients are additions to cookie and/or cake batter: choc chips, white choc chips, dried cranberries, nuts, apples, etc.

    • Lauren Z.
      October 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      Oh, and by “sample” I mean at least one handful of each. 😉

  • Sharon
    October 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    1. Kitchen must start clean. Seems illogical, but I have a teeny kitchen and in order to even have room to cook I need it clean and everything put away to begin with!
    2. Glass of wine.
    3. Clean as you go. I can’t stomach the idea of sitting down to a nice meal with the kitchen all torn up, It’s just not relaxing to me at all. I generally have the kitchen 60-80% clean by the time the food is ready…just a few pots/pans to clean and dishes to put away when i’m done.
    4. Make enough for leftovers. Love leftovers!
    5. Cookie dough is a food group.

  • Maria @ a healthier Maria
    October 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Not to be too cheesy, but lately your posts have been so inspiring! You always make me want to get in my kitchen & I have definitely discovered a love & appreciation for cooking that I didn’t have before. You also make me want a boyfriend for the sole fact that I can have someone to bake for.

    Anyway, my # 1 rule is: Do not do anything until dirty dishes are out of the sink and clean dishes are out of the dishwasher! Oh yea, & make sure my dog is around to catch any scraps that fall on the floor. It’s more eco-friendly than vacuuming.

  • Susan
    October 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I love that you included the red pepper seeds in the cracks in the counter! I hate when that happens but it always does. There’s no way to get them, is there?

    Lately my rule is not to be afraid of coloring outside the lines, er – changing up a recipe. It’s okay to add more salt, or an extra spice. This way I can make a recipe my own.

  • Kelly
    October 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I pretty much only have one rule, always have a bottle of red wine nearby. To sip on during, and to console you after a major fail 😉

  • Jessica@tastyandtrim
    October 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Amen to those rules! I love listening to music when I’m in the kitchen. Especially Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra – my grandparents always have that kind of music playing throughout the house when they cook ,and I don’t know who can make better Italian food than my grandparents. I like to think that I cook better when I listen to that music 🙂

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    October 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    What a sweet post – I had a great mental image of you in my head 🙂

    Oh, and I couldn’t agree with #5 more. It’s about the same size of my veggie group in my ‘food pyramid’.

  • Jessica L.
    October 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    My Rules:
    Wine for drinking.
    Extra cheese on the counter- even if the recipe doesn’t call for cheese.
    Tea towels. I am obsessed. I like to have one over my shoulder in lieu of an apron. Then I can just wipe my hands/fingertips when I need to. I need to a lot. I’m a very tactile chef.
    I like TV in the background – and hungry people waiting for the finished product.

    • jenna
      October 14, 2010 at 3:47 pm


  • hippierunner
    October 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Awesome! A few of my rules: 1)Windows open so that when I (inevitably) burn something, I won’t perish from the fumes 2)Trust my instinct 3)Silence OR somethine playing on Hulu on my laptop (preferably Top Chef so I can feel inspired).

  • Brenna (fabuleuxdestin)
    October 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    No sulking when cooking for one! enjoy your creation 🙂

  • Cara Craves...
    October 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    No rules!
    Just have fun!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    October 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve been having a helluva time trying to actually get in to your blog to comment. I get these weird linksys server error messages. I think your traffic is just outta this world which is a good problem to have 🙂

    My rules…
    As few dishes and pots as possible! I am a raw/uncook by default, the less pots and pans and mess and vats of boiling this or that…the better!

    Bummed that I wont be in in time to catch that yoga class 🙁

    • jenna
      October 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

      hmm that’s bad. i need to figure this out…sorry about that!

  • Karen
    October 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Love all of your kitchen rules! The first one is my favorite!

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun
    October 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Such great rules – I completely agree with #2 and #5. 🙂
    When cooking or baking I never listen to music and don’t wear an apron…although I probably should wear an apron. I make a total mess! 😉

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    October 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    My kitchen rule: music (but only Motown and Frank Sinatra) is encouraged, wear an apron if there is flour or a nice outfit involved. Wine consumption is also encouraged. Sometimes, like last night, I forgo the rules and just bake barefoot in silence. Depends on my mood, but generally I believe in music and wine.

  • Kelly
    October 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I HAVE to clean as I go or I get very overwhelmed. So as soon as I finish with one pot/dish I wash it and put it away. Then at the end of the masterpeice I all I have is minimal clean up. My husband thinks this is weird and it drives him crazy when we are cooking together!

  • Lauren
    October 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Always taste test. I guess this kinda goes along with lick the spoon.

  • Maureen
    October 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Can I just tell you that I absolutely LOVE your blog, and your ability to write about food and cooking as true ART. Your words are fantastic Jenna!

  • Helen
    October 14, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I like to have music playing, no one in the kitchen but myself, and I am waiting on the apron to arrive!

  • melissa roby
    October 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I put on Fleetwood Mac….Frank Sinatra….Dean Martin….Toby Keith…Brooks & Dunn…..Michael B….anything that calms me…I pour myself a glass of wine…..or a specialty beer….and get to work on a new recipe for dinner…..this is one of the greatest joys in my day….no one can screw with this moment……

  • Carole
    October 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Rule #1: It needs cayenne pepper. Or brown sugar. Whichever.
    Rule #2: A beagle puppy is the best dishwasher (but we wash them again! Our washer has temperature boost!)
    Rule #3: When out of wine (the horror), sweet tea will suffice. But only if it’s my momma’s recipe.

  • Daisy
    October 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I love this post Jenna! No music. No apron (but if I owned one I’d wear it.)

  • Nora@LifeLifeEatRight
    October 14, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Well, first things first. I have to put my cat in another room. If I don’t she jumps on the stove and gets into lots of trouble. She is curious to the fun she is missing out on and will meow for a few minutes until she loses interest. No music. Apron when there is flour involved. Clean dishes that were in the drying rack (I don’t have a dishwasher) must be cleared before I dirty more and destroy my kitchen. I must have my food while it is still warm. Cleaning can wait. Garlic and onion skins are everywhere. My hands smell. But when all is said and done. Those things make me smile. Dessert is a must at the end of the day and often enjoyed with Glee and old copies of Bon Appetit or Food and Wine with my sleeping kitten.

  • kellyO
    October 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I like to have a glass of tonic water with lime. No apron (don’t own one). And clean as I go or I can’t relax while I eat.

    Great post!

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    October 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    1) Always have fun
    2) Try not to injure yourself.

    I rarely adhere to the second rule, unfortunately.

    Chocolate most definitely deserves respect.

  • Lindsey @ Morningstar Project
    October 14, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    The more I read your blog, the more I love it! I want to jump in your kitchen and cook up a storm with you, and eat brownie batter too 🙂 As for my rules: no music (I love the sound of hot oil in a pan), no apron (because I always forget), and plenty of sampling along the way (because isn’t that the point!)

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    October 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    <3 this! I am an apron kind of girl, hair up, no noise… I like to be by myself too until the process is complete. I'm messy, and I d on't care!

  • Kelsi
    October 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while now and I wanted to let you know it’s one of my favorites. I love your recipes, pictures and perspective on life. They all make me smile.

  • Paige @Running Around Normal
    October 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Wow I love this! I guess I don’t have any “rules” per say? But mostly, there’s a glass of wine involved when cooking something that needs to be stirred a lot 😉

    • Leigh
      October 14, 2010 at 8:22 pm

      You summed it up nicely … wine and stirring seem to go hand and hand for some reason.

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    October 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I love it that there are ‘Kitchen Rules’ that are determined by who ‘rules’ the particular kitchen. Here are mine, not ‘right.’ Just mine (and subject to change):

    1) Cleanliness IS next to godliness & order IS divine. A place for everything & everything in its place. (Can anyone tell I went to Catholic Girl’s Priory School?)

    2) Most definitely clean as I go. If cook for 50–you’d never know it when things are served. Thomas Keller is my god (ELR right there w/him) & love the order of his domain. (If haven’t been to his French Laundry:

    3) A Golden Retreiver/cat in the kitchen (or 2-4) a big plus++++. Friends also very welcome. Esp if silly, sucking back the vino & adding warmth & hilarity.

    4) Everything farm fresh/organic/non-GMO as possible. Easy-peasey when live in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

    5) Music must conform to menu. French for French. Italian/Italian. Spanish/Spanish…etc. Am a cohesive kinda gal.

    6) If there is BF dancing, friends laughing, family, etc–that is a memorable meal even if burnt to a friken crisp! Above all should be about memories & love. Which is why I am a HUGE fan of ELR!

  • Moni'sMeals
    October 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Usually no music so I can get my goove on but if I do have Music~ love jazz, sinatra, and good sing alongs. I never wear my aprons and I want to much more. I have to very adorable ones, so hey maybe I will next baking session. 😉

  • Nathan
    October 14, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Onions, when I worked in a kitchen in Wrightsville Beach NC – we had an ancient onion chopping machine we called Old Yeller – after the book, cause both always brought tears…

  • Susan (Mom Swim Bike Run)
    October 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    My rules are make what you love and love what you make even if it is chocolate and buttercream and that my dear is why I love Eat, Live, Run.

  • Deliciously Suite
    October 14, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I have One Rule: Get messy. The food almost always tastes better at the end.

  • Adam
    October 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    1. Never leave boiling beans unattended.
    2. If something drops behind the stove (if it is smaller than a quarter; forget about it).
    3. I always get the kitchen cleaned up before serving my meal. It makes for a much more enjoyable time knowing you don’t have a ton of work to finish afterwards! 🙂

    • Nicole K
      October 15, 2010 at 6:42 am

      I love your forget about it rule! We are so opposite, love it though!

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards)
    October 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    lick every spoon.

  • Nic at The Fit Writer
    October 15, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Everyone out, door shut, radio on. 🙂

    And I do *try* to clear up as I go along…

  • Kristy
    October 15, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Jenna – When I read your writing I get deep feelings that I cant describe. 🙂 You verbalize so many emotions that I feel but often try to hid b/c they are so abstact. I adore you! (I’m a non-sexual way …)

  • Holly (Food, Make-up, Hair)
    October 15, 2010 at 6:10 am

    In the evening – TV on, glass of wine.
    Any other time – TV off for quiet time.
    Always – I get all my ingredients out first, hair pulled up and away from face, old comfey t-shirt and sweats. I never cook in my good clothes, it’s just a stain waiting to happen.

  • Kelsey
    October 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Music on, glass of wine next to my work station, apron on when I remember before my hands get messy, candles lit, cats looking at me like I’m carzy. And I do yoga in between steps if I have to wait for something to cook. Like if I’m waiting for onions to cook for my butternut squash stew… and then my boyfriend comes home and I don’t hear him and he catches me in the kitchen in full eagle pose. Not that it ever happened last night…

  • Jessie
    October 15, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Apron, music, and my little boy pushing our kitchen chair up to the counter, because he wants to help. 🙂 We always get messy and my kitchen sink always is full! I need a dish washer fairy! (I still rinse the dishes even though I have a dish washer.) Call me crazy!

  • Nicole K
    October 15, 2010 at 6:41 am

    My cooking rules…

    Baby in highchair with a plastic spoon

    Apron on and well secured

    No music or tv on (you see we have a great room and you can see our whole living space from our kitchen!)

    Dog sitting next to my feet, waiting for whatever drops into his mouth!

    A clean, soapy sponge and dry towel…to clean up and do dishes as I go…Messes are just not cool with me! Except my hands, you have to get your hands in there and get them dirty!

    And I must pick at whatever I bake…you know to make sure it is super yummy!

  • Sarah-Mae @ Eat, Run, Knit
    October 15, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Cleaning-up afterwards is a must and must be done before sitting down with baked goods, otherwise it will never get done!
    Music is a must!
    Using as much fresh produce as possible in my recipes before my fridge is full of produce that is reverting back to water ^_^

  • Sarah-Mae @ Eat, Run, Knit
    October 15, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Oh, and use your hands. I rarely mix with a fork or spoon. Get right in there and feel the doughy goodness inbetween your fingers!

  • Kris
    October 15, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I love listening to music when I’m making dinner, usually accompanied by a glass of wine.

    I wear an apron when I bake cuz I’m kind of messy. I love baking on Saturday mornings when it’s quiet in the house. So the apron keeps my jammies from getting covered in flour!

  • Jamie @ Food in Real Life
    October 15, 2010 at 7:11 am

    My kitchen rules:

    1. Clean as a I go
    2. Get stuff all over myself
    3. Run the dishwasher even it’s not full and things are all over the place if it makes things easier
    4. Salt is your friend (my friend anyway)

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    October 15, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Number 4 is pretty top on my list. It made me so happy because I recenlty divulged my passion for chocolate!
    Another rule I have is that food consumed during cooking/baking/taste testing does not count for calories or food intake for the day. It’s like it doesn’t even exist. 😉

  • Sarah
    October 15, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Cheese. A good dinner recipe must contain cheese. Just like a good dessert recipe must contain chocolate. Or raspberries. Or almonds. Ok, who am I kidding–I don’t often meet dessert recipes that I don’t like!

    All this talk about aprons is making me think that it might be time to buy one!

  • LizLivingVegan
    October 15, 2010 at 8:03 am

    My #1 kitchen rule: It’s going to get messy, might as well embrace it 🙂

  • Meg
    October 15, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Just made this last night as I had a beautiful little bell shaped squash staring at me from my fruit basket. It tastes great on toast but I think I snacked too much on my squash because it turned out a bit too lemony. I’ve learned my lesson: never make Butternut Butter hungry. For shame!

  • Anna
    October 15, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I love this post.
    Other kitchen musts… turn up the music and dance around to get in the groove.
    Try a cookie a few minutes before it’s “cool and ready” just to make sure…
    Chop ginger weekly… soothing, relaxing, releases the best aromas, and you can always add diced ginger to something you’re making.
    Never be afraid to experiment to your hearts content (even if those around you think that recipes = rule books – silly people don’t know that cooking & baking is all about creativity and a little bit of this and a little bit of that)

  • Jayne
    October 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    When I cook, my husband puts on the music full blast. It’s the good smells, the good music, dancing, singing silly and being at home with my loves! My dog and cat love all the commotion too! Best part of my day.

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    October 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I love the kitchen rule! 🙂

  • Mary
    October 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    1) Music to sing along to (and possibly dance :))
    2) Always taste the batter
    3) Do the dishes as you go so they aren’t scary when you are done
    4) Be alone – for some reason I don’t really like to cook/bake with help (unless they are going to clean up for me…)

  • mona
    October 31, 2010 at 7:55 am


  • Jocelyn
    November 8, 2010 at 6:34 am

    I listen to my Etta James pandora station, I wear my frilly apron, and pearls. It makes me feel pretty and special.

    • Rose-Anne
      February 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      I love this. Etta James is amazing, and pearls too? LOVE it!