It started as a casual conversation in adjacent chairs in a local hair salon in July 2011 between this writer and Valley Reporter columnist David Cohen and, so far, resulted in some 550 weekly recipes written in a simple, no-fuss style.
“We were sitting next to each other at A Right Cut and I’d just started a food blog as a way to be in touch with our trade show customers. You said ‘send me a couple of them and I will use them for filler’,” Cohen, co-owner of Baked Beads, recalled.
“After a few weeks, you said, I need one every week by Wednesday morning and by the way, you’re working for glory,” he added.
And so it began. Cohen’s David Doesn’t Bake weekly recipe column has been one of the paper’s most popular features and one that many in The Valley have used to guide their dinner plans and seen fit to discuss with Cohen at Mehuron’s.
Over a decade later, Cohen and his wife Robin are simplifying their lives and also very busy with their jewelry business. That means only one monthly David Doesn’t Bake column for The Valley Reporter’s readers going forward and also creates an opening for a new food columnist.
As for how working for glory worked out, Cohen said while he was food shopping, one of his daughters asked him not long after he started writing the column, ‘does everyone in here think it’s necessary to tell you what they’re cooking for dinner?’
“I love that. My time at Mehuron’s was extended once I started writing the column because people did want to talk about recipes and what they were cooking. One of the most gratifying things is when people tell me that they tried things they might have found intimidating. The best thing is when people tell me they’ve notched up their cooking because of something they’ve seen in the column,” Cohen said.
Cohen said that personally, writing the weekly column has been awesome for his cooking and his family’s eating.
“Most of us go to our standby meals. This has forced to go beyond those standbys. I’ve signed up for emails and blogs and visit food websites all the time looking for new things because of this column,” he said.
Cohen said that his most popular columns and recipes and those that have garnered him the most feedback at Mehuron’s and the post office and around town are those that are hearty comfort foods such as his Deconstructed Lasagna or Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf.
Cohen said that one of the best things about the column and about feeding his family has been when his wife Robin tells him there is nothing to eat for dinner and he comes home and forages through the kitchen finding simple things to put together to make a meal.
“Those are our dinners. Everything I’ve written about is something I’ve cooked. It has allowed me to think about food more than ever! I find it meditative when I get home and I start cooking. I may not know what I’m going to do once I get those onions sautéing,” he said.
As for why his column is called David Doesn’t Bake, he said “baking is science. There’s no room for creativity. It’s not like you taste batter and say ‘this needs more baking powder’.”