Real Food Kitchen Tour: Family2Table

. 9 min read
A warm welcome Project365(3) Day 10

Welcome to another edition of the Real Food Kitchen Tour. This week, we will be touring the New York City kitchen of Chef Emily Duff, author of Family2Table.

What’s a Real Foodie?

A “real foodie” is someone who cooks “traditional” food. We cook stuff from scratch using real ingredients, like raw milk, grass-fed beef, eggs from chickens that run around outdoors, whole grains, sourdough and yogurt starters, mineral-rich sea salt, and natural sweeteners like honey and real maple syrup.

We don’t use modern foods that are either fake, super-refined, or denatured. This includes modern vegetable oils like Crisco and margarine, soy milk, meat from factory farms, pasteurized milk from cows eating corn and soybeans, refined white flour, factory-made sweeteners like HFCS or even refined white sugar, or commercial yeast.

We believe in eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that come from nature. So we shop at farmer’s markets or buy direct from the farmer, or we grow food in our own backyards.

This Week’s Real Food Kitchen Tour: Family2Table

This week we travel to New York City to tour the kitchen of Chef Emily Duff, author of Family2Table.

Emily Duff began her professional cooking career in downtown New York City in 1989, helping to shape TriBeCa as a culinary destination. She worked for local farmers at Greenmarkets in NYC and Brooklyn selling the seasonal bounty of culinary-minded farmers Frank Wilklow & Ray Bradley.  In 1993 she opened Henrietta’s Feed & Grain on Hudson Street in Manhattan’s West Village which was one of the first NYC farm to table restaurants. She lives in the West Village with her husband and children, teaches cooking, rides her bike to local markets every day, plays in a rock band and blogs at Family2Table.blogspot.com.

Blog Name: Family2Table
Blog Author: Emily Duff
Location: NYC, NY
How Long Blogging: Sporadically for almost 2 years
House or Apartment: Tiny Apartment
Size of Kitchen: 11×9
Things You Love About Your Kitchen: It’s big for this type of NYC tenement apartment – the building is from 1887 and the entire apartment is 365 square feet!  4 people in a space that small makes you grateful for a “large” room.  We built a nice wooden prep counter and cabinet that makes the city apartment feel very “country” and homey. We also refaced the tin cabinets with wainscoting that is sweet and charming.  I also had an old neighbor who owns a kitchen supply company down on the Bowery construct a small stainless steel prep table just like the tables I had in my professional kitchens here in Manhattan.  It’s also the room you walk into as soon as you enter the apartment. It is the center of the apartment, literally & figuratively and it’s also where our shower is.
Things You Would Change About Your Kitchen: The one window in the kitchen looks out onto an airshaft, which is very typical for Manhattan.  I think we have used this space really well by building shelves into the window above the air conditioner where we can store dried herbs, teas, bulk goods like sea salts, soaked & dehydrated nuts, popcorn, grains, legumes etc.  It’s my open pantry and I am super-grateful to my sweet husband for making this happen, but I would LOVE a window with a view.  I am always inspired to create flavors & dishes by the pace of the world and the change of the seasons. It would be lovely to watch that all happen in the privacy of my own kitchen and respond to it like a performance art piece. In a perfect world I would have more storage space & counter space but we do just fine with what we have.
Favorite Tools And Gadgets: I’m not a gadget person per se.  I am over the moon with the right pair of tongs (size and tension are key for my small hands) and I do love a reliable hand blender.  My diamond whetstone is a must to keep my tools sharp and I do find my little $39.99 cuisinart ice cream maker a treat to have.  OH! The grinder attachment for my kitchen aid is a big friend to me.  Being able to make chopped liver and grind meats for my own sausages and meat blends for burgers is a plus.
Biggest Challenge Cooking Real Food: I see them as opportunities. I have been a professional chef since 1988 and getting real food out to 120 people a night, spinning in circles, sweating under pressure was a challenge as far as time was concerned.  Nowadays, cooking 3 meals a day for 4 people seems like something I could do with my eyes closed.  I guess I have a distinct advantage in that I have honed skills & habits for kitchen management that allow me to create most meals in 20 minutes or less.  I arrange my “prep” for the week on the weekends and keep my mis en place at home just I would do for my restaurant.  That’s a hard habit to break and one that I am grateful for – I teach that type of meal planning to my students and they tell me that it has changed the way they approach meal planning.  I would say that the biggest challenge cooking real food for me is deciding what to make everyday.  To keep pushing myself to be creative, fresh and seasonal in a way that allows the meal to be an experience for my entire family – a learning experience, a taste experience, and one that keeps me fully engaged. More than anything, I hate to be bored. Creating real food is the most exciting thing I can think of.  Doing it in your own home, to nourish your growing family should be exciting times ten!  The greatest challenge that I see, however, is to create food that is sensual: beautiful & delicious and not purely giving in to nutritionism.  Especially when it comes to feeding children. If you tell them it’s good for them and it looks unpleasant – good luck getting them to eat it.  If you tell them it’s delicious, and it is – that’s a different story. They will always eat what looks & tastes great – anyone will.  It is important to remember that we eat with our eyes first.
Current Family Favorite Meal: The weather is turning to fall and there is a chill in the air.  We are enjoying hearty lentils made with rich beef stock with the nicest scent of vanilla bean, braised lamb shanks and raw sheep’s milk yogurt spiced with garam masala and mint.  Lamb is always the easiest sell in my house.  Burgers crusted with oregano and stuffed with feta, chops marinated in Dijon mustard & thyme and broiled till medium rare, braised shanks with cinnamon stick and orange zest or sausage with rosemary & caramelized onions.
Favorite Cookbooks: I love all cookbooks and am an avid collector.  I especially love the ones from the 40’s just after WWII when you can plainly see which company has sponsored the book and want you to use those  “ingredients.”  Cookbooks, historically are an amazing way to see how we have changed as a culture.  The anthropology and sociology revealed in cookbooks is fascinating.  I don’t ever really follow a recipe but look to them more specifically for inspiration.  Some of my favorites are from Darina Allen, Jennifer McClagen, Deborah Madison, Shannon Hayes, Judy Rogers, Alice Waters…oh my goodness, they’re all women!!! Well, well…would you look at that!  I also look online at restaurant menus to find inspiration and recommend that people use You Tube as a resource when it comes to being able to watch technique at work.  Especially for Real Foodies & butchering, these resources are quite valuable.   As far as a “Bible” for Real Food, I would consider Julia Child’s [easyazon-link asin=”0375413405″ locale=”us”]Mastering the Art of French Cooking[/easyazon-link] as close as it gets.

Our little stove and prep table and a new batch of gelatinous beef broth


Making mayo. You can see the open window pantry behind me. I find that holding the oil higher gets a thinner stream and better emulsification. It’s also fun! The kids love making mayo!


My knife drawer. I have lost many a finger tip on that mandolin but i would be lost without it.


Our freezer is small but it’s packed




Yogurt cheese straining and Kombucha on the counter top near the heating pipe.


Cookbooks are everywhere we can find a surface. Mostly on top of cabinets. This cabinet is over the kitchen sink. the tile to the left is the shower….yes, we shower in the kitchen…Welcome to the West Village.


The kitchen sink with our Pure Earth Technologies 3 stage water filter that removes flouride, chloride, chloramines, bacteria and sediment. NYC water is chunky with sediment. Blech!


What kitchen would be complete without Frankenstein and Simon Bar Sinister? That’s Henry’s pantry contribution. I also use this pantry to ferment my ketchup. Always label something when it comes from a special farmer. That coriander is from Cheryl Rogowski.


Chef Emily Duff, with her little ones — Henry and Sylvia

Check Out the Previous Real Food Kitchen Tour Posts

Real Food Kitchen Tour: Artist Ruth Creative
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Food With Kid Appeal
Real Food Kitchen Tour: And Here We Are
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Whole Green Love
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Homemade Mommy
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Pantry Book
Real Food Kitchen Tour: McKenzie McCarty
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Dimes2Vines
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Gutsy
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Wannabe Homesteader
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Nourishing Our Children
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Life Is A Melody
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Too Many Jars in My Kitchen!
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Natural Health at Home
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Promise Land Farm
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Mama and Baby Love
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Healthy Habit Coach
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Life From Scratch
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Our Nourishing Roots
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Jody Brantley
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Eating My Vegetables
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Well Fed Homestead
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Farm Food Blog
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Unmistakably Food
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Health
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Prairie Homestead
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Bubbling Brook Farm
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Taste is Trump
Real Food Kitchen Tour: CHEESESLAVE
Real Food Kitchen Tour: GAPS Diet Kitchen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Mom
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Radically Natural Living
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Amanda Brown
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Pamela Montazeri
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Cracking an Egg with One Hand
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Yolks, Kefir & Gristle
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Okparaeke Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Kid
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Artistta
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Nourished & Nurtured
Real Food Kitchen Tour: May All Seasons Be Sweet to Thee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Horting Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Hybrid Rasta Mama
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Granola Mom 4 God
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Devotee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Forager
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Leftover Queen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Health Home & Happiness

Let Us Tour Your Kitchen

Are you a real foodie? Do you have a kitchen that you’d like to see featured on CHEESESLAVE?

Please email me at annmarie AT cheeseslave dot com. Either send me a link to a Flickr set or email me your photos (minimum of 5, but more is better). Note: Please send me LARGE photos. Minimum 610 width. If they’re too small, I can’t use them.

Oh, and please send the answers to the above questions (at the very top of this post).

As much as I’d love to include all the photos I receive, I can’t guarantee that I will use your photos in the series. I’m looking for creative, good quality photos.

Some ideas for photos:

  • Show us what’s in your fridge or what’s fermenting on your counter
  • Take some snaps of some of your favorite kitchen gadgets, or show us how you organize your spices
  • Got backyard chickens? Send some pics!
  • How about a lovely herb garden?
  • Kids or pets are always cute!
  • Try to include at least one photo of yourself, ideally in your kitchen

And no, you don’t have to have a blog to be included in the tour.

Photo credit: A warm welcome Project365(3) Day 10 by Keith Williamson, on Flickr and photos by Memories by Michelle


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