They’re queer in the kitchen.
by Marene Gustin
PoorMansFeast.com is cookbook author and editor Elissa Altman’s James Beard award-winning blog about food, friends, and family.
Altman writes that she launched the blog in 2008, “when I realized that, after years as a cookbook editor, a food columnist at a reasonably major national newspaper, a personal chef, and a (short stint as a) caterer in Manhattan, I was far happier eating a perfectly poached egg on toast at home (mine or someone else’s) than I was a vertically-plated, pomegranate-glazed foie gras Napoleon in a fabulous new cash-only eatery on the same Gowanus side-street where my grandfather was mugged in 1967. Not literally, but you get the idea. Sometimes, hip food can be very tiring.”
She writes the most wonderful, simple, and fulfilling recipes wrapped up in personal essays about family, friends, and her partner, Susan. The blog beautifully makes the connection between food and love.
Queerinthekitchen.com is not anything like that.
Nope, Queerinthekitchen.com is two gays writing about the fabulous dinners they make, throwing in some queer humor and a couple of beefcake shots of a shirtless chef.
This is what John Boerger and Kyle Tatum of Dallas wrote on their site: “Just like the time you went to a ‘quaint’ dinner party hosted by a gay that turned out to be nicer than your wedding, gays are just really good at taking something simple, and elevating it till it’s barely recognizable. This blog is for those who appreciate the finer things in food and entertaining, but lack the brilliant, sometimes bitchy motivation from a gay needed for you to erect (hehe) said fabulousness yourself.”
You get the idea. It’s about food and it’s hilarious.
Both Boerger and Tatum are hairdressers by day and amateur chefs by night. Neither have any culinary or journalistic training, but both learned to cook early in life.
“Kyle started doing my hair, and we bonded over our infatuation with Ina Garten [the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network]. We became friends and started cooking together,” says Boerger.
“We started talking about doing a cookbook,” adds Tatum. “I just love to get together and cook and drink lots of wine while we’re doing it. But we decided to start this blog last October because it was an affordable way to do something fun that we love.”
They hope to follow in the food-blogger steps of Julie Powell, the famous blogger whose Julie/Julia Project (chronicling her attempt to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days) was turned into a book and then the hit movie Julie & Julia in 2009.
In fact, one of Boerger’s favorite recipes is for beef bourguignon. He was smitten with Powell’s attempts to create Julia Child’s famous version, but found it too daunting, and turned instead to Garten’s easier recipe of the French classic. A lot of the recipes on the site are versions attributed to Garten.
Others come from family and friends. “My favorite recipe is for John’s egg rolls,” says Tatum. “They are really amazing. He’s Asian, but this is the only Asian recipe he knows.”
Another friend is Metroplex film critic Julie Fisk. The guys do a weekly “pairs with” posting that links Fisk’s reviews with recipes like the recent Oz the Great and Powerful + salted caramel monkey bread. Flying monkeys—get it?
They paired the perfect hard-boiled egg recipe with A Good Day to Die Hard and a recipe for spaghetti squash with sage and brown butter with a review of the zombie rom-com Warm Bodies.
“We do like to throw dinner parties,” says Tatum. “Although they are eclectic. Maybe we have six recipes we want to try, so it could be breakfast dishes with desserts or something else disjointed. Luckily, our friends are good sports about it.”
Oh, the photos of the beefy shirtless chef that adorn the site? Another friend. “We could never eat any of our food and look like that!” laughs Tatum.
The guys text daily and spend one or two nights a week working on the blog. So far it’s been a fun hobby, but the site is gaining a lot of fans. “A lot for our readers don’t even cook. They don’t try the recipes—they say they just love to read us because it’s fun,” says Boerger.
And it is great fun. But do try the recipes and enjoy the joy of cooking in your own home. And who knows? There could be a Queer in the Kitchen cookbook coming soon.
Marene Gustin also writes about Houston’s brunches in this issue of OutSmart.