This photo was taken in spring of 2011. It ran alongside one of our first “Providers” for Bon Appetit — a column all about feeding a family — and was shot by Peter van Agtmael, a Magnum photographer whose name is more commonly associated with war zones in the Middle East than with pork chops and market greens. I remember we all laughed recreating the thought process of the photo editor who assigned him — Hey, let’s send a war photographer to document what happens when you try to cook for young kids — before we got down to the serious business of shooting those vinegary chops you see in the foreground. Our daughters were seven and eight years old at the time, requiring stools to reach the stovetop; they spent a lot of time climbing on counters and furniture, and spent a good part of their days “talking” their Playmobil dolls. (If they were home right now, I’m sure they could give you the entire personal history of that horse-riding dude shown in the front left corner.)
I refuse to get too nostalgic here, but it’s hard. The current issue of Bon Appetit (March 2017) includes our final Providers column and I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks revisiting these early snapshots of our girls, who now cook their own meals, stream Scandal and Jane the Virgin on their laptops, and babysit for kids who are the ages they were in this photo. I’m not going to make you come along for my weepfest — my happy weepfest, of course — but I did want to point you in the direction of our Providers swan song, a list of the hard-won kitchen wisdom we’ve collected over the past six years: The Top 50 Things We’ve Learned cooking for those little monkeys. Check it out and feel free to chime in with your own thoughts as always.
We still hope to contribute to BA now and then, but in the meantime, big shout-out to our editors for the privilege of piggybacking on their shooting star.
P.S. One thing that has most definitely not changed: How often we eat those pork chops.