Classics stick around for good reason, and Marion Cunningham’s retro Theater Steak is proof that a one-dish dinner can be downright delicious.
While it’s easy to turn to Pinterest for new recipes these days, I think the best ideas still come from the classics. When I’m in need of dinner inspiration, I head back in time – past the cookbooks from the latest celebrity chef or hot new food blogger and straight to the ones that have stood the test of time.
Despite the constant bombardment of fancy new flavors and gourmet ingredients, simplicity really does win out.
Another cook who felt this way was legendary cookbook author and home cook Marion Cunningham. If you’ve made her famous yeasted waffles, then you know what I mean – her restraint is why her recipes have remained dog-eared and splattered by countless loyal followers throughout the years.
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As I was paging through “The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook” recently, a recipe titled Theater Steak caught my eye. It was by Cunningham and its concept was simple: a one-dish steak dinner that, according to her, ensured a theater-goer would make his curtain call on time. While I am never one to turn down a filet and mushrooms, it was the buttery nest of toasted bread sopping in pan juices that lured me in.
Once in the kitchen, a part of me felt driven to make little tweaks and changes as I often do. But I refrained. I chose to trust instead. And with that trust came the true reward: the gentle reminder that more does not always mean better, and that, yes, less really is often more.
Nealey Dozier is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a website for food and home cooking.