Welcome! My name is Barrett Bridenhagen and I’ve been cooking and entertaining for a long time, thanks to my mother. She insisted that all three of her children learn to cook and generally help in the kitchen when we were small- it started with cracking eggs into small bowls for cookies and mastering French toast, and of course, there was dish duty. Eventually, we graduated to cooking dinner one night per week. I quickly realized I preferred cooking to washing dishes and took on more and more duties.
I hosted my first dinner party as a senior in high school with my closest girl friend. I don’t remember much of the menu but I do remember making a tiramisu recipe that involved a make-shift double boiler and a giant mess of eggs well on their way towards being meringues and wishing we had fake i.d.’s to buy Masala wine. I also remember handwritten invitations, a guest list and seating chart and hours spent on music selection.
The tradition continued and grew in college where I made a traditional Thanksgiving meal in Paris. It involved a trip to the market and a morning full of swallowing my pride and performing charades as I acted out a pumpkin and asked in my best French for a “grande, orange, courge, s’il vous plait”. It took all day, but I was able to purchase turkey legs, potatoes, green beans, some sort of yam like root vegetable and buy a berry tarte. I cooked the haphazard meal in the run-down ill-equipped kitchen of the dormitory my friend Linda lived at and we drank 5 franc wine and told stories. We ended the evening dancing on the Champs Elysee and didn’t make the metro closing. Untraditional, well, yes and no. It was in the tradition of my love for cooking and entertaining, that The Dirty Laundry Kitchen was born.