• Morgan Hungerford West's Pantry •
You can’t talk about the DC creative community without mentioning Morgan Hungerford West. Over the past few years, DC's creative scene has become [WAY] more online-accessible, and Morgan has been at the helm of that growth- dare we say, the reason for it! With the creation of the digital community, @ACreativeDC, Morgan has singlehandedly connected, promoted and celebrated a thriving population of DC artists, 100K strong. The philosophy of ACreativeDC is about representation. Morgan fostered a burgeoning DC creative scene through encouragement, celebration and love. And so, ACreativeDC is the embodiment of #pinefor. We pine for her, because she pines for others.
She herself is an artist, creative consultant, art director, and lover of food. We had the honor to peer through her kitchen, let’s take a look inside.
"I learned how to cook when I was in college: I was living alone, and I was a pretty strict vegetarian – I got into the habit of cooking for myself almost every night. I eventually started eating meat again (side note: the first time I ever roasted a chicken I realized afterwards that I’d put it in the pan upside down), but setting aside the time to think through a meal and to make sure you’re getting everything you need out of it, that’s still something I do to this day. I knew a lot of vegetarians who kind of just existed on garlic bread, you know? I really just have so many nice memories of like, feeling very proud about having cracked the code on how to NOT get bored eating different combinations of black beans and couscous and spinach for a week straight, or what a cool discovery it was that the Thai Market down the street from my house made fresh tofu every Monday, and that it was way less expensive and tasted so much better than what I’d been buying from the Food Lion. Now, because of where I live and the work that I do, I have access to + have learned a lot about seasonal + local + just GOOD FOOD in general – I don’t take that for granted, and I really try to make it a starting point for whatever happens in our kitchen. Dinner is probably the best example - on any given night, ideal scenario is that the house is stocked with produce and proteins and products that – without a lot of work – taste like ideal versions of themselves. It’s never fancy and it usually comes together pretty quickly, but ultimately it’s dedicated time that I get to spend with myself and with my husband and that’s kind of the ROI for the budget and the amount of time that goes into it. So yeah - my food style is...wrapped up in a lot of memories and identity and meaning.
I love how food is so specific and so personal and it’s still so easily shared. I love the combination of a dinner table and friends and wine above most things. I love learning about where it came from and the why and how behind it. Foodways and how we push that narrative forward really interests me, especially in terms of visuals and photography and video and new media - that’s been kind of tangential to a lot of the work I’ve been doing for a while now and something I’ve been increasingly thinking more and more about.
If I’m ever wondering what to do with an ingredient, the first place I’ll head is Food52 – they’ve done such a good job of putting editorial content alongside user-contributed recipes and it’s a great resource. NYTimes Cooking is also super helpful. Bon Appetit sends out useful newsletters that I actually click. Between IG and Bloglovin I follow a bunch of food writers and bloggers and photographers, so really the short answer here is “the internet.” And all that said, I’m really glad to have these resources available, but if I’m ever avoiding the kitchen it’s usually because I’m tired and out of ideas and I just don’t care. Sometimes the answer is to just make a grilled cheese sandwich and shut up about it.
Markets & Shopping
My SUNDAY STRATEGY involves teamwork: if my husband and I walk down to the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market together, that means we can walk home with four armfuls of greens and eggs (we eat a lot of eggs) and whatever else we need to get through like, Wednesday. We’ll make a couple of trips to Each Peach or Glen’s Garden Market throughout the week for more proteins or veggies and while Topo Chico is king, we’re currently trying to figure out how to save the planet from our Safeway Refreshe/canned club soda addiction.
I love shopping at Each Peach for prepared hummus and Trickling Springsmilk, Freshfarm Dupont for most everything (including flowers, shishito peppers from Tree & Leaf, and Al Volo pasta), Glen’s Garden Market for meat and prepared food, and Odd Provisions for a really excellent curation of wine and beer and pantry stuff. Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market is great too, and the Brookland Farmer’s Market happens every Saturday on the Arts Walk, which is where my studio is located. It’s cute.
Fridge Must Haves
Gordy’s Pickle Jar - their Sweet Chips are a snack fave and the Okra is good on EVERYTHING. Sparkling water in some format. Each Peach Hummmus. Twin Post Farm eggs. GINGER ALE - my Dad insists that you need it in the ho use in case you’re not feeling well. He’s right (and we’ve got a frozen container of Pho 14 broth in the freezer for the same reason). Also, re: my Dad: he just stayed overnight at our place. The Cracker Barrel cheese and Coca Cola are evidence of his visit :)
I’m not a big cookbook collector (see: THE INTERNET), but anything I can kind of read like a book-book (or that has really epic photography) I dig and will dig into, often.
Home & Kitchen Design
The visuals are ALWAYS changing - whether we’re moving furniture around or painting things on the wall or even just swapping out pillows, or vases, or the records and books that are front-facing on the shelves. I love color and THINGS but it’s a constant balance between making sure form and function are married and working together. Especially in terms of the kitchen - open shelving is a tricky and never-ending merchandising challenge. I live for it, honestly, but my husband definitely does not."
To Sum it Up:
- pantry item she can't live without: coarse sea salt.
- two items that are always in her fridge: CLUB SODA (tattooed across her knuckles), fresh produce.
- her go to inspiration cookbook: Julia Turshen’s “Small Victories” - pretty delightful
- her most trusted kitchen tools: Le Creuset and a really sharp knife
- 5 words that describe her pantry style: at a city-living minimum!
- her all time favorite market: Dupont FRESHFARM, but a recent find while traveling: Rosemont Market & Grocery in Portland, Maine.
- women she pines for: SO MANY. TOO MANY. ALL OF THEM. Washington, DC is filled with strong, smart, creative, dope women and a few of them are: