• Linda Miller Nicholson's Pantry •
Linda Miller Nicholson is a self proclaimed pastaholic. You may know her from her vibrant instagram @SaltySeattle, showcasing her portfolio of pasta art (yes it’s a thing, and yes we’re into it!). She treats pasta like a textile, and finds inspiration in the world around her. She's been known to stop strangers on the street to ask to snap a photo of their shirt for example, and somehow turns those photos into pasta. Everything from fashion, politics, nature, to history - she's found a way to turn it into pasta. For Linda, her environment is a constant source of inspiration for her edible art.
Walk into this rainbow pasta-maven's pantry with us 🌈
"Hi, my name is Linda, and I’m a pastaholic. When your work, cookbook, freelance gigs, and social media all revolve around carbs, glorious eggy, vegetable-dyed, floury carbs, you’ve got to make some concessions in the totality of your eating habits. Since I spend most of my waking hours working with pasta, I try to only actually eat it once a day, usually at dinner. I also host a lot of dinner parties, and pasta is usually the star of the show, at least until Cards Against Humanity comes out after several bottles of wine.
That means for breakfast and lunch I go lean and mean. I try and eat plant-based as much as possible, and really enjoy non-meat proteins like tofu (crispy fried Buffalo-style is my fave), and nuts. I rarely eat rice or bread since I eat so much pasta, instead I try to load non-noodle meals with vegetables, fruits, and plant or fish protein. I do have a weakness for masa dough, and make fresh tortillas (colored with vegetables, naturally!) at least once a week. Current obsessions include pea protein milk, ahi poke, and Quicos, aka giant, fried, salted corn kernels (basically fancy, non-gmo Corn Nuts).
I really like to use my food to tell a story, whether it’s a political statement, thoughts on a current event, or just an homage to something beautiful. The convergence of art and food is kind of the meaning of life for me, and I’m fortunate to be able to use food as a medium through which to communicate my innermost thoughts to the world. Does that sound batshit crazy? Well, you asked!
markets & shopping
When I lived in Italy in my 20s, I got in the habit of shopping daily at each little market dedicated to one thing- the cheese shop, vegetable stand, deli, etc. I’ve never been able to break that habit, and so I find myself at the PCC (local co-op), Trader Joe’s, or fishmonger every morning, and at farmer’s markets on the weekends. This comes in handy for recipe testing, but I do admittedly spend more time in grocery stores than I probably should. Luckily when you shop like I do, you don’t have to go down the center aisles too often, since things like tamari, vinegar, or sesame oil last a while, and really it’s just about gathering the vegetables, protein, or dairy of the day. I don’t like big chain grocery stores- they make me more judgmental and sad than I have any business being. I’m constantly appalled at the plethora of new products all of Monsanto’s little friends dream up on the regular. Two things I always do at the store- bring my own bags, and bag my own groceries.
I go through a lot of flour, given the pasta thing, so I order it in 55# bags, most often from Central Milling. My beloved chickens and ducks provide all the eggs that I blend with vegetables to make the colors in my pasta, so I’m fortunate to not have to lug home the 15 or so cartons I’d need each week otherwise.
A colorful, revolving display of seasonal vegetables and fruit I can either nosh on or turn into pasta (I love Melissa’s Produce for seasonality, quality, and diversity)
Lots of fresh, whole turmeric root
Pea protein milk (my husband drinks cow nonfat and my son drinks cow whole, so we are officially a 3-milk household)
Hot sesame oil
Massimo Bottura’s balsamic vinegar
I’m amaro-obsessed. There are always lots of amari in my fridge, especially Meletti
There’s usually homemade chicken stock aka liquid gold floating around in there
White Mountain Organic Bulgarian Yogurt
Topo Chico sparkling mineral water
Spindrift flavored sparkling water (La Croix’ cooler and tastier competitor made with real fruit so it has a few- like 10- calories, but doesn’t taste artificial)
An embarrassing amount of flour, usually from Central Milling
The world’s greatest chocolate chips- Guittard Akoma
Frieda’s purple sweet potatoes- amazing multi-generational woman-founded and ran company
Peanuts, marcona almonds, cashews
Tons of paprika from both Spain and Hungary, depending on my application
Canned whole San Marzano tomatoes
Salt, Diamond Crystal for cooking, Murray River or Maldon for finishing
All of my pasta tools are at the top of this list
Both fluted and straight rolling cutters of various sizes and widths
The gnocchi/cavatelli boards I’m designing along with a woodworker friend
My various ravioli and filled pasta shapers and cutters
Solid, heavy rolling pins
My induction cooktop
I love cookbooks. I’ve been cooking really avidly since I was four, when my dad killed my best friend Slobber (a cow) and I vowed to no longer eat meat (I remained vegetarian for 20 years, and to this day I’m more team plant than team animal as far as what I crave). Since no one in my house really cooked AND I was vegetarian, it was basically cook or eat microwaved horrors, so I had to rely upon cookbooks like Rodale’s Guide to Natural Foods, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Romantic Italian Cooking for Two, The Vegetarian Epicure, and The Moosewood Cookbook to teach me the basics. I’m especially lucky that my grandparents taught me how to make pasta by hand, as it’s something I practiced regularly throughout childhood, and up to now. I’ve been writing my own cookbook for the past year, so I imposed a moratorium on cookbook buying or reading because I wanted to force myself to write a book with its own deliberate flow, not one influenced by contemporary sources. I did rely on some classics and reference texts to clean things up once the book was written, and I owe a debt of gratitude to Nancy Silverton and Giuliano Bugialli.
To Sum it Up:
pantry item she can't live without: Central Milling Flour, salt from the world over
one or two items that are always in her fridge: Amaro, turmeric root, kimchi
her go to inspiration cookbook: right now, it’s Dirt Candy by Amanda Cohen
her most trusted kitchen tool: brass pasta cutters
5 adjectives that describe her pantry style: floury, bulk, nutty, chocolatey, crunchy
her all time favorite market: mercato della Crocetta, Torino, IT
woman she pines for: Brittany Wright, my book photographer and coolest chick in food I know
woman-made food product she pines for: Frieda’s purple sweet potatoes
her favorite music to jam out to in the kitchen: The Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill)