I Have A BFA And I Can't Figure Out IKEA. WTF?

Unprofessional Cookery

So the other day my rickety dresser flatlined.  Completely gave up the ghost.

I can’t say it was unexpected and I wasn’t particularly heartbroken when this wobbly wooden secondhand thing chose to drop all the drawers out of it last week.  Nay, the untimely demise of my clothing storage unit  finally gave me a chance to (delusions of grandeur) upgrade.  I figured that I am of a certain age, I should invest in quality furniture.  Something old, something with character.  Something not made out of particle board.

(You’re probably wondering where I’ll tie this in to cooking, right?  Work with me on this one.)

So!  I marched on down to my local flea market the other day, hoping that I’d score the deal of the century.  An hour later and much deliberation as to how much work I wanted to invest into this, I left empty handed.  There wasn’t a single piece of furniture there without a broken leg, a swollen front of some other pain-in-the-ass “You could repair this but the sweat equity would double the cost” repair.  Instead, with resignation, I went to IKEA and walked out with a perfectly boring three drawer bohemoth of an unassembled dresser.

Of which I spent all day assembling.  Seriously.  One simple little three drawer thing nearly drove me over the edge of sanity.  For the love of all things holy!  I have a BFA in fashion design, I put garments together for years and yet somehow I managed to put together the drawers backwards, the gliders on upside down and I have one leftover screw from somewhere.  I felt I have been gaslit by particle board.  Did I really understand design to begin with?  Or is IKEA’s goal in life to make product assembly as daunting as possible, fueled only by their illiterate-friendly pictorial instructions?

Anyways, this means that I didn’t have much time to work on anything interesting writing wise.  So here’s a recipe for pickled fennel that I had started last week.  Its pretty bangin.

IKEA dresser.  Ugh.

Pickled Fennel Fronds


-fennel fronds from one bulb

-1 whole star anise

-2 cardamom pods

-6 allspice berries

-1 Tablespoon brown mustard seeds

-1 cinnamon stick

-1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

-4 whole cloves

-3 Tablespoons white sugar

-3 Tablespoons kosher salt

-1 3/4 cup white vinegar

-1 1/4 cup water

How To:

1. Have a clean, very large glass jar available.

2. Combine everything except the fennel in a large pot and turn the heat up to high.

3. Meanwhile, separate the leafy parts of the fennel fronds from the stalks.  Put the leafy bits in the jar.

4. Chop the fennel into whatever size you like.  You can make them sticks, disks or little bits.  Go nuts!  Add this to the jar as well.

5. When the liquid reaches a rolling boil, cut the heat.  Pour this over the fennel bits and leafy parts in the jar.

6. Cut a disk of parchment paper large enough to cover the liquid.  Float this on top and wait for the brine to cool.

7. When the brine cools to room temperature, cover the top with a lid or plastic wrap.  Use a piece of tape and date the future pickles.

8. Leave it there for a day or two.  Check the progress and the flavor of the pickle.  You can leave the fennel out for up to a week without a problem.

9. Refrigerate the pickle for a few more days before using.  Keeps indefinitely.


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