About

Hello and welcome to my little slice of the Internet – Ramshackle Pantry! I’m Ben and I like to cook stuff!

A picture of my bearded face in a robe. I am holding up a cup of coffee held in a kitty cat mug.

Not only do I like to cook stuff, but also I tend to get a little crazy obsessive about recipes. Recipe obsession is what Ramshackle Pantry is about. We are going to pick traditional food and cocktail items and then try to dive deep into the essence of what that recipe is. I intend on trying to determine the best basic recipe for a topic and take a whirl at cooking that recipe. Win, lose or draw… I will post the results and what I might do differently next time. Also, I will investigate the culture and history of that dish.

My obsessions started with pizza. First, I ended up with too many tomatoes from my wife’s garden. Before you know it, I was making pizza sauce. I mean, I have always thought pizza is the perfect food, but then I had a reason to make my own.

Soon, I moved on to dough. And my dough is still a work on process, but I started to make my own cheese shortly after that. Before you know it, I am constructing an entire pizza from scratch. And while I have not gotten to perfection yet, I still love working on finding my next pizza. Curing my own meat is somewhere on the to do list.

Ultimately, I ended up learning quite a bit about each of the ingredients of pizza. And while I still love a monster thick crust supreme, I have really come to respect and love a very simple and elegant Neapolitan Pizza.

I am also an author of Fifty Shades of Bacon and currently working on a follow up parody cookbook.

Eating Philosophy

I love food and if I made all of my most luxurious meals all of the time, I would have a stroke from how terribly I eat. I do my best to eat reasonable and healthy foods 95% of the time so that I can spend the other 5% eating the really great things. You know what I am talking about… the foods with heavy cream, butter, cheese or a fat Ribeye or anything that has all the yumminess that I want.

And perhaps the 95% is what makes me try and be thoughtful about the 5%.

Personal

I am married to the love of my life – Ashley! She does most of the gardening and I take care of about 95% of the cooking. We live with 4 cats (yep…. 4), a Beta fish named Floki, a sweet St. Bernard named Kate Winslet, and a 35 year old bread yeast. One of our most loved things to do is to travel. We have been to many places in the world and intend on finding the rest. I am an Army veteran and life time member of the VFW. Living in the tundra of Fargo, North Dakota gives us the motivation to get out of the frigid cold a few times a year.

Ashley and Kate Winslet the St. Bernard puppy

That being said, I still really do enjoy ice fishing and the Walleye it brings.

Software Engineering and Web Development is my trade and currently taking special interest in food related projects.

Hobbies

Obviously, cooking is one.  Participating in Ramshackle Pantry is another. Outside of pizza, I also brew beer, brew kombucha and bake my own bread. This year, I am going to try my hand at bee keeping.

I am a regular at the gym, in order to try and combat the great food I eat! I tend to run either a half marathon or full each year and then focus on weights the rest of the time.

Another hobby I enjoy fishing. While I do not get out all the time, I have a few big trips I go on every year.