Radio Active #97: Cooking Dada

On this episode of Nuketown Radio Active, the trail to Philmont finally ends, I revisit my summer reading list, catch up on the first season of the Lair of Secrets podcast, reflect on the fact that one of my kids is in college, and talk about how I got into cooking during the pandemic.

Getting the Show

Nuketown News

  • Philmont: Trail’s End
    • NeutronLad and I went to Philmont in Cimarron last summer for our 12-day backpacking trip.
    • We completed a quest two years in the making.
    • It was a hell of an adventure and one of these days I’ll write up my notes and thoughts on the trip.
    • For now, if you want to hear more about it, check out Episode 19 of the Lair of Secrets podcast
    • Don’t know what Philmont is? Catch up on the Trail to Philmont.
  • Lair of Secrets
  • Summer Reading List 2021
    • The reading list was 14 books (10 novels, 3 non-fiction books, 1 short story collection), 2 novellas, and 8 graphic novels.
    • And I finished it all in one summer (something I haven’t managed in the last few years)
    • David Moore and I talk about our reading lists on Episode 17 of the Lair of Secrets podcast.
    • Some standouts:
      • Watership Down by Richard Adams – (Amazon) . One of my favorite books of all time I hadn’t re-read it in years. Planned to take it on the trail with me at Philmont, but it was too heavy; ended up reading it at Lake Champlain.
      • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – (Amazon) – Weir’s back to form with a problem-solving astronaut who wakes up on a starship to find he doesn’t remember who he is, where he is, or what he’s supposed to be doing. Spoiler: It’s saving the Earth.
      • Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky – (Amazon): Great book about the uplifting of an alien species told against the great sweep of time. Reminds me of Asimov’s Foundation series in its scope, and David Brin’s Uplift books in its ruminations on the intersections of biology, culture, and civilization
  • Life with a College Student
    • It’s hard to believe – wasn’t it just yesterday I was talking about StarGirl being a toddler? – but our daughter is now a first-year college student.
    • She’s attending a university in New England, which means she’s close enough for us to visit … but not regularly.
    • She’s doing well and rolling with the COVID punches.


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Cooking Dada

  • Lots of folks learned new skills during the pandemic.
    • If you didn’t, that’s totally fine. You don’t need to. Just making it to the next day was a win (and still is)
  • My new skill? Cooking.
    • Helps balance the workload between my wife and I.
    • A nice distraction from the pressures of the day.
  • Started with sheet pan recipes
    • Basically, cut up a bunch of vegetables. Throw in some chicken. Roast in the oven.
  • Evolved to HelloFresh
    • Supplies two meals a week.
    • You pick from a menu of options
    • Includes almost all of the ingredients (they assume you have, say, salt and pepper, olive oil, etc.)
    • Step-by-step illustrations.
    • It’s basically the LEGO kit version of cooking. Or maybe paint by numbers.
    • It’s fun. It’s easy. It tastes good.
    • Typically while listening to ’90s tunes, which amuses my family.
    • Probably not enough food if you’ve got ravenous teenagers, but it works for us (who have more subdued appetites)
    • Could use more / bigger portions of vegetables.
  • Moving on… to recipes!
    • While HelloFresh is easy and has been useful for building up my cooking skills, it only accounts for two meals a week, and doesn’t provide much in the way of leftovers.
    • Looking for some new go-to, easy-to-make meals. Preferably something I could do in a slow cooker or InstaPot.
    • I’ve been trying Simply Recipes, but haven’t found anything that really excites me or the family.


  • Is there anybody out there? We’re looking for podcast promos! Send yours to us at

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A close up of that now-familiar Hello Fresh box. Photo by Ken Newquist.

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