Home Cooking Makes a Comeback

Home Cooking Makes a Comeback

Getting back in the kitchen with Equal Parts 

Words by Ashley Locke
Illustrations by Jamison Harper

Before March 2020, many millennials didn’t have a relationship with their kitchen. 

They didn’t have to—an abundance of restaurants, frozen dinners, and food delivery services made cooking unnecessary. Why waste time grocery shopping when you could swing through a drive-through? Who has the energy to cook a meal after a full workday, a crowded commute, and daily chores? The consensus of an entire generation seemed to be that cooking was not convenient.

Then came the pandemic. Then the restaurant closures. For the first time, many people were forced to get acquainted with the cooking tools that sat unused in their drawers. Some people realized they didn’t have all the tools they needed to make a meal, and other inexperienced cooks struggled with where to begin. Start-up cookware brand Equal Parts was perfectly positioned for the moment. 

Before there was Equal Parts, there was Gin Lane—a digital creative agency that made brands such as Everlane, Harry’s, and SmileDirectClub, cool. "We went through a rough patch; the productivity addiction led to work fatigue and burnout," said Gin Lane co-founder Emmett Shine. "The way a lot of us ended up dealing with the stress of work was to go home, put some music on, pour a glass of wine, and cook.”

“Employees were sharing with each other recipes and what they were making with their families at home,” said Emmett. “It's something that felt accessible to people at our company.” The office text thread turned into a way to connect over the newfound shared love of food. It was the beginning of the end. It was the start of something new.

With burnout on the brain, Gin Lane morphed into Pattern, a family of brands designed to help you enjoy daily life—and starting with cookware felt obvious. “We decided to make a cooking brand for ourselves. We were focused on personal health and wellness—how do we actually take care of ourselves? We wanted to reframe our days as routines that are enjoyable,” said Emmett. “Cooking is a really important anchor, whether it's whipping up something in the morning or making something for dinner.” 

The cookware line is essentials only—non-toxic, stackable, easy to clean, and affordable pots, pans, and accessories. Their blog sticks to the theme of simplicity, featuring one pot pastas, tips for how to work with fresh herbs, work-from-home lunches, and interviews with home cooks. It isn’t cookware for experts—it’s for anyone. “We wanted to invite people to see food splattering outside of the pot,” said Emmett. “Just experiment and just get cooking. Everything doesn’t have to be Instagram beautiful.”

Under the Pattern umbrella, Equal Parts introduced itself to the world in September 2019, hoping to inspire a new generation of home chefs. Just six short months later, everyone was quarantining at home. Parks began to fill up, but so did pantries. Instagram feeds featured photo after photo of homemade banana bread and focaccia. Twitter was flooded with Tweets about hunting down the last bag of flour left on empty grocery store shelves. With many people laid off, and others with canceled commutes, the kitchen quickly became a quarantine hub–and a lot of people began to realize they were enjoying it. Being forced out of the constant cycle of productivity created space for putting down phones and laptops and picking up olive oil and spatulas. The best part of making a meal? You can’t check your email when your hands are busy.

“We’re all at home more and out of necessity cooking at home more. People are rediscovering family recipes and certain relationships with food,” said Emmett. “You develop a more intimate relationship with your food when you’re actually cooking it and then eating it.”

The connection we make with the food we consume can cross social divides. People might stock different ingredients, pass down different family recipes, use different techniques—but the intention is the same: making food for the sake of making food and enjoying the process as much as the final product. “We can go about cooking in culturally unique ways, but we can all share in this activity of cooking at home,” said Emmett.

Before the pandemic, the slow food movement was already creeping into restaurants, but it’s now found a home at home. With so many finding solace in the kitchen, Equal Parts could have been just another cookware brand. Instead, it became a ritual—a reminder to slow down. It’s not about the cutting board and the pot, it’s about who’s chopping onions while you boil pasta. It’s not about making a restaurant quality dish, it’s about feeding your body and your soul. It’s not about the meal, it’s about the moment.