christmas 2009

Merry Christmas, everyone! We had a nice, quiet day here at my parents’, but that’s not to say it was without its crises. For example: Have you ever roasted a stewing chicken? Well, don’t—just get yourself some rough cardboard to gnaw on for the same effect and less struggle. Annyywayy…

We did manage to eat well (another of this month’s many smoothies included), and I even found a new! camera! under the tree with my name on it, something sure to get a lot of use in months to come.

Speaking of the months to come, here we are a week from 2010, and you know how end-of-the-year things go: reflecting, looking back, remembering. So in proper form, here are 24 of my favorites posts and articles from 2009, 12 from Food Loves Writing and 12 from all over the Web. Enjoy!

(Idea inspired by anthimeria)

    12 Things I Wrote in 2009

  • The Perfect Complement | Roasted Potatoes (january)

    “And maybe I’ve just known this for so long that I’m justifying, but, here’s my take: It’s not so bad to play a supporting role. In order for anyone to be a star, someone has to be a fan.”

  • On Expectations | Salted Caramel Cupcakes (february)

    “From where I sit today, I know setting someone or something on a pedestal is probably the absolute worst thing you can do to it. The moment you demand things must be, you set yourself up to be devastated when they aren’t.”

  • This Right Now | Cream of Pistachio Soup (march)

    “I look at the moments around me—the way the grass looks when it’s wet, shiny with dew and fragrant with summer; how my mom makes me laugh when she does, when her mouth closes and her nose widens and her eyes slant, just slightly, as her body shakes, like her mother’s did; the kindness someone shows you when he carries in your bags, so you don’t have to—and I think, I am living this.”

  • Of Kitchen Failure (april)

    “In a weak moment, I threw [the artichokes] all away. It could be disheartening, I suppose, to read this story of failure, but I’m afraid it’s all I have today.”

  • The Change That Comes | Hasselback Potatoes (may)

    “Most days, I want a blueprint: a very, very specific outline of steps to take, with guarantees and/or backup plans, if possible. So I talk to people who been in similar situations, and they tell me what they did, whether they got their first apartment at 17 or had to work their way through college or stayed at their first job for five years.”

  • The Kind He Likes | Homemade Caramels (june)

    “When I ask my dad if he wants to do something—it doesn’t matter if it’s running to Sam’s Club on a Saturday, sitting to talk one day I’m upset or going for a walk with me and my brother Father’s Day evening—his answer is, always, yes.”

  • Never Need to Go Back | Orange Sherbet (july)

    “One thing I will say for Florida though, and this is something important: it makes a good orange. More times than I should admit, my friend Liz and I hopped in her bright yellow Volkswagen bug, the one with daisies propped up in the console, headed to the retail shop for a local orange grove. I guess some people would make the trip for the oranges, or the juice maybe. Us? We went for the ice cream.”

  • Me and the Mountain | Fried Zucchini & Corn Fritters (august)

    “There’s something about coming face to face with an enormous mountain, one that no human created, filled with trees that no people water, surrounded by wildlife that survives through summer heat and rainy days and long winters that is good.”

  • That Which I’ve Started | Banana Bread (September)

    “The equal truth is I am a terrible finisher. Truly awful. Those hobbies above? I knitted two scarves and got bored. I took 88 photos and stopped. And thank goodness I finally talked Alicia out of the 5K I talked her into, because, gosh, I haven’t run in weeks.”

  • The Best Things We Do | Apple Cider Doughnuts (October)

    “But maybe, like with my passport, it is through the loneliness that fellowship becomes so sweet, through the solitary nights that Friday dinners become so much richer, through a Wednesday night in tears that I’m given another evidence of love from The One Who Made Me.”

  • What Was Crystal Clear | Baked Apples (November)

    “Stick it in the oven for about 40 minutes and boom: you have amazing fork-tender apples loaded with flavor better than the inside of any apple pie, I am so serious. And as we near the end of fall and beginning of the holidays, I can’t think of anything more perfect.”

  • Nice to Come Home To | Homemade Chocolate Puddings (December)
    “I need these reminders because let me tell you, when you’re gripping the steering wheel and crawling along the highway, spending what feels like much more time on the road than doing anything else, it’s good to have something warm and comforting to drive home to. Like homemade chocolate pudding, for example.”

    12 Things I Read in 2009

  • Lost: A Theory on Time Travel, timelooptheory.com (january)

    My friend Kendra sent me this link in one of our many LOST-related e-mails, and while I know it has nothing to do with food or writing necessarily, I had to include it here, if only for you fellow fans: just a few weeks, you guys. Just a few weeks.

  • Buttermilk Pancakes, The Boston Globe (february)

    It was because of this post (less of an article than a recipe) that I tried my own hand at blueberry pancakes and posted about it here.

  • “10 Tips to Save Money in the Kitchen,” The Culinary Review (march)

    “Buy Bulk – Beans, lentils, rice, grains, flour, sugar etc… It is surprising how many different dry goods can be found in the bins at a well-stocked grocery store. Often the food in bulk does actually get replaced faster than food on the shelf and you can buy exactly as much as you need.”

  • Small Cool 2009: Emily’s Wonderful in White Studio, Apartment Therapy (april)

    Photo tour of a 300-square-foot studio in Chicago that I found totally inspiring.

  • “Inheritance: Sunny Citrus Pound Cake,” Pithy and Cleaver (may)

    “Yes, it is delicious, and yes it has a truly tremendous shelf life, but that’s not why I choose to make it. I make this cake because it reminds me of my family, particularly my grandmother; I vividly remember eating this in her yellow and brown kitchen in the house that always smelled like eucalyptus, and greedily jumping at the chance to bring home the leftovers–to be squabbled over good-naturedly with my mother at the end of a long day.”

  • Outline of a Theory of Cabbage, Molly of Orangette (june)
    (Molly wrote this in 2005, but I first read it in June of this year.)

    “Today, while riding the bus home from work and school, I wracked my brain for a way to ‘pitch’ cabbage to you, skeptical reader. Surely I don’t have to tell you that, in the U.S., the cabbage is woefully misunderstood. Never mind the fact that German kids are eating sauerkraut as soon as they have teeth, or that corned beef and cabbage may well be the best thing to come out of Ireland, ever. Here it is roundly reviled, or at least disliked enough to permit me this slight exaggeration. So as the bus rattled north toward home and dinner, a silent conviction took shape within me: cabbage must be defended! What we have here is cabbage under siege! Cabbage must no longer be linked to discipline and punishment; no, it’s part of the natural order of things! By the time we arrived at my stop, I had it: an outline of a theory of cabbage.”

  • Leno’s Submarine Sandwiches in Waukegan, Jacqui of Happy Jack Eats (july)

    “It’s funny, though, that ‘Where are you from?’ is one of the first questions asked when getting to know someone new, even though where a person is from doesn’t necessarily say anything about her. So I lived in a somewhat ghetto town with an overcrowded high school and no Starbucks. I’m sure it contributed a small part to who I have become, but it certainly doesn’t define me. No, I think a better question to ask would be ‘Who are you from?’”

  • The Other Side, Jess of Sweet Amandine (august)

    “I think you’ll understand when I say that Sweet Amandine has both nothing and everything to do with the aneurysm. Starting this blog was my way of saying, ‘I’d like to talk about something else now.’ I was tired of being upstaged by my illness. Here, in this big, white, open space, I could look away from the pain and fatigue, and begin to remember who I am. I could celebrate the people I loved, and what nourishes us. I could celebrate my life, my living. “

  • “Everyone is the Fat Lady,” Bryce Taylor, Yale Daily News. (September)

    “When the train came to a stop and the passengers dispersed, I stood still on the platform and watched the woman walk, alone, to the stairs, watched as she and her dyed hair were absorbed into a crowd of anonymous thousands, and, thinking of her anxiety and her loneliness and her striving for hope in the platitudes of a self-help paperback, I was grieved. A thing with which I had lately been competing for legroom became, to me, a human being.”

  • Digory’s Work, Kendall of The Ink (October)

    “I mean really trusting seems to come with a willingness to toss over my shoulder the very things I hold closest to my chest.”

  • Nonreligious Thoughts on Edible Spirituality, Donald Miller Interview (November)

    “Eating is one of the only socially acceptable ways we can share vulnerabilities…No sense putting on airs, we’re just human. So here we are, a group of people putting foods in our mouths because if we don’t eat, we die, because we are not superhuman, we are beholden to our bodies, and our bodies need food and so much more.”

  • “Equal Ground”, Pacing the Panic Room Floor (December)

    “I feel like the smart path is just shut my mouth, write what I want, I will never ever please everyone so never try or kid myself into thinking it is possible. So I will.”

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Shelley

    Hey Shanna, hope you had a nice Christmas and a wonderful time off from work. Sorry to hear you got the dreaded cold. I wasn’t feeling well over Christmas either so I really didn’t eat much of the fun Christmas treats surrounding me. Talk to you soon.

  2. Megan Gordon

    What a great and unique list (not same old, same old). I thought I’d have so much more down time this holiday to catch up on some reading and it hasn’t happened quite yet…but there’s still time :)

  3. Kim

    “‘Most days, I want a blueprint: a very, very specific outline of steps to take, with guarantees and/or backup plans, if possible. So I talk to people who been in similar situations, and they tell me what they did, whether they got their first apartment at 17 or had to work their way through college or stayed at their first job for five years.’”

    Yep. Happy end of 2009 (almost), Shannalee.

  4. Shannalee

    Caitlin, Thanks! Loving this whole fancy-camera thing.

    Kendall, Oh, I am learning it, too.

    Jacqui, It’s going to be a BIG year for you!

    Thanks, Adrian!

    Sue, Ha! Me too!

    Shelley, Oh, I’m all better now, yay! It was so nice that when the day off finally came, I wasn’t sick anymore. Great timing!

    Sara, So many great writers out there!

    Megan, Oh, I’m glad you think so! Hope you find some downtime soon (although, it’s kind of nice to be busy, at least sometimes), right?

    Jessica, Hope you enjoyed them all!

    Alicia, SO close. I need to start rewatching, too!

    Kim, Ugh. Decisions are hard. Even reading those words, I have the emotions come flooding back, ha!

  5. Janet

    I really liked the one on “everyone is the fat lady.” It wasn’t what I expected – and very pleasantly surprised. The editorial reminded me as I know that we all have hidden struggles, deep-seated fears and thoughts that nothing easy or comforting can heal instantly.

    Here’s to 2010 (almost!) Hehe. I’ve enjoying reading your stories and trying the recipes. Tackling the cinnamon bread was a huge step toward something new. I normally wouldn’t tackle making something that seemed so complex but in doing so I felt a minor accomplishment (hey I can make cinnamon bread like Sun-Maid minus the yeast fiasco!).

    And I made the smoothie because I was craving ice cream when I came home. I used way too much yogurt but will try it again with soymilk. The sweetness of the berries mixed with a mix of acidic orange yielded an interesting drink – again pleasantly surprised. =)

  6. Shannalee

    Janet, I loved that article so much, I can’t even tell you. Bryce Taylor is such a good writer – I always look forward to his editorials. And happy 2010 to you, too! So proud of you for tackling cinnamon bread (it is a feat!) and I haven’t tried to smoothie with yogurt, but maybe I should! Thanks for your encouragement, always.

  7. Maria

    Happy to see another lovely review. I really enjoy seeing what others have read and enjoyed and kept with them through the year.

    And oh goodness that Sweet Amandine post was gorgeous and life-filled. It made me lift my head and think about this moment, how very blessed we are. Thanks.

  8. Pingback: Good Writes and Reads 2012 | Food Loves Writing

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