in case of silence (buckwheat pancakes)

What do you do when words don’t come? How do you speak when you don’t know what to say? These are questions you start to ask yourself sometimes, whether you’re communicating with people around cubicles or in classrooms, on the phone or at the table, as old friends or among new acquaintances. And honestly, it’s never more apparent an issue than on the Internet, when you blog. Read any blog for some stretch of time, and you’ll hear the author mention it, whether they’re asking themselves whether or not to keep blogging every other day or lamenting when the words don’t come or, like I did a few weeks ago, just stepping back to take in for a while. How should you handle these stretches of silence? How do you keep talking when it isn't easy? Some say push through it, say what you can right now, keep talking until something makes sense. Others say to wait, wait for the words, wait for the right way to say them. … [Read more...]

impress yourself (roast chicken)

I feel like I know a lot of people who are talented, whether that means naturally good with directions or years-of-practice good at playing instruments or just impressively able to wear a lot of hats, like people who can cook and play sports and play the piano and tell you which way is north, while also taking cool photographs or something. Renaissance men, they like to call themselves. I've never been mistaken for one of those. I mean, don't get me wrong: I can do a lot of things OK. I can bake cookies. I can read music. I can remember basic grammar rules. But none of these things are really spectacular. None of them make me go wow when I think about them. Except this. … [Read more...]

Giveaway!

lecreuset

****Update: This contest has ended and the winners have been contacted. Thanks to everyone who participated!****** Man, I loved reading your answers on that last post. You people are awesome. So I've been thinking, you know what's even better than fascinating discussions about weather vs. food? Free stuff for your kitchen! That's right. It's time for a giveaway. Image credits: Cookware.com The nice people at Cookware.com---a sister site of racksandstands.com, where you can find can find all kinds of stuff, from an entertainment center to a corner TV stand---are letting me giving away two items! … [Read more...]

if you don’t mind my asking (rosemary garlic burger)

I am one of those obnoxious people who likes asking random questions so I can overanalyze your answers: Would you rather be smart and ugly or beautiful and dumb? If you could go anywhere, where would you go? What's your favorite book? When did you start liking vegetables? Picture yourself in the desert. And before any of you kind ones out there leap to reassure me that asking such questions is not obnoxious, not at all, let me just explain that this is only half the problem. The flip side is I don't really like to answer these questions. I mean, not unless I've had plenty of time to really think out my answer and make it exactly what I want it to be or after I've really gotten to know you and feel like I can trust that you'll understand what I mean more than what I say but, even after that point, you should know it's pretty likely I'll still change my mind later and, when I do, I will want you to listen to all the reasons why because we have to overanalyze it together!, but … [Read more...]

for days like these (nutty chocolate coconut cookies)

Blame it on the beautiful weather outside, the weekend I took away from the computer, the fact that a headache dominated most of Tuesday---whatever the case, this has been a week where I’ve felt a lot more like reading blogs than writing them. Do you ever get that way? I mean, it makes sense. If blogging’s a form of communication, why shouldn’t there be days where we feel more like listening than talking, reading than writing? Like in real life, sometimes I’m most happy to let someone else tell me stories, without needing to respond, without needing to join in. Sometimes I just like to sit back and observe, without interjecting. Sometimes I’m doing enough thinking and processing in my own head, the kind that hasn’t reached any real conclusion, that I just want to keep it in there until it’s ready to make some sense. And that’s fine. Or at least, it would be fine, if it weren’t for these cookies. … [Read more...]

for this time of year (cream of asparagus)

A couple Octobers ago, surrounded by golden maple leaves and whistling breezes and the smell of bonfires in barely twilight, I was walking out to my car with a guy from my Travel Writing class. Inhaling deeply, smiling while I did, I kept telling him, in probably five different ways, how much I loved it all---the season's smells, its temperatures, how the leaves revealed their true colors, hidden from us the rest of the year. He listened, pretty politely I think, and then, when I'd reached a stopping point, he started talking about spring. I remember how his face changed, how his voice raised when he said green---all the different shades of green! the leaves and the grass and the trees! the newness of it all! I have to say, while I've always been an autumn girl: he got me thinking. And a few months later, when the spring he'd been waiting for arrived, I saw it with his eyes. … [Read more...]

it found me (white whole wheat pecan bread)

This bread came to me unassumingly, unexpectedly, on the back of a bag of flour---the very same bag of flour I gleaned through that crazy Sunday at Whole Foods you may remember. I wasn’t looking for a bread recipe; I wasn’t even really in the mood to bake but, maybe because of what we’d been through together, maybe because I am too impressionable, as soon as I saw this bag’s recipe, despite every bad loaf of bread I've made over the last few months, I started gathering ingredients. It was like this bread found me. It seems that in this life, there are things we pursue: people we want to be our friends, jobs we apply to have, opportunities we dream of and work for. Then there are things that pursue us or, sometimes, things that fall right into our laps, without our looking for them, without our knowing we could have wanted them at all. In my experience? These are some of the best things. … [Read more...]