the reasons why (fish cooked in brown butter)

sole amandine

I tend to keep mental lists of reasons I like things. Is that weird?

It’s true of avocados—loaded with good fat, make creamy smoothies, taste absolutely perfect smashed and salted on toast, were just $3-and-something for four at Trader Joe’s yesterday. It’s also true of places—Boston has those historic streets, the North End filled with great food, a beautiful autumn; Colorado doesn’t only offer 300 days of sunshine but is also surrounded by those incredible, breathtaking, larger-than-life mountains.

And of course it’s true of people, like my mom, whom we’re celebrating today. My mom’s list is filled with things like: makes me laugh, is a killer cook, knows just how you should and shouldn’t plant tomatoes each year. She can quote random phrases in Hebrew, knows facts about old theologians, listens to her favorite preachers while she gets ready every morning.

Though I struggle to be 100% honest and blunt with most people, Mom is one person with whom it’s easier. I’m probably sometimes TOO honest with her, in fact. Over her 27 years of motherhood, in which she has born the brunt of my harshest words and most untactful responses, I have been much more free because I know, probably as one of the most sure things I do know, that she loves me. She prayed for me for two years before she had me. She has prayed for me in all the years since she did.

And, as it was with antiquing and gardening and cooking and planning things far, far in advance, she has paved the way for me towards new interests, including something as simple as eating one of her and my dad’s favorite foods: fish.

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close your eyes and eat

brown butter cookies

The truth is, I have more to tell you about D.C.—like about the crazy-sweet frosting at Hello Cupcake, which was tall enough to catch on the tip of our noses when we bit into the cake; the breakfast crepes across from our hotel, filled with Nutella and strawberries; the Neapolitan-style pizza at 2 Amys, a restaurant more than one of you recommended and that makes some killer prosciutto and potato croquettes. But that will all have to wait, maybe for a day when you and I sit down in person instead, because right now, there are bigger things to talk about. Things like this brown butter shortbread.

I actually made these shortbread cookies in December, and as for why I haven’t posted them until now: all I can offer is a pathetic nod to the seemingly unending cookie recipes that were flowing around here at that time. It had reached the point where, one day, I had to promise myself to stop—no more cookies!—in an effort to keep from being the Blogger Who Only Talks About One Thing, ever. Then again, now that I’m looking back, would that have been so bad?

There is a comfort in familiarity, which is probably why I’ve been craving cookies so much lately. When you’ve fought the world, so to speak, whether at your office, with your kids or on the highway—it’s nice to come home, take a warm bite of sweetness in your hands, close your eyes and eat.

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