Oven Fries with Lemony Green Dressing + Gruyere (& a Gift)

[Update! Congratulations to Rachel Q, winner of the giveaway!] A long time ago, I heard a superstition that says the activities in which you partake on New Year's Day set the tone for the way your coming year will go: Spend money, and it will be a year of loss. Receive money, and it will be a year of gain. Work, and you'll be industrious. Play, and you'll be full of fun. Eat something green, so the tradition goes, and you can expect the luck of more green (of the financial kind) to find its way to you in the months ahead. So it's with that old superstition in mind that we bring you today's cheesy oven fries, kicked up a notch with lemony green dressing, salty and addicting and very green---even though, between us, it's not exactly money that we're hoping to find more of in 2013. (Warning: extremely long post to follow.) … [Read more...]

the change that comes

I am at a place right now where I am standing still in life. Everywhere around me, people are rushing for things---new places and careers, new relationships, new life, even---and I am watching them. I want to go forward, to take a step, join them, but instead I stare at my feet, unmoving and, if I'm honest, afraid. 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've 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. But no matter how similar life stories are, they aren’t the same. Following your choices won't guarantee that I follow your life. Your future can't be mine. And I don't really want it to be. Not when I'm honest. In fact, I don’t really want advice, either. I think I just want someone to listen and nod and … [Read more...]

the perfect complement

For some of us, we found out in kindergarten, say when we were the goofy pink pig in a school play, holding a large cardboard animal in front of our puffy party dress, wearing a big white bow in our equally puffy hair (later immortalized in photographs we'd see again and again). But there are others, I suppose, who didn't know until high school or adulthood maybe, when they didn't get the promotion they wanted or didn't become famous, or, if they did, it didn't turn out to be what they'd hoped. Whenever it happens, we eventually learn: Not everyone can be the star. 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. For every leading lady, there's a winsome best friend. For every best-selling author, there are publishers and editors and illustrators, not to mention readers---the people who ultimately determine a book's success. And in that way, … [Read more...]

tout français

If it seems cliché for me, a girl learning to cook, to want (and receive) a Julia Child book for Christmas, well, maybe it is. But, you know, not all clichés are bad. That one about how a penny saved is a penny earned? I kind of like that one. And you’re only young once? That’s true, too. Maybe you're thinking up some new year's resolutions: Get in shape? Save more money? I say, What the heck. Let's all embrace clichés. Julia Child is kind of The Great Famous Chef, the one who brought French cooking to American domestics, who seemed so excited, so full of gusto, she made you believe you could cook what she could, even from your little kitchen. (And that voice! Was there anything so endearing?) So I wanted Mastering the Art of French Cooking, like millions of home cooks have before and millions will after. To begin, I opened to the first chapter and set my hopes on potage parmentier or, leek and onion soup. Julia---we’re on a first-name basis now---says yellow onions are fine, and … [Read more...]