The month of August has been a quiet one for us. Expected guests had to cancel at the last minute, plans changed and, while you’d think this would be the sort of thing to discourage us, in fact, it’s been the opposite. We’ve been dealing with the wide-open weekends of Tim’s homemade pancakes, afternoons spent writing, evening walks in the park, impromptu trips to thrift stores or out for tacos. The weather’s even cooperated, moving…
There are recipes you make because you like the way they taste (chicken pot pie, carrot risotto, thin and chewy pizza crust); there are recipes you make because you’re trying to show love (hot chocolate cookies, homemade cheesecake, soft and chewy salted caramel); and then, also, there are recipes you make for another reason, one not unlike the reason to get a new job or start a garden or build all your furniture yourself: Because…
February 17 was a big day for my family this year. Not only was it my mom’s birthday, but it also was the first time they came to visit Nashville. Ever! And while I’ve been wanting my parents to visit ever since I first moved last February, I’ll be the first to admit that in the valley of a few weeks ago, it felt a little impossible. So I’m thankful to say that in fact,…
The truth is, I’ve been wanting to tell you about this chicken roulade recipe for over a week now—ever since last Tuesday, when I pulled chicken out of the fridge and wondered what to make for dinner. I’d gone through all the usual options in my mind, things I’ve had before, things I’ve made, but nothing sounded like it would be worth the high price tag of the Amish, antibiotic-free poultry I’ve been buying, nothing…
To write this post, I was trying to think back to a month ago, when we ate this salad, on a night when I’m almost sure there was still snow on the ground. I guess there must have been, since that was the night my friend Jackie came over for dinner, and she had to grip the stair railings to keep from falling on the ice on her way inside.
But listen to this: Tonight? I drove home with the windows down, the sun beating on me, and I actually was sweating, if you can believe it. All around me, the grass outside is totally green, there are flowers budding that look like lumps of cotton, and the skies are the perfect shade of blue.
I know I’ve said this before, but it is really spring here. Finally. And honestly, I’ve almost forgotten winter.
I think there’s a lot of value in forgetting sometimes. I mean, it’s not good to forget the story your friend told you yesterday at lunch, but it’s pretty great if you can forget the obnoxious thing that guy said to you at work. And this time of year, I am all for forgetting: forgetting the ice, the snow, the cold, the commutes. Forgetting that last time I posted about the weather getting better, it went and snowed.
This is going to be the one of the fastest post I’ve written here: I’m giving myself 20 minutes, start to finish. GO!
OK, so that picture above—the one of the beautiful puff pastry?—is from Ina Garten, one of those people I wouldn’t mind being more like. She’s so classy, isn’t she? I love watching her and her little husband, Jeffrey. They’re like the wealthy aunt and uncle I wish I had. If Ina were writing this post, she’d probably have something more interesting to say, unlike me, who, I’m embarrassed to tell you, still (STILL!) has very little else on my mind than the weather. (THE GORGEOUS WEATHER!)
If you’ll permit me: This morning, I drove to work with my windows cracked open, fresh, crisp air whipping inside my little Jetta, and I wore my bright-green spring jacket, not the parka or even my dressy wool coat. Everything was so perfect temperature-wise that I actually left the house early so I could stop at Dunkin Donuts and pick up coffee, as a celebration. I’ve decided it’s good to celebrate things like these, which might seem small to other people, just an increase in temperatures and some melting snow, so what? But to me, while I cruised through puddles, Ella Fitzgerald crooning, this was possibly the best day ever.
In the office, where we still haven’t turned on A/C (hello? it’s February?), we had to plug in the upright fan and point it on us while we worked, donning short sleeves and sipping ice water. At lunch, I swear, I was sweating when I got back into my car. The weatherman said it reached 61 degrees today, two short of the record. But let me tell you, walking down my street, you’d never have believed it.
Anyway, while I was driving home tonight (and there was hardly any traffic!), I realized that days like this are the good stuff worth savoring. After all, I’m too eager to tell you when my commute doubles or the snow makes me late. Shouldn’t I rejoice a little when everything’s completely wonderful?
And that brings me to now, when here I am, sitting at the computer, trying to think of what to tell you about the puff pastry, which is really lovely, but all that comes out is weather. What can I say?
Once when I was little, one of my teachers had our entire class over for a pizza party. What I remember most was standing on a stool at a counter, spooning sauce onto a circle of dough and getting to top it with white strings of cheese, feeling very grown up. That was probably the best party ever. I kind of loved that teacher but, mostly, I loved that pizza.
Here’s the truth: I could eat pizza every day. Sometimes I do. I like the fancy ones that cost $15 at a nice restaurant, the frozen ones in cardboard boxes at the grocery story, even mozzarella and tomato sauce heaped high on a bagel. In my book, pizza = good. Always.
So as far as pizza goes, it’s hard to make me hate one (though not impossible, thank you, Domino’s, when we ordered you the second time at work), it’s easy to make me like one and it’s, seriously, not that hard to make me really like one.
Now love? Well, let’s just say this: If you can’t get to Chicago’s best Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant or to the place with the most hearty, meaty pizza pot pies in the Midwest, and if you can’t find that tiny place on Boston’s North End where they don’t even say they sell pizza, but you might get lucky and see someone eating one and then order it and, one bite in, think you’ve died and gone to heaven, well, then you have to make one.
The other way to make January feel a little brighter, I mean beyond marshmallows plump with peppermint, should really come as no surprise. Cold days call for one thing, and it’s the kind of thing you probably wouldn’t mind eating on not-so-cold days, either: hot homemade soup. Now, if this were any other food group, you might be tempted to point out that, hey, you just wrote about another soup, that potato and onion one,…