what’s on the mind

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 husband, Jeffrey (she dedicated at least a couple of her books to him, each time a different way, and I love that, too). They're like the affluent, educated, good-eating aunt and uncle I wish I had. If Ina were writing this post, she'd probably have something much 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 … [Read more...]

with your hands

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 … [Read more...]

All Warm Inside

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, last week, didn’t you? You could legitimately ask, what, is this going to be like the cookies now, where you all get on a kick with something and make them over and over again? So I’m very glad it is soup---hot, comforting, perfectly seasoned soup---that’s in question. Or else I’d have very little to say in my defense. So first things first, this is a spinach soup. Spinach is one of those things---along with tomatoes, asparagus, parmesan cheese and pecans---that I had to grow to enjoy. I liked Popeye as much as the next kid (although maybe not as much as my mom, … [Read more...]

That’s One Point for Me

In case anyone's keeping track, I have not given up on pie. No, sir. In fact, since the Great Pumpkin Pie Disaster, I've tried again not once, but twice. (And I'll be darned if I'm not going to find a way to screw up a few more well-meaning crusts, too. My dear friend Kelley sent me her go-to, and my old roommate Sonja teases me with promises that her grandma's is the best. We shall see.) Observing these things, my mom, kind woman that she is, went so far as to assure me she's got Thanksgiving's pumpkin pie covered this year. This was after my brother begged her to promise not to let me mess it up. This family of mine, they're cheerleaders, you can tell. All these things withstanding, no matter how many signs the universe sends that pie crust is just not my thing, along with skiing, swimming or, let's face it, any sport requiring a level of coordination, I have not given up. Won't give up. Am determined to get the hang of this stuff if it's the last thing I do. (Pie, are you … [Read more...]