a word of advice

If you don’t want anything in your life to change, say, for example, your food stereotypes? Don’t read this book. Because if you do, one chapter in, you might start saying things like, Maybe I could like mushrooms! Or fish! Or pickles! And so you will, try some of those things, I mean, after a lifetime of not, and you won’t hate them, not even a little, and you’ll suddenly see an entire world of menus and restaurant options that you’ve always overlooked, and, really, everything will change. Now the second thing (which could seem unrelated): If you buy a birthday present six months early, don’t, please, make that present be for me. Because if you do, you could be talking to me one night, about something simple like what what you did that day, while I eat forkfuls of tender pot roast and whipped mashed potatoes, and just randomly, I’ll tell you, You know, I think I’m going to buy a Le Creuset French oven next week, and you won’t be able to hold it in, that you bought me … [Read more...]

up and down

Oh, spring. I have been waiting for you for such a long, long time. And now that you're here, you're playing games with me. One minute, we're pure magic---all fresh breezes and warm sunshine. Bailey and I go for an evening walk, his paws trotting past tiny green buds peeking out of the earth and I breathe in the new air, cold and clean, inhaling it down deep and sighing, happy sighing, the kind filled with satisfaction yet anticipation. The next, you're waking me up in the middle of the night, my eyes swollen and my throat tight, while what feels like a hundred tiny hammers bang against my head and nothing---not the Vicks VapoRub® or the warm compress on my eyes or the two tablets of pain medication---makes me feel well again. I always forget about this part. Every year. Then, just when I'm ready to give up on you---to say I'll bide my time and wait for summer's long, hot days---my mom buys and brings me a neti pot, a small contraption in the shape of a genie's bottle … [Read more...]

a recent discovery

It's not like I have something against healthy food. Seriously. In fact, there are times---like at the end of last week, in which I'd shared an entire dozen doughnuts with a friend, ordered things like toasted (and breaded) ravioli and huge slices of pizza, eaten meat in my lunches and dinners, gotten takeout more often than I'd brought brown-bagged meals (and had the accompanying bloating and heaviness to prove it)---where something fresh and healthy is all I do want. I know it may not seem like it around here, where I've posted dozens of cookie recipes and, lately, an onslaught of cakes, but I swear it's true. It's just---I'm going to be honest---I don't like eating things that don't taste good. Is that so terrible? And, at least up until this point in my life, the things that taste good are, usually, not exactly healthy. The way I see it, if I'm already frustrated about, say, the fact that an apartment I went to see was in a creepy, creepy building with hotel hallways, I don't … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

On Grilling

I am one of those people who thinks everything tastes better when it's cooked over open flames. (I am also one of those people who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near fire, as I am known for forgetting cookies are in the oven, the flame's under the kettle, the handle on the grill is white-hot, hence any grilling I am involved with absolutely, definitely requires assistance.) In typical long-weekend-for-Americans fashion, my family grilled out for Labor Day this year. The evening before, I mixed a few marinades---one for the chicken and one for the veggies---letting the chicken soak up the rosemary-infused, garlic, lemony juices overnight. Beyond the chicken, we would have zucchini, squash, garlic naan, a big salad (and, anything at all else I'd decide to toss on last-minute, since, when one's charcoal opportunities are limited, she must make the most of the hot flames while she's got them). Monday morning, I brainstormed a nutella panini with strawberries, buttering one … [Read more...]