Thursday, 30 August 2018 | 32 comments

The mushroom at the end of the world

I’m going to talk about mushrooms first, because I have, like, a lot of mushrooms at my house right now. Long-time readers will remember that Ben and I started growing shiitake mushrooms, kind of as a hipster-homestead-hobby, a few years ago (yeesh, I just went and found the post–it was almost five years ago). I haven’t written any more about it here, but we’ve kept it up, and find ourselves officially between a hobby and being quit-your-day-job shiitake mushroom growers.

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You don’t really start working so much with mushrooms unless you’re going a little crazy or falling in love with them or both. Mushrooms are mysterious. When people visit our little mushroom operation, they struggle a bit with vocabulary to ask questions: “So you plant…the mushroom…spores?” Humans are generally conversant with ideas of roots and flowers and seeds, but we are not so everyday-equipped with terms like mycelium or spawn run.

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017 | 39 comments

Savory bread pudding with mushrooms & bacon

The commuter train comes in all the way from West Virginia. Some of the people who ride it spend three hours, each way, commuting. That’s more time spent with your fellow train riders during the week than with your significant other or family. DC is a crazy commuting city, with long-suffering government servants slogging in and out for 25 years so they’re eligible for their federal pensions. In the mornings, people count down the days until they retire, and sometimes, you’ll hear the pop of a champagne cork: friends celebrating someone’s last schlep into work.

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016 | 51 comments

What to eat when things aren’t going so well

I. On a Sunday afternoon

I am making three lasagnas, one for a family member who was just diagnosed with lymphoma, one for a friend with a brand new baby, and one for my sister.

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The baby and the cancer happened so quickly, seemingly days apart. Events like these make me broody about mortality and humans and life. In darker moments, it feels relentless, this onslaught of new babies and people I love falling sick, as if I will never possess arms open enough or heart big enough to welcome them and give them the tenderness they deserve, the protection they need. Three lasagnas: the puniest of offerings.

I bring the lasagna to family dinner, and everyone has seconds. Everyone is quiet while they chew. It is not okay. And yet.

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Tuesday, 2 August 2016 | 17 comments

Summer, then

I have an aunt who likes to ask people: “If someone shook you awake in the middle of the night and asked you, Quick! How old are you? What would your response be?”

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Monday, 23 May 2016 | 21 comments

May + a gingery, seed-y collard green salad

I did my first, real-deal season-extending gardening this year. This means that as opposed to planting things in the spring, I actually planted them in October and protected them as they slowly grew through the winter. By the time spring rolled around, we had mature lettuce and leafy greens earlier in the year than we’ve ever had them before, which is great, in some ways, but has also started to weird me out a little. We tend to think of leafy things as tender, young, springy food, but the lettuce I am harvesting is eight months old. Kind of crazy, right?

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