Thursday, 13 March 2014 | 75 comments

A marmalade cake

When I was growing up, my mother ordered big boxes of citrus from Florida as Christmas presents to family members. This strikes me as a really ’80s or early ’90s food thing to do, sort of in the same category as raspberry vinaigrette or a big tri-color pasta salad. In any case, now that she’s no longer with us, my stepfather dutifully carries on the tradition. He sent me a big box of honeybells in January. I love citrus in winter, but we couldn’t keep up with 25 pounds of it. So I made marmalade.

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Friday, 20 December 2013 | 36 comments

Dennie’s molasses cookies

Four Decembers ago, my friend Jonathan and I went camping. (If you know both of us, this is only mildly absurd.) We went to Assateague—you know, the island where the wild ponies are?—and the freezing rain started on our drive there. It didn’t stop as we pitched our tent. It was so windy we couldn’t even get a fire lit to heat water for coffee. After one night, our spirits weren’t totally dampened, so we went hiking on the beach. We got back, freezing, wrapped ourselves in sleeping bags and ate cheese and apples in the tent. Jonathan produced some Ziploc bags full of his mom’s molasses cookies. The rain turned to snow, and we decided to leave, cutting the trip short.

We took a lot of pictures on the trip—Jonathan sitting on some driftwood as grey, winter-storm surf rolled in, me running on a beach that looked like the craggy surface of the moon with the grey sky hanging low—so it looms large in my memory. The whole affair was brief and completely miserable, but somehow we both remember it as this pinnacle event of our lives.
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Thursday, 29 August 2013 | 58 comments

How we fill our days

Age is a funny thing. Women, especially, spend a lot of time benchmarking themselves against age: you’re a failure if you’re 16 and you’ve never been kissed; your “biological clock” has been ticking for awhile by the time you’re 30; and you’re considered pretty damaged goods by the time you turn 50 (or so L’oreal would have me believe). On Monday I had an annual performance review at work. I was presented with anonymous comments solicited from colleagues: “shows depth of understanding beyond her position”, “far-sighted and pragmatic for her age”, “excellent judgment—beyond her years”. It’s meant to be flattering, but I left disconcerted.

People tell me I am an old soul, but if that’s true, I’m not a particularly wise one. Kind of like the next-door neighbor curmudgeon who is a little bitter and has very particular opinions about things that don’t really matter.

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Wednesday, 21 August 2013 | 26 comments

Peach & cornmeal upside-down cake

i recently read Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby. The book is not about food, but nonetheless begins with the story of a pile of apricots that arrived at the author’s doorstep from her ailing mother’s home. Solnit spreads them on a sheet, observing them in various states of greenness, ripeness, and decay, too many to eat at once. She likens her pile of apricots to the Impossible Task of fairy tales: the water to be carried in a sieve; the pile of seeds and grains to be sorted in a single night. Doing something with all those apricots before they went to waste became more than just a matter of practicality, it was a puzzle to solve, the feat that proves you’re worthy enough to marry the princess, the story that allows Scherezade to live another day. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 | 8 comments

Zucchini crumble

We talked about summer bumper crops of tomatoes last week (among other things!), but I’m dropping in with a quick post today to tip you off to a recipe for another one of those summer fruits that we always scramble to use up in time: zucchini. The wonderful Food52 folks asked me to write about an “heirloom recipe”, and this quirky, sweet recipe came to mind immediately.

You can get the recipe and the story over at Food52.

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