Thursday, 29 August 2013 | 59 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 | 28 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.

Monday, 4 February 2013 | 32 comments

White grapefruit tart with sweet rye crust

For those of you in California, in Florida, or even in the Mediterranean; for those of you in places where the temperature doesn’t dip so low that, in your car, your toes freeze because the heat only works on “defrost” instead of blowing on your face or feet (this is, sadly, the least of our current car troubles); for those of you wearing flip-flops year round—it’s difficult for me to explain. Winter citrus is so utterly improbable for those of us in colder climes. The bright colors, jeweled insides, and shamelessly pervasive aromas of these fruits seem altogether suited for another season, or really, in the interminable winter months, another world. When there’s snow on the ground outside, slicing open a grapefruit, with that little spritz of essential oil from the peel as I cut in, is enough to reduce me to a mess of stuttering half sentences and syllables of appreciation. » Click to read more

Sunday, 2 December 2012 | 29 comments

Sparkling brown butter spice cake (with kabocha squash)

We have reached the time of year when it’s dark as I leave in the morning and dark when I return home, which, while not depressing in a seasonal affective disorder way, certainly affects my mood. I make my way out to the car in the pre-dawn chill, huddled close and indrawn. The windshield flares with crazy, sparkly frost patterns when Ben switches on the headlights. Sort of chiaroscuro for the soul. (Guaranteed, I won’t feel this romantically about dark mornings come February, so let’s enjoy it while we can.) » Click to read more

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