Friday, 14 September 2012 | 31 comments
“Welcome to my office,” Ben says as we climb out of the car. Neat rows of pear trees stretch their limbs out of the morning mist. It’s kind of obnoxious, actually—does he have to brag?—when you consider that my “office” is a cube with padded, circa-1981 salmon pink walls. Ben, by contrast, makes his living here:We grab a ladder and start picking. The crew has been through here once already and most of the harvest is in—they’ll use it to make pear wine, which they then send to a local distillery to make pear brandy—but there are some stragglers. These get sold in the tasting room. We get to take home the “ugly” pears, the ones with spots or lumps or hard patches where they were damaged by insects. For the next couple weeks, bins of the fruit take up residence in our house, and I start thinking of pear pie and pear bread and pear butter. » Click to read more
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 | 105 comments
When I wrote this post awhile back, trying to celebrate home cooks, it resonated with some of you, rubbed some of you the wrong way, but all in all, generated some nice dialogue. Outside of the public comments, some readers emailed me with big questions. Questions about work-life balance, questions about how one manages a full-time non-blog, non-food job and a life of home cooking. Some of you even had questions about my schedule and shopping habits, which were simultaneously flattering in their sincere (and mistaken) belief that I cook every single meal and grow a huge proportion of my diet, and embarrassing in the humble truth of my responses.
My recent college grad sister (congratulations!) related an anecdote to me. She’s at the receiving end of all those post-college let’s-talk-about-real-life speeches, and was recently given one that she found a bit belittling. “The problem with your generation,” the speaker said, “is that they don’t know the value of a day’s hard work. The young people who work for me do their 40 hours and no more. You all want to have a lifestyle.”
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 | 19 comments
Have you ever seen the Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita? There’s this iconic scene where ridiculously glamorous Anita Ekberg hops into the Trevi Fountain, clad in a full-length black evening gown. She wades around, oozing this beautiful-and-damned carelessness, full skirt wilted and clinging to her legs, arms thrown wide, embracing the night. Minus the extreme bustiness, I can almost remember a time when I felt like that: arms open, unworried about tomorrow, taking it all in.At the risk of sounding disingenuous—I am only, after all, in my mid-twenties—that carefree embrace of the world seems very far away, most days. My passions have become tempered with a concerned urgency. Even my motivation to cook, which remains a happy place in my life, is more utilitarian nowadays. Kinda boring and sad, huh? I am a bit of an old soul, and I’ll be the first to admit, but certainly being (or feeling) old doesn’t preclude a naïve sense of wonder. » Click to read more
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 | 39 comments
This week, thoughts banged against the walls of my head. Certain moments hit me in the gut. I wanted to tell you about a dream I had: I stood in the kitchen with my mom, frying up strips of bacon in a cracked ceramic dish. They crinkled into little abalone, seashell-like cracklings. We ate them, our fingers greasy. They were salty and good. I woke up crying and craving bacon. » Click to read more
Friday, 16 March 2012 | 24 comments
Spring is really something, huh? No matter how many times it comes around, I still have a giddy, butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling when things start busting out and warming up. All winter, we’ve scurried from place to place, bundled up, a bit reluctant to spread out further than the warm, safe circles we inhabit. Then, things get crazy! Color, after a season of sepia tones. The time changes! It is still light out when I get home from work.All of a sudden, the world is a place where baby kale plants and tiny white flowers exist. You dig in the ground with a shovel, shyly, almost, testing the waters. Before you know it, you’re outside in your wellies, working in the garden and drinking a can of beer left in your fridge from a shindig that took place at your house with a bunch of kids home from college. There is an untold amount of mud under your fingernails. It feels good! You ignore the fact that your new house appears to have a giant wasp population setting up residence under its eaves, because you’re in such a good mood.
Spring, I’m telling you. Nothing like it.