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

Friday, 27 May 2011 | 7 comments

Peach crumble oatmeal

The star attraction at the farmer’s market this weekend should have been the appearance of the first strawberries. They were there, jewel-bright and aromatic and further cementing my opinion that some produce tastes so much better in season that it’s a crime to eat it otherwise. Instead, though, people crowded around the apple stand, oohing and ahhing over an enormous pile of peaches.

“They’re from our friend’s orchard in South Carolina,” the apple lady explained. The peaches were sitting in the sun and the smell wafted throughout the market. Everyone milled about and stocked up, feeling a bit drunk on such a summery scent when we’re still getting used to spring.

But like most forms of intoxication, being peach-drunk at the market comes at a price the morning after. For me, I wandered into the kitchen the next day and was struck with the peach-hangover realization that I had about a bushel of perfectly ripe fruit that would not get eaten before going bad without some serious effort.
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