I’m so glad that Birkenstocks are acceptable again. Almost cool. Over the past couple of years I’ve seem them on fashionable New Yorkers, and I just bought a pair. I had forgotten how comfy they are. They’re still not exactly good looking, but I like them. They feel sort of age appropriate in a nice way.Read More
I spent this last week doing not a whole heck of a lot. I made two trips to the beach with dear friends, a new baby beauty, and a baby in utero. (Not my utero.) I watched another inspiring friend complete her first triathlon. I read books and drank coffee on my couch. I saw the new X-Men (x-tremely boring) by myself and drank my annual cherry coke (delicious). I went to the farmers’ market for the first time this summer (!) and bought a ton of heirloom tomatoes. And I loaded up on more currants. Lots more currants.Read More
I’ve seen the movie Titanic more times than I would like to admit. I saw it in the theater when it came out. We owned a copy on laser disc that I used to enjoy occasionally. And it’s been on TV a fair number of times. Let’s just say that I know the film pretty well. Well enough that the best way that I can explain my life is through a scene from the movie. Not that “I’m king of the world” business, either.Read More
What the heck are black currants anyway? I’ve been watching old episodes of Louie so I feel entitled to phrase all my questions really aggressively.
I was at Whole Foods the other day. I had a short list of things I needed and a long list of things I needed to do. I had a strict schedule to follow. And then I got carried away by the currants.Read More
Yesterday I didn’t step outside of my apartment once. I didn’t take a shower until just before bed. I won’t even tell you at what time I remembered to brush my teeth. It’s countdown to book deadline around here!
One week. I’m feeling great. I have a plan of action. I even have a social plan or two for the evenings to keep me sane. And I know, in the back of my mind, that my contract includes a 45-day grace period should I need it. But that’s a crutch I’m going to try to run away from with my two good legs.Read More
For a while I had a spin teacher who ended every class imploring his students to spend a second being grateful that they were healthy enough to exercise. That seems right to me. I love to jog. I like the feel of the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my hair. Once I’ve gotten oven my initial laziness, I feel glad and grateful whenever I hit the pavement. That said, I also harbor no illusions about being an athlete. I’m clumsy and not light on my feet. But that’s why jogging is so great. You can just do it your way. Any way that happens to be.Read More
Every day I confront a pressing moral dilemma. The good and evil parts of my personality are fighting it out, and I’m really not sure which side is going to win. My predicament involves fresh strawberries, a friendly church, and potential jail time.Read More
I know what you’re thinking. You probably read the title of this post and shook your head. Maybe you scrolled through the pictures disapprovingly. “My land,” you thought, “this woman is obsessed with custard.” And you know what? You’re absolutely right. It’s shameful. I am. But this week I have an excuse. This week I’m passing the buck. This week I’m blaming three other people. Custard haters, please send your complaints to John Cheever, my husband Gus, and John McPhee.Read More
Let me tell you how I’ve been spending my evenings up here in Maine. We wrap up dinner around 6:30, nice and early. It’s wonderful to sit on the screened-in porch and watch the light change and feel the air cool down. At the end of the meal, we sit around and chat. Then my father-in-law John gets up and clears the plates and starts the dishes. And it’s usually about that time that I’m struck by a genius idea. Every night it’s the same idea, but somehow it always seems fresh. And then I ask:
Anyone want ice cream?Read More
Joyce Carol Oates said that “getting a first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.” What a great analogy. My first cookbook draft and whatever masterpiece Joyce Carol Oates was referring to may not have much in common, but I can relate to her sentiment. Lately I’ve been getting a mouth full of dust bunnies on my quest to push the peanut. I write every day. I cook almost every day. But every day I wonder if the things I’m creating are good enough. I guess that’s all a part of the process.Read More
Sometimes delicious food and love can just bowl you over, knock you down.
Once, back when we went on what I would call “dates,” Gus took me to Lupa, one of Mario Batali's restaurants. He knew the pasta would win me over. Really he could have taken me to IHOP and I would have been happy.Read More
I was just thinking about middle school. The oversized LL Bean backpack that I insisted on wearing on one shoulder despite the threat of scoliosis. Braces that made me look so unattractive (the perm didn’t help) that one popular boy, who barely spoke to me otherwise, was moved enough to tell me how much better I looked the day they were removed. He seemed utterly relieved on my behalf. Keds. Dirty white Keds.Read More
Some people celebrate with champagne. I go for doughnuts. I need a special occasion for deep fat frying. This week I have one. Love, Cake is one year old! So what’s going to happen on this blogiversary? I’m going to express my heartfelt gratitude. Get out the deep fryer. There will be plenty of fat but I'll try not to get too schmaltzy.Read More
Someone was on our roof at 5:38am on Tuesday morning. Only about 2 inches of ceiling separates our apartment and the sky. I know because we can see the bottom half of all the nails that hold our roof together. Any movement above us basically sounds like Bigfoot doing a lively jig. At first I was mad. Then I decided to get up, make coffee, and get an unpleasant gym visit out of the way. Beauty rest be damned.Read More
You know that thing where as soon as you schedule a haircut, your hair starts to look extra luxurious? It’s just one good hair day after another, right up until your appointment, and you start to question the impulse that brought you to the salon in the first place. I’m having that problem with New York City.Read More
Did you know that rhubarb grows in Sri Lanka? Neither did I. I don’t know why that's surprising to me. According to the Internet, rhubarb is probably native to Mongolia or Siberia. So if it travelled all the way to the US, why couldn’t it travel to Sri Lanka, which is pretty close, relatively speaking. But it’s kind of fascinating. Imagine the diverse landscapes of Siberia, Sri Lanka, and Maine, for example. Rhubarb can make it’s home in all of those places. She's just that adaptable.Read More
Last week: pudding. This week: brownies. Are you getting the theme here? Yes. Chocolate. But that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m making things simple. Making it cozy. Baking it easy. Brownies. That’s about the speed I’m at right about now. I don’t know about you, but my mind is cluttered. I’ve got a lot weighing on my brain these days. Brownies take the edge off. Lots of brownies. (Thank goodness I’ve also picked up my running shoes after a much-too-long-post-ankle-surgery hiatus.)
So brownies. Everyone has a different opinion on what makes the perfect pan. Chewy. Cakey. Fudgy. What have you. I like mine from a box. Always have. Always will. But I wonder if that makes the best sense.Read More
This week I asked Gus what he thought I should make for the blog. “Chocolate pudding!” Well, I aim to please! Here you go.
Just kidding. It wasn't that easy. I was annoyed at his lack of creativity. The truth is, right when I asked him, we were both coming off a high from this dairy-free quinoa pudding I had just made. I know quinoa pudding may not necessarily get you salivating, but trust me, quinoa pudding is much more delicious than it sounds. Anyway, after that successful pudding, Gus wanted more pudding. (It makes so much sense that we’re married.) And this time he wanted a really good chocolate pudding.Read More
My former colleague/current friend Merritt emailed me with a snippet from her dream life the other day. Not her dreamy and beautiful existence in San Francisco but an actual dream. Apparently, in her dreams, my current morning routine involves at least ten minutes of combing my eyebrows with a rusty old dime. Yes. That sounds about right.Read More
We live in a studio in a small building. It’s cozy and lovely. The building was built in the late 1800’s and a lot of the original, pretty wrought-iron stairway railing remains alongside the six flights we walk up to our home. There are still mysterious doors in the hallway that hide the space where communal toilets were years ago. I think the super uses them as broom closets now. (I did spy a reeeeaaally old commode when one door happened to be open. Neat and gross!) We have pretty exposed beams across the ceiling, really beat up wood floors, and a kind of ugly but warming brick wall. All in all, I feel extremely lucky to live here.Read More