I love prunes. They’re sweet and chewy and delicious. I always travel with them (for obvious reasons). I once brought a huge bag with me on a trip to Sri Lanka. My adorable grandmother tasted a prune, presumably for the first time, and then asked me if she could keep the entire bag. I said yes because I also love my grandmother. I realized that if prunes didn’t have such a stigma everyone would be eating them all day like candy. That was my grandmother’s plan. I get it.Read More
First, I owe you a big, fat thank you! As you have probably figured out from that new badge over on the right, Love, Cake is one of the 6 finalists in the Best Baking and Desserts category of this year’s Saveur Blog Awards. I’m really excited (and frankly a little shocked) to be included. The finalists make up a serious group of talent. Internet heavy-hitters. I know I made that list because of you and your generous nominations. So thank you a hundred times over. I’m so grateful. Click here to see the full list of finalists and vote for your favorites in all 13 categories.Read More
For a good chunk of my life, I didn’t know that there was more to New York City than Chinatown. I assumed that the earth fell off at the edge of Kenmare Street, Frank Sinatra was singing about dim sum, and the Great White Way referred to Mott Street with its rows of fish markets full of pale creatures in white Styrofoam coolers. When I was little my family made countless day trips to New York City, but we never went to Macy’s or saw a show on Broadway. Instead we made a beeline for Chinatown and stayed there. After so many visits, I just assumed that the only thing to do in the whole of New York City was shop for groceries from busy street stalls and eat delicious Chinese food. That was my New York City and I liked it.Read More
New Yorkers are not unkind. Ask one of us for the time or for directions and we’ll gladly help you out. We’ll tell you where the best bagels are. I’ll even swipe you a ride on my Metrocard if the transit authority guy isn’t looking. But we do keep to ourselves. We maintain a respectful distance. And we don’t often make eye contact.Read More
Imagine a soft pudgy marshmallow. Naked and vulnerable. What would happen if you put that marshmallow on the surface of the sun? Exactly what happens when a kid plunks her baby-soft finger in molten hot caramel. How do I know? Don’t worry. I’m alright now.Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
I always feel sort of bad for an angel food cake. Somewhere in the past twenty years food writers pushed it into the fat-free food world and it got stuck there, only celebrated for what it wasn’t rather than what it was. Then once that whole fad became a joke, and we all decided to put down the Snackwells and eat more vegetables, angel food cake never seemed to recover from the stigma.Read More
I recently fell asleep at the movies. I think I've entered a new stage of life. The I’m-perfectly-rested-but-now-I’m-old-so-if-I get-too-comfortable-I’m-going-to-pass-out stage. Strange. I didn’t feel the transition.Read More
If you close your eyes, can you imagine the sound that chocolate cake makes? I can. It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world. And it’s very specific. Nothing makes a sound quite like chocolate cake.
I'm talking about the sound of cutting a chocolate cake. Rich, audible decadence. Soft and squishy. I especially love the muffled, chocolatey knock of the knife hitting the plate. So deep and promising. My mouth waters just thinking about it.Read More
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I usually don’t, but this year is going to be a big one for me, so I thought I’d psych myself up. My resolution is to show the meringue who’s boss.
Let me explain.Read More
The outside of our refrigerator is wallpapered in clutter. A ridiculous caricature. (Who are those weirdos?) Sweet baby Agnes’ birth announcement. An outdated Christmas card with our cute nieces running amok. An ugly magnet that touts the benefits of green tea that I like to gaze at while drinking my coffee. It's anything but sleek and stylish, but each strange artifact makes me happy.Read More
My friend Cate and I have a recurring food theme. Anyone who knows us would probably guess it's noodles. We have eaten our fair share of noodles together. I don’t know if that’s because Cate loves them as much as I do or she’s just dear enough to eat them with me whenever I beg. (Which is often.) When she and I travelled back to China after a trip to the beach in Thailand, sweet Cate agreed to go directly from the airport to my favorite Beijing noodle shop - before even popping home for a quick refresh. We ran straight from plane to cab, with all of our heavy luggage in tow, and zipped to this tiny hole-in-the-wall spot all because I was craving a noodle fix. (Thank goodness noodles are my only addiction.) I still can’t really believe she agreed to do that. Dear friend. I still can’t really believe I asked her to.Read More
How do you know when you have a true friend? When she brings you 6 cardboard boxes of macaroni and cheese from her family vacation in California. Twenty-five years later and I still remember that gift. Lin knew me so well. She knew that I didn’t want a silly California keychain, a useless stuffed animal, or a tee shirt that would be too big and certainly too scratchy. She understood me. Of course that’s what I would want as a souvenir from her trip (regardless of the fact that macaroni and cheese could be found easily in all fifty states). She knew that pasta would be her best idea for a gift and the thing that would make me beam the very brightest. But most importantly, she could be sure that every single box of rehydrated cheese covered noodles would be shared with her - the glorious feast at many a giggly sleepover to come. That’s best friendship at its finest.