Sarah Coates is the cool Australian behind The Sugar Hit, one of my favorite food blogs both for its recipes and punchy writing. She also has a cookbook out now that’s just as exuberant and funny as I hoped and expected. In a time of Scandi refinement and muted tones, Sarah’s bold colors, distinct voice, and unapologetically sweet, gooey, crazy delicious recipes stand out. It’s not called The Sugar Hit for nothing, people. [Read more…]
On Sunday, Brian and I slept in while the girls watched TV and ate whatever weird snacks they could cobble together. Since they’d already eaten their first breakfast, there was time to make waffles at a leisurely pace. We put on a record and made a big pot of coffee, and eventually, sat down to apple waffles. Later, we went to the park and library – all the while absorbing the beautiful September sunshine. [Read more…]
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On a hot summer Saturday eight years ago, Brian and I went to Prune for brunch. Like every meal I ever had at Prune, it was epic. (Lots of places in NYC phone it in when it comes to brunch, Prune, however, is not messing around.) But the reason I remember that brunch in particular is that Prune is teeny tiny. And, well, I was not. I was 41 weeks pregnant with a baby girl who in short order would come into the world at an impressive 9 pounds 10 ounces. Being full-term and all, I needed to go to the bathroom at least twice during our brunch and this meant that literally half the tables in the restaurant had to stand up to let me through. After brunch, Brian and I went on a walk all the way around the southern tip of Manhattan, and back up through Tribeca and on to Union Square. (The adventure was an ill-fated attempt to walk myself into labor.)
All these years later, I’m glad we went to brunch that day and enjoyed our last childless meal at a restaurant. [Read more…]
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Over the summer, I took to working mostly in the evenings. I’d wait for the sun to tip below our neighbor’s house, throwing a lovely golden light over the spot where I take pictures. I’d rush to get everything set up and then snap photos for an hour or so. Sometimes, I’d be thwarted by an evening storm, family, chaos, or poor timing, but I mostly got my shots.
Now, the light is changing – the sun’s tilting southward and each day I’m encountering shifting shadows and weird light. It’s also increasingly unacceptable for my photography schedule to push dinner back past 8 (the kids have school and all). The summer rhythm is dissipating, and though I’m glad for fall, I’m having a hard time letting go of the long days and beautiful light. [Read more…]
I’m not having a productive summer and it’s getting worse. Despite waking up late most mornings, I’ve now napped two days in a row. My coffee game is off. Getting work done feels like it depends on some strange alchemy. If I sit in the right spot, glasses cleaned and aligned just so, and the coffee’s fresh, maybe I’ll make progress? Nope. I wander out to the garden instead.
Billowing thunderheads, the deafening roar of the cicadas, minuscule progressions in the growth of my watermelons (you guys – I’m growing watermelons!), all seem far more important than work right now. [Read more…]
In my heart, I’m a meanderer. During a quiet morning at home, if things are going well, I’m fully immersed in at least three tasks at once, wandering between each one as my interest shifts. In my art, I gravitate toward the endless possibilities of oil painting and fell hard for process-driven printmaking. I even made photography complicated, opting for handmade paper, pinhole cameras, and painted-on emulsion. [Read more…]
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In grad school, I lived in Boston’s Beacon Hill, a neighborhood that can now claim to be the unlikely former home of Ted Kennedy, Sylvia Plath, John Kerry, and me in my art student days. Although I felt out of place, I adored the worn brick sidewalks and the view of a picturesque courtyard from my tiny basement studio. I loved to entertain, and would invite way too many people over to sit on my floor and eat beans (or something else that fit my limited budget). This haphazard dinner party style followed me all through my many East Coast moves, to apartments of varying sizes, all with mismatched chairs that were uncomfortable and too few. I’ve been under the impression that I love throwing parties ever since. [Read more…]
Over dinner, she asks, “If you could be anyone, who would it be?” Before she and her sister were born, I might have entertained the idea, but now, I wouldn’t change a thing. Understanding the improbability of it all, she says that I can have them and Brian and still be someone else. I say, “Someone rich, I guess.” But then I can’t think of anyone rich or brilliant I’d really want to be. I can’t think of another life I’d trade for my stressful, messy, chaotic one. (Surely, some more intensive thought might turn up the ideal life – if only based on location; in the moment, though, this is how is was.) [Read more…]
When I began this blog, summer was without a doubt my favorite season for food. I looked forward to summer highlights like piles of stone fruit, ripe tomatoes, and sweet corn all year long. But lately, I find spring is my favorite season. I love the anticipation and finding a new ingredient available each week, especially after so many months of the same roots and hardy greens. First there are chives, followed by green garlic, then ramps, lettuce, asparagus, and finally, strawberries. For years now, as I’ve savored these moments at my own farmer’s market or in my garden, I’ve also enjoyed experiencing the spring awakening through my friend Aimée.
During my eighties childhood, a halved grapefruit appeared in the breakfast portion of any diet’s sample menu. My family took that as a cue, I think, and served up these healthy halves of grapefruit, too. Except, in a move that definitely undid whatever health benefits the fruit had, the adults spooned a modest sprinkling of sugar onto their grapefruit, while I dumped a good-sized mound onto the same. As a rule, we should be wary of a fruit that requires sugar to consume.
We should also be wary of a fruit whose most popular varieties have been chosen because of how well they ship and store rather than how good they taste. Where grapefruits are concerned, the emphasis has long been on ease of distribution. But those of us who like to eat (even in winter) are lucky that grapefruit technology has come a long way. Better distribution, producers who understand that people want flavor too, and a general upscaling of everything mean that flavorless grapefruits have mostly gone the way of mealy Red Delicious apples. (Even if the bad rep they earned seems to linger.) [Read more…]