Years ago now, there was a fire in our building in Brooklyn. Nothing serious, but even so, the city cut electricity and gas to the building for six weeks and our family (then consisting of me, Brian, a single daughter, and a very cute dog) moved into the Affinia Hotel on 7th Avenue, directly across the street from Madison Square Garden. In February. Save one beautiful snowstorm, our days in that hotel were bleak – walking the dog in Midtown and needing to go blocks to find even a tiny patch of earth, making the long trek to the foreign world of the Madison Square Park playground, cooking for three in the tiny kitchenette, and other catastrophes major and minor. We’d occasionally get back to Brooklyn, and coming out of the subway I’d always be stunned by all the light there. The low-rise buildings that made up the Brooklyn skyline (especially back then) left more room for the sky. Even though it was frigid out, I started to bring my sunglasses. [Read more…]
A weekly fall produce guide to what’s in season right now based on the contents of our CSA share, with CSA and farmer’s market recipes and ideas. This week’s mid-September inspiration: kuri squash, arugula, radishes, and late season cherry tomatoes.
Real deal fall has arrived. Crisp days haven’t quite descended, but mornings call for jackets. The cicadas have mostly quieted, their frenetic rattles replaced by the steady thrum of crickets. I like to watch the birds this time of year – it’s a good time to spot migrating species making their way through. The end of summer was dry, and I worried that fall color would be unimpressive, but a damp few weeks has given me hope that we might have a good show after all. [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…]
A weekly fall produce guide to what’s in season right now based on the contents of our CSA share, with CSA and farmer’s market recipes and ideas. This week’s mid-September inspiration: heirloom apples, concord grapes, and plums.
There are a lot of reasons we spend so much time here urging people to eat closer to home. It’s good for local food systems and economies; beyond this, local food, produced at small scales, just tastes better. Much of the food in a typical grocery store is grown for shelf stability rather than flavor. Foods are picked before they’re ripe so they’ll transport better. This winter, I had a Granny Smith (all the way from New Zealand) that was so hard I couldn’t get my teeth into it. [Read more…]
In the beginning, neither Brian nor I had grand ideas for parenthood. Honestly, it was a selfish endeavor for me – I wanted to see if I really could, you know, create another human. I also, somewhat mistakenly, saw pregnancy as a great opportunity to eat a lot of ice cream. Our daughter was an easy baby, especially once we’d made it through those first six weeks, and Brian and I settled in to parenthood rather effortlessly.
And things went along this way, with the usual ups and downs, until last year. That was when we realized that the skills required to nurture a big kid and help them become an upstanding person are pretty different from the ones you need to nurture a baby. It’s been a tough transition, with lots of instances of helping our oldest navigate her relationships with others, resolve conflicts, and right wrongs. These same things happen with littles, but the social web of interactions is so much more immediate. Also, there’s homework. [Read more…]
With a chill in the night air and a few recent professional disappointments, the past couple weeks have been a time for long, hot showers. At night, the bathroom all steamy, I listen to the BBC News, which focuses on Africa in the evening and often serves as a reminder that, with my safe home and clean water, I’m still ahead by more than any of us deserve. No one can blame me for being rooted in my own life –– it’s an essential part of being human –– but remembering that all I have is mine by chance is good way to keep things in check. [Read more…]
Our family of four relies heavily on a delicate balance of personalities. Brian, whether by nature or force of will, is stoic and patient almost all of the time. I strive for the same, but most days just holding it together feels like an accomplishment. If there’s one thing you don’t have a lot of as a parent of two, it’s space, both personal and mental, and I need a lot of it. I thought, now that our littlest one is in school five days a week, I’d have plenty of time to recharge and conquer the world, but it seems the more space I have, the more I need. Making up for lost time, no doubt. We had thought our girls each took after one of us – the oldest being sensitive and prone to the same types of high highs and low lows that her mother experiences. Until recently, our youngest seemed to have inherited her father’s quiet introspection and mellow exterior. I say until recently because just a couple weeks after she turned three, something changed. All of a sudden, there were tantrums, as well the intense desires and a stubbornness that you might expect from any other toddler turned preschooler. We just really didn’t think it would happen to us. [Read more…]
Home decor, especially kitchen appliances, can last a long time, so even though I was born after the heyday of burnt orange and pea green, the palette persisted well into my childhood. Even now, overly warm wood stains, yellow undertones, and dimly lit television shows all send me running for aesthetic cleansing. This may be why I have such difficulty embracing the hues of October. Besides the pervasive orange-ness of the season, to embrace all things squash or pumpkin is to admit defeat. For me, winter squash signals the end of the growing season, meaning everything from now until April is either a storage food or from someplace else. [Read more…]
At the McCarren Park Greenmarket a few years ago, I overheard a woman getting an earful over the phone for suggesting a purchase of non-organic apple cider for a child’s party. She tried to speak up for the local orchard selling cider right there in the market, but this was in the middle of the great apple juice arsenic scare of 2011 and so she lost that battle.
Which is too bad, because the orchard in question was a low-spray orchard that takes a thoughtful approach to integrated pest management. Whatever organic juice the woman bought instead was likely trucked from the other side of the country or even farther away, which has an environmental impact just like pesticides do. And though it may have been organic, it still may not have been as responsibly grown as the cider she was forced to pass up. [Read more…]
For the squirrels, it started a month ago. The first day of September, before the acorns fell, panic washed over the animal kingdom. Squirrels were more furtive and skittish then ever. Either a deer or a groundhog decided to eat all of our late strawberries, leaves and all. These days, it’s the birds who are nuts; the blue jays have returned from wherever they summer and the crows are back to making a ruckus.
In the human world, early October is a more appropriate time to freak out. [Read more…]