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…]
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…]
I’ve come to think of learning about seasonal food from the comfort of a Brooklyn address as akin to being a teenager, when you’re the all-knowing king of the teensiest sliver of actual life. The teenage world is prescribed; their intricate social customs and language have little bearing on the world at large. In your heart, you feel like you’ve figured it all out, but have yet to consider all the things you don’t know, with the compromise and complexity of adult life only a distant possibility. For better or worse, to be teenaged is to exist in a bubble.
In the same way, I thought I knew a lot about local food when I lived in New York City. [Read more…]
Charlottesville is just 25 miles from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Shenandoah National Park, but it took us more than a year of living here to make our way out there. And even then, we barely made it. To start, it one was of those weekends –– equal parts magical and exhausting –– where Brian and I fit way too much in. It was like a marathon as we madly hopped from one fun activity to the next, with hardly any time for important things like sitting around or making food.
No matter, on Sunday we had brunch with visiting friends and then set out for a trip to the mountains. [Read more…]
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Throughout the year, few moments are as defining as that first bite of a really great summer tomato, so full of brightness and acidity. The pale specimens that line grocery store shelves in winter have very little in common with summer’s greatest achievement. The arrival of great tomatoes also signals something else –– the beginning of summer eating.
Defined mostly by (nearly) overwhelming abundance, summer eating centers on freshness. It’s more about prepping and combining ingredients than cooking them. Because of the sweltering heat and the fact that so many summer ingredients are perfectly delicious on their own, summer cooking should be minimal. It was with these core principals in mind that Brian and I set to making a tasty batch of fish tacos over the weekend. [Read more…]
I don’t mention it much here, but in my past life, I was a painter. Not the kind who paints rooms, though I’m decent at that too, but the kind who paints pictures. I’ve even done a few turns adjuncting here and there, but never really showed anything because my work was always almost ready. It was a kind of permanent dissatisfaction, my aesthetics lagging behind my fumbling fingers. [Read more…]