The Torte

IMG_3029

Make this cake.

In case Deb, Amelia (whose enthusiasm inspired me), or the scores of others who have written about this cake did not convince you, I am here to repeat that this is one of the best recipes ever. If you don’t consider yourself a baker, this will change all of that. It could not be easier, and the results could not be more impressive. It looks like something you’d find in a rustic French bakery and tastes even better. Seriously, people, make this cake. read more+++

Provincetown

IMG_0943

IMG_0881

We recently spent some time in Provincetown, the town precariously perched at the sandy tip of Cape Cod. It is easily one of my favorite places in the world. If I could, I would spend time there every year (hopefully someday). Provincetown is everything: a gay mecca, an artist colony, a place of extreme natural beauty, a family vacation spot, a town full of eccentrics, and a picturesque east-coast seaside village. read more+++

Horchata

IMG_2959

After a few weeks of house guests and travels, I am about to get back into this. But for now, please make yourself some horchata. Apricots will be gone before we know it. This is delicious as a mid-afternoon snack or even for dessert with a shortbread cookie. The recipe for this apricot horchata is here. XO

IMG_2941

Tabbouleh

IMG_2802

A couple of weekends ago we had some friends over for lunch. We live on the top floor of a 100-year old building and during the summer it is hot. Turning on the oven is not an option when we are entertaining, so we tend to serve things that can be prepared in advance. In fact, I am developing quite a repertoire of recipes that can be prepared in advance and served cold or room temperature. This farmers market tabbouleh is being added to that ever-growing list. I was inspired by something I’d seen in the Morito cookbook, an assortment of tabbouleh that adapt to the seasons.

IMG_2783 read more+++

Funny

I started following Caity Weaver on Twitter because of the essay she wrote about her experiences aboard a Paula Deen cruise (yes, that is a thing). I liked that essay a lot. But what I have grown to like even more, are her responses to Martha Stewart on Twitter. She’s amazing (and so is Martha). read more+++

Hotels

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

It would be impossible for me to adequately express how much I love hotels. I inherited this love from my mom who, despite not having much disposable income, always prioritized vacations. We managed to go on a vacation every year of my young life, something I will always be grateful for. It taught me the importance of finding ways to take a break from the everyday, as well as the obvious benefits of being exposed to new people and places and ways of living. But my feelings for hotels go beyond their role as a signifier of vacation. And let me be clear, in my adult life my love of hotels should more specifically be defined as a love of fancy hotels. Which I know leaves the rest of these words dripping with privilege and elitism. I’m aware of that, and I am also aware that we all make decisions about how we will spend our extra income. I don’t have a car, or cable, or—I’m getting defensive.

IMG_2740

Back to hotels: Hotels are this strange public/private space that is both your “home” and yet completely foreign and filled with strangers. They are at once comforting and stimulating. They have amenities. Pools. Room Service. Someone to make your bed every morning. Marble bathrooms with soaking tubs (or if you’re very lucky: steam showers). They have giant comfortable beds with nice linens. TV with dozens of channels. Someone you can call when you’ve forgotten your toothbrush. This is serious comfort. The stimulation comes from the public areas of the hotel. Grand hotels provide some of the world’s greatest people-watching. You overhear weird conversations and see the same people at breakfast each morning, as you try to piece together their lives. And don’t even get me started on hotel bars. All of that to say, I like a nice hotel.

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset
read more+++

Blueberry Muffins

IMG_2501

Certain recipes never make their way to these pages. Blueberry muffins are a good example. I love blueberry muffins, so I try new recipes whenever I come across one that sounds good. But they’re all pretty good, because what could really be bad about blueberries and butter and sugar? Some are better than others, but it still isn’t the sort of thing that inspires me to write which means it has been six years with no blueberry muffin recipes. (Banana bread probably falls into this category, though recently I tried a recipe that may be perfect— I’ll let you know!) read more+++

#Normcore

IMG_0312

Normcore capitalizes on the possibility of misinterpretation as an opportunity for connection — not as a threat to authenticity. [K-Hole]

I’ve been fascinated by the concept of normcore since it first swept through the internet at the end of last year. The dissemination of the concept and the responses to it have been strange, to say the least. I’ve used it as an opportunity to dust off the critical theory portion of my brain, and ponder some big issues related to culture and food. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!

I’d like to start with a bit of a normcore reader, in case you’re not already a scholar on this cultural idea/trend/confusion.

  1. You should start with the origins of the term: Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom by K-Hole and Box 1824. K-Hole is a collective of thinkers/artists using the style of corporate trend reports to comment on our cultural moment and forecast trends(?). I’m really interested in their work, which exists in a space between art, satire, and academics. The report is dense and at times, I think, deliberately unclear. So, don’t feel bad if you have trouble with sections of it. Overall, it’s good stuff. Normcore, as defined by K-hole and interpreted by me, is the valuing of connections and participation over authenticity or uniqueness.
  2. There are some serious responses to their work.
  3. Later, the idea of #normcore spirals into a bunch of trend reports that seem to lose sight of what K-Hole was initially suggesting and focus on the idea that clothes from Wal-Mart are now cool (which, to be precise is actually #ActingBasic according to K-Hole). It gets weird. People are understandably annoyed by the discussion. Bon Appetit wants to prove they know what normcore is (they don’t).
  4. Then more recently, Thomas Franks responds. We still seem interested in the idea, though we continue to use it to fit our needs.
  5. This is probably a good summary of the cultural moment, if you’re more of a cliff-notes kind of student.

All of that should send you down an internet hole that will take a while to return from, good luck. And here I am, eating onion rings.

IMG_2571

read more+++

The Midwest

IMG_2335

My friends and I are approaching middle age, some of us more quickly than others. Babies are included in dinner reservations. Our bodies aren’t as reliable as they once were. Most of us have grown-up jobs or own property (buncha sell-outs!). I’m also noticing that many of us are questioning everything. It’s similar to what we went through after graduating from universities, but now the questions have changed: do we want to have kids? am I on the right professional path? where should we live? (who made these rules anyway?!)

Where should we live? is a question that Bryan and I ask each other a lot.  On our frequent trips to Los Angeles we often have moments where we think it would make sense to live there. We have family and friends in the city, the climate, landscape and lifestyle all seem to fit us. We fantasize about what life would be like in sunny California and it’s a blur of avocados, apocalyptic sunsets, and year-round backyard dinners. These fantasies are usually followed by very real moments trapped in freeway traffic where I end up screaming “I hate this fucking city!”. Sooooo, maybe not Los Angeles.

IMG_5549 read more+++