Turn and Face the Strange

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Public Service Announcement: David Bowie Is is the name of an extraordinary touring exhibition that originated at the Victoria and Albert Museum and is currently making its only United States stop in Chicago. It’s an incredibly moving and inspiring show that I hope you all get to see (seriously, come to Chicago!). I am famous for how quickly I move through museums. I spent almost two hours in this exhibition and would have probably spent more time if I didn’t have plans to see it again. The show includes music, costumes, hand-written lyrics, artifacts (including the crystal ball from Labyrinth!), and videos, all tied together through an audio experience that seamlessly guides you through the exhibit. I generally feel ambivalent about museums. While I am optimistic about their educational possibilities and their role as collectors/protectors of culture, they often feel dead and I feel bored. It was nice to be in a museum space that felt alive. Crowds of people swaying to the sounds of Space Oddity. I left wanting to make things. I also left thinking about how much awesomeness one person can bring into the world.

Crisp Baked Tofu

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We’re always freaking out about what to eat for dinner. Not on the weekend, on the weekend we enjoy the question, but during the week it is another story. At some point during the workday one of us will text or e-mail the other something along the lines of: WTF dinner?

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I like cooking, but like many of you I have a 9-5 (ish) job and a commute on either end of that day. I don’t have the energy to do too much for dinner. We tend to eat a combination of pieced together pantry/fridge meals, pick-up, and occasionally eat dinner out. You would not believe I had a food blog from my typical weeknight diet. It consists of a lot of improvised salads, fried rice, and the occasional pizza bagel. But once in a while, we’ll put in a little more effort. We might even plan ahead and make something on Sunday that will last us a few days into the week. This tofu is a good example.

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The Torte

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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

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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

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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

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Tabbouleh

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Blueberry Muffins

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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+++