Happy Birthday to Us

My Dear Readers,


A decade ago I started this blog and you all showed up. You are, by a mile, the best thing to come out of this hobby of mine. Some of you have been here with me for the entire decade, some of you have become my real-life friends and collaborators, all of you have made the site the wonderful place that it is. Ten years is a long time for us to be in a relationship so I am celebrating our perseverance with a very special Lottie + Doof 10th Anniversary Dinner. read more+++

Jam Bars

Jam bars are not usually my jam. These are an exception. They’re from the Tartine All Day book, which I still really love. They are gluten free if you use the right oats and wholesome and super easy to throw together. In the past when I have made jam bar recipes I eat one and then never really want another. They wither so quickly, the jam seeping into the dough and turning it all wet and sweet. Not these! I ate all of these. They keep pretty well in the fridge (or at room temp), but you could also freeze them individually and they’ll thaw fast. Kind of nice to have in case of emergency. The tricks here are the confident amount of salt and the wise addition of lemon juice (and salt) to the store bought jam. The almond butter lends a nice richness to the whole thing. They’re great. read more+++

Randoms 6.13.18

My friends at D.S. & Durga recently released  a new product, I Don’t Know What, which is something they are calling a “fragrance  enhancer” and because, like you, I am scared of/want to destroy things I don’t understand I did what I do best and bullied David into answering some questions about this new product.

  • Hi, David. I Don’t Know What…the fuck this is. Please explain yourself.
  • It’s a perfume with no real notes, no heart, no meat. Just the bones that define, round, and enhance any given note, heart, or meat.
  • But for real man, is it bullshit?
  • Not really. It evolved from how I wear perfume a lot. Grab my fav oils or blends off the wall and fix it with this—instant perfume!
  • Is magic involved?
  • Always.
  • I heard it is part of a conspiracy by Big Fragrance. 
  • We’re going it alone for now but I am using some powerful molecules from The Big Guys!!
  • Okay, let’s just say for a minuet that I believe you and this is a cool new thing, how can it best be used?
  • 1. Apply your favorite oil—Bulgarian Rose Otto? Rare New Zealand Blue Cypress? Vetyver?—spray 1-2 pumps of I Don’t Know What over it. Now your favorite note smells like a well built modern fragrance with your favorite oil.
  • 2. Old perfume that you keep but just don’t dig? Needs a refresh. Spray this over it. Now it’s an updated version! Perfumers update classics all of the time.
  • 3. Layer it with your regular jam. See what happens.

I since bought a bottle and have been using it and have to say that I am now totally on board and apologize to David (and Kavi) for my aggression. I really like what it does to oils but also think it works great on its own. The D.S. & Durga crew remain The Best.

This Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake from Jessie Sheehan is a beaut.  read more+++

O’Keeffe Casual

While hanging out at a bar in Santa Fe we heard tell of a drink that was a variation on Ranch Water (tequila, lime, and sparkling water). It goes like this: Open an ice cold bottle of Topo Chico, take a swig, and fill the empty space with tequila and a wedge of lime. Walk out into the desert with your portable tonic, brilliantly dubbed an O’Keeffe Casual. Could this be the drink of summer?



Randoms 4.16.18

First things first: I am curating (sorry!) a small collection of cookbooks that will be sold at Field & Florist, one of the coolest shops in Chicago. My friends Heidi and Molly own Field & Florist, which is a sustainable flower farm in southwest Michigan and, as of last summer, a flower shop/gift shop/art space in Chicago. They’re basically The Best. I picked out a selection of three recently released cookbooks which will be sold alongside some carefully selected vintage titles. I even wrote about why I love each of the books. I am super excited to be contributing to the Field & Florist dream/lifestyle in this small way. Please stop by and check it out, it would mean a lot to me. Tell them I sent you! Or maybe I’ll be there and you can tell me. The shop just opened for the season this weekend and there is so much good stuff.

Erik Hall is a dear friend and all-around-great guy who records and performs music under the moniker In Tall Buildings. His latest album, Akinetic, is wonderful and worth a listen. He’s also touring around a bit and I highly recommend catching him in person if he shows up in your town. I stayed up past my bedtime for his Chicago show.

What are you reading? I finished Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, which I can’t stop thinking about. It was so precise. And so far the only author whose inclusion of emails and instant messages hasn’t made me cringe. I learned a lot about writing from the book.

Helen Rosner on the strange and fascinating story of the food scientist (“scientist”?) who fought the Joy of Cooking and how the Joy of Cooking won. read more+++

Loba Pastry + Coffee

There were never any chairs at Bad Wolf Coffee, a beloved Chicago coffee shop known for its stellar pastries. You don’t think much about chairs until they aren’t there. There was a table customers could stand at, but the message was clear—don’t linger. When Val Taylor, a former Bad Wolf employee and supertalented pastry chef, took over the space a couple of years ago, one of the first things she did was add chairs. It was a small correction that significantly changed both the way the space worked and felt. Taylor also changed the name to Loba, Spanish for wolf, or more specifically she-wolf. The name is perfect. read more+++

Roasted Eggplant and Za’atar Lasagna

I already have two perfect lasagnas in my life. Ina’s turkey lasagna, which I wooed Bryan with, and Julia’s Nice Lasagna, which I could eat forever and never get tired of. But I was flipping through Nancy Silverton’s Mozza At Home cookbook, a book that, like all of Silverton’s books, I genuinely enjoy and return to often, and came across a recipe for a roasted eggplant lasagna that sounded great. The eggplant is combined with tomatoes and a healthy seasoning of Za’atar to form a hearty vegetarian sauce. The resulting lasagna is delicious, if a little annoying to make. For Bryan and I the results are worth the labor investment because we can be eating it all week. It would also be good for a party since the lasagna can be made in advance. read more+++

Randoms 2.1.18

I have been on a real Stella Parks kick lately and that combined with my lifelong inability to settle on a granola recipe meant that I tried her buttermilk granola. It is super good, though not exactly what I am looking for. I think one thing I have learned is that I don’t care as much about clumps as I am supposed to. They are written about as if they are the holy grail of granola recipes but I kind of don’t care if I have clumps. Anyway, hers does have clumps and some nice light crispness and tang thanks to a buttermilk soak. The recipe is definitely worth trying, but a little too fussy to be a regular in my kitchen. I want to be able to just dump a bunch of stuff in a bowl and run. Also maybe I hate dried fruit? The quest continues.

I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking. Specifically about how it feels like there is no longer the time and space to do the hard work of thinking. The speed of the internet has it all coming at us quick and we’re developing these fast triggers responding to things before we have even had the time to think them through. Tavi Gevinson touches on this, and a bunch of other important ideas in her latest editors letter on Rookie.

  • Whatever you need to do to create that space for yourself, do it this year. Do it now. Fight the new pace of thinking designed to keep us in Facebook fights and make Facebook more money. Resist getting so wound up by every story that you accelerate off a cliff into apathy. Lengthen the circuit between a candid thought and your anticipation of how it will be received, a circuit constantly shrinking in fear. Try your ideas out with people you are not desperate to impress, so there’s less ego clouding your discussion.

I was super late to the party, but the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast is officially the funniest, stupid/dirtiest, most wonderfully British thing I have ever heard. For the uninitiated, three friends read aloud and discuss a series of erotic novels that one of their dads wrote. Few things have brought me more laughs in these dark times.

Alice Levine is one of the three friends and (for me) the star of the show. She also happens to be a food and “lifestyle” writer and along with business partner Laura Jackson works under the moniker Jackson & Levine. The two have hosted pop-up dinners, written for magazines, and designed a capsule collection for Habitat. They also published their first cookbook Round to Ours (great title!), which is super good-looking, if a little toothless. But you gotta love that bizzarro Pennsylvania Dutch cover!


Curious about the dining basics available through Year & Day. Simple, good-looking and (sort-of?) reasonably priced. I especially like the shape of their tumblers, which can be hard to make feel special. I was into the matte black flatware but it seems like hand washing is probably best for them and who wants to worry about spots.


Alicia Kennedy writing about loss and oysters is some peak food writing, in case you missed it back in November: The First Time I Ate an Oyster


Kim Severson covers Medieval times like only she could. It lead me to some truly bonkers reviews for Medieval Times.


We tried KP! Toffee (no idea what is going on with that exclamation point) on our last trip to Madison, Wisconsin. It might have been the best toffee I have ever eaten. I ended up ordering a bunch for holiday gifts. The milk chocolate is where it is at.

Milk Bread

Short and sweet: I found this milk bread (more on milk bread here) recipe online, and I love it. It is easy to make and super delicious (don’t be alarmed by the salt content, it is an important part of the pleasure). The recipe makes two loaves, but they freeze like a dream, so you should make both. Simply slice the loaf and wrap well, you can take out a slice or two when you want them and toast from frozen. Breakfast is sorted.  read more+++