Special/Limited Edition Oreo Flavors Ranked from Favorite to Least Favorite As of July 2017*

 

 

  • Marshmallow Crispy (Perfection)
  • Yellow Birthday Cake
  • Cinnamon Bun
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Mocha (These taste exactly like those sugar wafer cookies that come in packages of Strawberry/Vanilla/Chocolate)
  • Choco Chip
  • Peeps
  • Fruity Crisp
  • Waffles and Syrup (Impressive flavor engineering!)
  • Coconut Thins
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Red Velvet
  • Salted Caramel Thins
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Jelly Donut (I am still confused by this one—it doesn’t taste like jelly or a donut)
  • Blueberry Pie (Fruit flavors are always the least successful)
  • Firework (This is so low on list mostly because it was such a dumb idea)
  • Caramel Apple (Is there anything worse than artificial apple flavor?)
  • Swedish Fish (Absolutely vile)

 

*I know some are missing, these are just the ones I tried and can remember. Who can keep up?!

Galena and Mineral Point

We don’t have the dough for a big vacation this summer, so we’re spending time doing what we love: exploring the Midwest.

We just got back from a long weekend in Galena, Illinois and Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Both towns are in the Driftless region of the Midwest, an area (primarily Wisconsin, though it also includes a bit of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota) that is known for its natural beauty and unique topography. The landscape  is a result of it having been untouched by glaciers when they were last moving over much of the rest of the region. The material (silt, sand, gravel, boulders) that glaciers leave behind is called drift, so the region is driftless.

Despite having spent almost all of my life in the Midwest, I had never been to this particular corner of it and was overwhelmed by how beautiful it is. A rolling agrarian landscape dotted with farmhouses and cows and sheep. Ridges and river valleys. It reminded me of central England, and at times even of Iceland.

We started our adventure in Galena, a 19th century (former) port town that has been beautifully preserved. At one time the Galena surpassed Chicago in population and importance, but now the river that once brought steamboats and trade to Galena is reduced to a stream. The former glory of the city is evident everywhere, and in fact the town seems to be experiencing a bit of a new kind of glory. The charming curved main street that followed the form of the river has now been turned over to tourists, which means it is mostly fudge shops and places that sell flavored olive oil or hand-painted signs that say “Live, Laugh, Love” or something. Businesses seem to be booming judging from the lack of vacant storefronts on main street. I might not go to Galena for the shopping, but the beauty of its natural landscape and well-preserved architecture has me eager to return.

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Bowls

Now feels like an awkward time to publish a cookbook on grain bowls. They’d become a joke in our house a while back and even lamestream food media seems to have recognized that they are over-hyped, at least as a trend. As a way of eating they remain wonderful and essential. But add them to the pile of faded cultural moments along with small plates (or maybe just having small plates explained to you at excruciating length?), “everything is better with bacon” (No, it’s not.), cupcakes, and prohibition-era cocktails. But from the trash heap of food frenzy we get to salvage the remains of what we like and incorporate them into our lives.

So maybe I am wrong and it is a good time for one more book of bowls. This one, Bowls of Plenty: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole Grain Meals, is from Carolynn Carreño, one of my favorite cookbook coauthors, who is finally venturing out on her own. I know her mostly as the woman who collaborates on Nancy Silverton’s wonderful books, though her resume is long. She’s also proven herself to be a great internet pal, and she kindly sent me a copy of the book.

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Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 2016

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Julianne Ahn makes some of my favorite ceramics at Object & Totem. She has quite a following, so things go fast. But they are worth waiting for.

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Okay, okay, this is a major splurge. But after years of being curious about linen sheets my friend Grace convinced me they were worth the money. She was right. We’ve become linen converts. I find myself talking about them way more than I should. The only problem is, they’re fucking expensive. But Bryan and I had been sleeping on the same cheap cotton sheets for most of our decade-long relationship so we felt like we could justify the upgrade (I am The King of justifying upgrades). We now have a set from West Elm that we got on sale and some from Parachute. I especially love the off-black (coal, as they call it) from Parachute–it is just such a great 90’s goth color. We like them because they are cool (we both run hot) and yet have a comforting weight to them. Hard to explain, but delightful.

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We Are Everywhere. For real.

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DS & Durga have made it to this guide before, and I can never get enough of their everything. They recently released a line of pocket perfumes. Oil-based roll-ons that you can easily transport. They even come in the perfect felt sleeve. And as always, the graphic design on these is A+. Spirit Lamp is based on a favorite candle of theirs, described as:

  • Tea service at the colonial parlor of Mme. Revere, topless psychic.
    Hot silver heated by open flame. Bohea vapours, radiant heat, milk.

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These beautiful little match holders are from Evanston-based artist Julia Finlayson’s Grandmontstreet Ceramics. Each perfect little vessel holds a handful of matches and is ribbed for striking. They’re available at one of my favorite Chicago shops, Asrai Garden (who recently launched their very own web shop!).

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Pillows! This pillow is great, but so is everything from Banquet Atelier and Workshop in Vancouver. I am pretty obsessed with their textile patterns and a lot of my domestic fantasies revolve around curtains for our dining room in one of their rad fabrics. read more+++

Here

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We were in Iceland for the last two weeks of May. It was the fastest I have ever fallen in love with a place. From the moment my lungs first filled with Iceland’s sea air that smelled like the earth and tasted better than anything I have ever eaten, I knew I was in love. We were explorers. We found glaciers, sea birds, volcanoes, seals, and so many waterfalls that at a certain point we no longer pointed them out to each other. We took waterfalls for granted. Iceland focuses your attention on our earth. It is hard to think about anything else. It is so big, and makes you feel so small. You are confronted with a land that didn’t have to endure humans until very recently. I thought a lot about death, but not in a morbid way. I mostly wondered why the earth isn’t enough. Why do we have to imagine heaven when it is enough for me to know that I will dissolve into a rock, a tree, an arctic tern. I am forever. I thought a lot about entering the earth, communing—sliding into the crevasse of a glacier, burrowing into ash, letting moss grow over me. Iceland does this to you, if you are doing it right. Even in Reykjavik, metropolis of 120,000 people, spring water falls from the faucet in your smartly designed hotel room. The puffin still appears. The lamb you saw grazing on a hill is served on a plate and tastes of the land you explored. It is easy to access the pleasures of Earth in Iceland. It was all we had to do.

We flew back home after Memorial Day weekend to news that everyone in Chicago had been shot. At least it felt that way, though we all know that it isn’t white people being shot in Chicago. Chicago, my troubled homeland, felt like a particularly difficult place to be. We sat in traffic. We read depressing political news. The streets smelled like garbage and car exhaust. I struggled to drink the water coming out of our tap because now it just tastes like chlorine. Bryan and I were short with each other and easily frustrated. It was an acute version of the post-vacation blues, but also something more. read more+++

Rose Petal Harissa

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There are recipes for certain things that I will always try—coffee cakes, for instance. If you write a recipe that has coffee and cake in the title it is likely I will make your recipe. Scones and shortbread cookies are also on this list. My list is mostly sweets. But hot sauces claim a spot. Hot sauces are great because they are easy to share, so if you make too much you can give it to a friend. They also keep well so they can improve your everyday eating for weeks or months.

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Even within the category of spicy sauces, harissa holds a particular allure. I have 3 or 4 recipes that I really love and all approach the task from fairly disparate directions. I am particularly fond of this recipe from one of the most charming cookbooks of 2014, A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus.  Renee Erickson’s recipe requires some ingredients that you will likely have to seek out, and some time. But you are rewarded with jars of a stellar harissa to share or hoard. Now if the perfect time to make this recipe because it will last much of the summer and spices up any vegetable you might be grilling or egg you might be scrambling. It isn’t much work, mostly measuring and blending, but manages to satisfy.

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Fuck Lemon Zest

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Sometimes, while wandering around the internet looking for recipes, I will read the comments. A consistent, and deeply troubling, theme over the last decade is well represented by the following comments:

  • -Do you think lemon zest would brighten this up?
  • -Added lemon zest to these and they are even more yummers!
  • -These needed a little something so I added the zest of 7 lemons, LOVE the recipe!

What the fuck is wrong with everyone?

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Racine, Wisconsin

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We accidentally ended up in Racine, Wisconsin at the same time as Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. We realized when we saw a copy of the local paper at a bakery stop on our way into town. Oh, look, Trump is going to be here. Today. What. We’d made the trek to Racine for the most noble of travel reasons, to eat kringle.

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Kringle is the state pastry of Wisconsin. Did you know that states had pastries? Some do. Illinois’ is the Pumpkin Pie. Maryland’s is the Smith Island cake. (This is a cookbook waiting to be authored.) Kringles are originally from Scandinavia, but through the Wisconsin lens they became these giant rings of danish pastry that are filled with something sweet and typically topped with a glaze. Racine claims the title of kringle capital of Wisconsin. I happen to love both Wisconsin and pastries. But our innocent visit to our northern neighbors (Kringle Krawl 2016 is how we christened it) was suddenly under the dark (orange?) cloud that is Trump. We were all a little tense. Would there be traffic? Would kringles be sold out? Would all of this end in national controversy? read more+++

Panettone$

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I am currently living like the one percent.

Usually I dismiss $65 jars of honey or spice blends when I see them written up in publications. I am naturally skeptical and also aware of the PR machine that drives most food journalism these days, so I assume the products are bullshit. Except for when I don’t. Like when I pay $50 (DOES. NOT. INCLUDE. SHIPPING.) for a panettone because Charlotte Druckman told me to. Druckman appreciates a good pastry more than most people and her NY Times article convinced me this was an important financial investment. Also, I was able to use the excuse of Valentine’s Day to justify this as a gift to myself (and Bryan, I guess). read more+++

Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 2015

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These Ceramics! I have been a little bit obsessed with Cécile Daladier’s ceramics for a few years now. They are truly weird and wonderful and designed with flowers in mind. They have been sort of difficult to obtain (you used to have to email the studio and it involved a lot of back and forth) but a couple of stores (here and here) in the states seem to be stocking them more regularly now. Daladier is truly my dream ceramicist. If anyone is looking for a gift for me, send me ALL of these. (Bonus: her studio!)

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This sweatshirt! Because the future is female, and a percentage of the profits from the sale of this shirt will benefit Planned Parenthood.

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This watch! I have always worn, more or less, a version of this watch. For years it was a Swatch, until I found this Casio beauty at Tortoise. The watch was inexpensive at Tortoise, but is dirt cheap in other spots making this the Best Watch Ever. It is also a good size for a wide variety of wrists, so really it would be good for almost anyone.

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This Boob Rug! This has made the rounds on the internet, but I couldn’t resist including it because it was definitely one of my favorite purchases of 2015. What you maybe can’t tell from photos is that the rug itself has a really beautiful quality—plush.

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This Trivet Set! Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful objects I have come across in a long time, and it cost me all of $10. Maybe the most exciting purchase of 2015.

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This Aesop Stuff! I can’t really afford these beauty products, so I feel a bit conflicted about including them—I had a gift card. But holy hell, I love this stuff. The Fabulous Face Cleanser is the best smelling thing ever. I look forward to washing my face every morning. The packaging is too good. I get it, Aesop, I get it. So, maybe take this as a reminder that sometimes it is fun to treat yourself to something completely unnecessary (and hope for a gift card!). read more+++