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So I Guess I'm A Pastry Cook - Plus a Big Giveaway

I know. I know. It's been so long since I've blogged that you're thinking, "What, she's just going to get a new job and drop off the face of the planet?" Well, evidently. And yet I haven't even started the new job. I've got a training start-date (July 13th). I've said goodbye to all my weekends for the foreseeable future. I've broken a life-long promise to myself to never ever wear Crocs or shapeless pants. And to think I used to be a style-blogger. But I am no style blogger, am I? I'm a food writer, friend, gelato-hound, and not-very-funny comedienne....a recipe developer...a pastry apprentice?

Sour Cherry Cake

 "Make a choice. Take a step. Make a choice. Take a step. It's a rhythm of life. You may not get your answer until you make the choice and take the step."
- Hannah Brencher, Come Matter Here
I have written and re-written the body of this post several times. Thing is, as much as I intended to wonder about why we no longer swap recipes with each other (okay, outside of the food-blogging world), what wants to come out is something different. What wants to come out is a confession. So I'm going to confess it to you guys here, in hopes that if you're feeling something similar, you'll realize you're not the only one. Here it goes:

I'm really scared of succeeding.

Peach And Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

So here's the deal: I never count myself as a country girl. I didn't take horseback riding lessons or want a horse. I didn't date a farmer. I didn't (and don't) speak with a twang. But I definitely appreciate the fact that though it doesn't often make it onto the application, a portion of my professional resume involves helping to spearhead a baking, produce, and cut-flowers farm operation. I don't know why I appreciate it so much. I don't know. It's just cool to have lived an alternate life as a farmer, landscaper, house-builder, whatever (yes, I spent time as all these things during high school). For a whole year our lives were spent taking weeds off things and bugs off things and - when the weeds and bugs didn't prevail - taking vegetables off things. Listen: when you organically farm on a budget, there are no cool microorganisms you're ordering to do the weed-chopping and bug-pulling for you. It's pure manpower, babes. Man-power and fish emulsion.

Spice-Roasted Vegetables With Chermoula

Back in the day, I would never have agreed to fix a totally vegetarian/vegan meal for dinner. In my mind, "vegetarian" and "vegan" were ways you ate when normal food failed you, or you were allergic to basically everything on this planet except vegetables. I've always loved vegetables as the side-kick, but for too long I gave them very little title notice. Vegetables were the Debbie Reynolds-as-a-Coconut-Grove-girl from Singing in the Rain: cute, but nothing to put alongside the Gene Kellys of the dinner table.

Europe's Bread-Basket: The Romanian Food I Still Crave

little baby Rachel in Arad, Romania, circa 2013. how has it been this long???

"For we have been there in the books and out of the books - and where we go, if we are any good, there you can go as we have been." -Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa
It seems like not that long ago since I wrote about "backward travel" and the strength of being able to see your hometown like you'd see an exotic destination. I still believe those things, but a month of watching friends and family travel Europe, seeing other friends go on-mission to Africa and Romania, seeing favorite bloggers touring Paris together...it's so difficult to be home! All those movies like Mamma Mia and books like Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa are reminding me that places as beautiful as Greece and Kenya exist. It's like all these things have conspired to turn me into one big mass of "I miss the big, wide world."
"Today was shaorma day! We found a corner place in downtown Bucarest and got the fulfillment of our dreams of two years back and had amazing shaorma. He double-wrapped in plastic bags my shaorma and then paper and still it leaked all the lovely juices onto the table and all over my hands but it was delightful. Shaorma. Mmm."