Strawberry Vanilla Bean Iced Latte

Happy Wednesday to those who celebrate, by which I mean happy Wednesday to all of us. Life doesn't seem to give one much of a choice about whether to participate in Wednesdays or not, but here we are. In my analog life, I work as a nanny. The child with whom I spend fifty+ hours a week is never happier than when being outside. She is two and a half now - I began work with this particular family when she was only seven weeks old. Wild to think how much time has passed, and what a big person she has become. I've kept her alive and well, and that's really something, considering she still tries to eat handfuls of gravel for no apparent reason.

Life Itself Is The Proper Binge

an old gouache illustration I recently found in my sketchbook

Most people love Julia Child because of her contributions to the American culinary scene. Those of you who know Julia's work probably think of her cookbooks, her cooking show, or Meryl Streep's portrayal of her in Julie & Julia. Those who just know her via pop culture can probably conjure vague images of fluffy brown curls, a pearl necklace, a strange voice, and maybe that one SNL skit.
Yes, this tall, Amazonian woman with the reedy voice dragged Americans from their mid-century frozen dinners into the realm of classical French cooking. Her recipes are delightful, her cookbooks still very much in print, and her show streamable on several platforms. There are even a couple biopics and documentaries, the latest being “Julia” on HBO Max.
But really, her cooking and writing isn’t the reason Julia Child holds a top seat on my list of Women Who Inspire. In fact, I am the insufferable person who stands on the fringe of any casual conversation about Julia Child with a comment ready to hand: “Yes, but did you know Julia and Paul Child were in the Secret Service?”

To Roast A Chicken: Peace Work

The world is in an uproar. My eyes are fixed on Ukraine, as are everybody's right now, and I confess I find it a bit hard to do normal things in the normal way and act like there isn't a horrible thing going on across the world. And yet, we still must eat. We must make for ourselves and those close to us the foods we wish we could make for the poor families standing frozen at the country's borders or the brave fighters under siege in Kiev. In days when we are reminded once again that we live in a broken world much in need of redemption, food helps.

Familiar, almost ritualistic foods are the best sort for comfort in times like these. When I think of comfort food, I think of a roasted chicken. There's just something about the slow, methodical process that calms the nerves. I recently wrote a piece on this subject and submitted it to an online magazine, but it was declined. Honestly, that's okay. Because the piece feels right for today, and I'm content to share it here and hope that you will roast a chicken for yourself, or a neighbor, or a friend who is worried about family back in Europe. The point of this piece is less a recipe and more a pep-talk to assure you that you can (and shall!) roast an entire chicken without any fear or apprehension about the process. I hope that you will enjoy it, and that you will be well.

We can't do a lot, but what little we can, I hope we will do bravely.

Begin with a simple thing, and continue creating pools of light and peace where you stand. It all matters more than you realize.

a beautiful example of Petrykivka folk art, from Ukraine

A List of Cozy Things

Today in Virginia we have snow.

That is not exactly accurate.

Today in Virginia we have cold air and the hope of snow. Projections are changing constantly: will we get ten inches? Four inches? No inches? Last night's snow never really came, at least not like it meant it. The only thing currently snow-covered are our car windshields. We haven't moved the cars because we are off work because of the snow. Which, as we've established before, isn't here yet. But of course I'm not complaining. Andrew, who is from Buffalo, is lifetime-tired of snow and doesn't understand our Southern excitement, nor why we'd close down the entire city before snow which might not happen. But Andrew does love a good day off of work, so he is also uncomplaining. Today's post isn't going to be a recipe, really. I'll link to lots of recipes, things we've been cooking or hope to cook soon, along with other things that have caught my attention since last writing. Let's call this "A List of Cozy Things" and get going!

The New Year and Sushi Bowls

a recent wedding cake

Happy New Year 2022! 

I look forward to the fresh start that January brings and have been enjoying the first few days of it.

Maybe what we like about January isn't the fresh start as much as the total lack of expectations that you will be doing anything social or indeed even leave your house (post-workday) after two months of having nothing but social engagements and being out of the house. You finally have time to tidy, and maintain the tidiness.

Reflecting on things now, I don't think that I folded a single load of clean laundry in the month of December. I washed and dried laundry, of course, I just never folded it. We could blame this on the fact that I was sick, or we could be honest and blame it on the fact that I loathe nothing quite so much as stopping to fold and put away clean laundry. Seems rude that laundry isn't content to be washed and dried and clean; it must also be pandered to. Bit too much for me, that. I am content (during times of Busy Schedules) to pluck what I want to wear from the ever-more-wrinkled stash in the laundry baskets and move on with my life. Frankly, I never give the clean laundry a second thought apart from the five minutes I am picking through the hamper, absolutely positive that my pink sweatshirt was here yesterday morning, or casting about for a fluffy, fresh towel when it's showering time. Possibly the TikTok therapists would tell me I have issues with object permanence. Possibly they would be correct.