When The Professor and I spend an entire day in the kitchen testing recipes or doing what we call ‘batch cooking’ where we make dishes ahead, we play a game called ‘Kitchen Jenga’ – or ‘how high can we pile dishes in the drainer before one of us pulls out a single piece and everything comes tumbling down.’ And that ‘someone’ is usually me.
Januarys can be rather dull; while September ushers in bushels of apples, cider and doughnuts, October pays homage to the pumpkin. November we plan menus around family and turkeys (albeit there are times when one cannot make a distinction between the two) and December conversations center around words like: ho-ho-ho, hanukkah, cookie, celebration, party, gifts and cocktails among others. And after the letdown of ‘Happy New Year’ on January 1st . . . well . . . January can be rather dull.
‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’ croons Johnny Mathis on a classic holiday tune now blaring from my speakers. I’ve thought about that line quite a bit these past couple of holiday seasons wondering exactly who is having a good time? No, this isn’t going to be Negative Nellie post but seriously, I know I’m in good company when I say that by the time the calendar says November, it’s a dead run until the end of the year.
For more years than I care to admit, I’ve carried yellowing, smudged, brittle and torn recipe pages up and down the West coast, then to the Midwest – always tucked inside a bulging 3-ring recipe binder that is home to hundreds of other recipes I’ve collected over the years. Like old, worn, favorite toys scattered about in a child’s room, these recipes have been ripped from newspapers and magazines, scribbled on scraps and bits of paper, napkins, the backs of envelopes and, during those times I was organized, real recipe cards. Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic, I plop that 3-ring binder on the dining room table and pour over these old recipes until I find one that fits my mood as well as the occasion.
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Musical pairing – Draw the Line by David Gray
It seemed like a good idea at the time. My first foray into gardening was embraced with both enthusiasm and determination – everyone knows that one must first scope out the space, then plot and mark the area, shovel, rake, hoe and amend the soil with compost and know, without a doubt, that you’ll be pulling weeds for the season.
Waffles were a big deal at the little house on Ankeny Street; my mother had a large waffle baker that had a long black ‘fabric-type’ of cord with little gold threads running through it. She would make one very large waffle or 4 individual pieces could be torn apart and shared; butter, jam or maple syrup was passed around the table and we were convinced we were the luckiest kids on the street.
Alice Currah is one of those people that makes you happy just being around her; energetic, smart with a deep love for her family, Alice is a real people person, an extrovert in the business of putting everyone around her at ease. She is the publisher of the fabulous Savory Sweet Life where she shares her favorite family recipes as well as small snippets of life with her husband and adorable children.
I met Grace via Twitter long before we actually met in person; eager to share, to assist, to help in any way, Grace is one of those people you want for your neighbor. And not just because of her genuine kindness but also because Grace is a master when it comes to making jaw-dropping Italian desserts.
Sometimes you just gotta put your head down and move forward. I have danced around this post for the last two months wishing that I, that my family, wouldn’t have to face this day. But today is here and rather than spend it in bed with ivory-colored, 100 percent, 600-thread count cotton sheets pulled up over my head, I am going to celebrate Alice’s birthday with the same tenacity in which she lived her life.
When The Professor and I received an invite to become a ‘Sabra Tastemaker’ I wasn’t quite sure what being a Tastemaker entailed. We were already buying Sabra hummus on a regular basis and in fact, The Professor takes a scoop with some fresh veggies to campus for lunch nearly every day of the week. We’ve also made our own hummus at home using canned chickpeas, tahini, a bit of garlic and a squeeze of lemon – but are The Professor and I ‘tastemaker’ material?
Ten minutes to empty my head, empty my thoughts, pen-to-paper without stopping. No editing, no looking back – only moving forward. Wouldn’t it be great if we could live life this way? If I could live my life this way? Only moving forward, never looking back to edit, cross through, scribble out or rewrite the journey so it flows better, makes more sense, looks perfect?