Here in the Northeast, where our winters get frigidly cold and our summers are known to snap into the high 90s for days on end, I have a somewhat sinister theory about the weather, and that is that it’s mocking you. It’s waiting for you to snap and when you do, it has a hearty laugh at your expense. Bust out the ski jacket, 20-foot scarf and Gore-Tex accessories the first cold day in October? Snicker, snicker. Sink down in front of the a/c with a bag of ice on your forehead the first 90-degree, 100 percent humidity day in June? Imagine the sun’s Mr. Burns-ian cackle, muttering “excellent.”
May, 2007 Archive
I’ve baked more fruit crisps in the last few years than I could count on both my hands and all of your toes. And no matter which sweet thing has managed to find its way into my gaping maw between crisps, it’s damn near guaranteed that I’d have preferred that it had been some variety of baked fruit, in its countless incarnations. There’s been an apple-fresh cranberry, apple-raisin, apple-pear, peach, peach-blueberry, peach-raspberry, mixed berry and one day, hopefully very soon, there will be a mango and also a sour cherry.
As we often do at the end of a summery day, Alex and I had a barbecue last night. No, we haven’t moved out of our “penthouse,” nor have we figured out how to reappropriate our one square-foot fire escape landing as a deck, nor did we didn’t schlep out to Brooklyn where open spaces are less of an anomaly. Nope, we had it right inside our own apartment. Alex made a massive batch of “his” barbeque sauce, I made the baked beans, we slivered some cabbage and tossed it with coleslaw dressing, seared some chicken sausages from Whole Foods (that completely freaked me out because they had black beans, whole ones, inside–ew) and popped open a couple cold ones.
Like ten zillion other brides with mile-long registries, I received an ice-cream maker as a wedding shower gift two years ago, but when I finally busted it out last summer, I ended up really struggling to find good recipes. Why so much sugar in a cantaloupe sorbet? Isn’t it already sweet enough? Why should I add an equal part of water to watermelon puree? It’s a weak flavor to begin with, why dilute it so? Why do so many frozen yogurt recipes call for oddities like gelatin and milk? Can’t you just freeze yogurt? These questions nagged at me as I tried recipe after recipe, and save for a single strawberry sorbet that I still dream of late at night, each final product disappointed me in the exact ways that I predicted it would.
You know, it’s so easy to get in a rut. Invite some friends over, get what you need, hustle to have everything ready, as people arrive when they may either slightly over or undercooking certain things because it’s impossible to perfectly time, bring out a big platter or two of what-not, “ta-da!” it, dig in, eat and drink too much and well, then what? Is that all there is? It’s not the company but the routine threatens makes it less wild the eighth time around.
Just before I left for the airport Monday morning, I stopped short and ran back inside, not because I forgot my power cord or business cards or anything normal like that, but to make myself a turkey sandwich. My flight left late, of course, and by the time I had time to unwrap my semi-smooshed last bit of home-cooked anything, I was so hungry, I was ready to ask the 18-month-old next to me to share one of his drooled-upon teething biscuits. Proust may have had his madeleine and my husband may have his pickled green tomatoes, but I had that turkey sandwich and in the one bite I allowed myself before the drink cart finally brought me something to wash it down with, I had found a happiness I didn’t know could exist at the front end of a much-dreaded three day business trip to a nine-acre enclosed glass pod.
Today, I have failed you as a food blogger. I’m not proud. I cooked and cooked, we and our loved ones ate like kings, there was not a single recipe that shouldn’t be archived and returned to and yet, in the whirl of things we forgot to pick up the camera. (Hangs head in shame.) You get no photographic evidence of the shredded hash browns, chive biscuits, egregious amount of thick-cut maple-cured bacon, baked almond-orange French toast, insanely spicy bloody marys, plain yogurt I flavored myself with real vanilla and just a pinch of sugar. You’re just going to have to trust me that it was grand.