It was a 87 perfect degrees in New York City today and I spied an actual pumpkin at the farmers market. I love this time of year, when you expect it to feel like fall but it decidedly does not; it’s like Bonus Summer: cool enough to bust out cardigans at night but warm enough it feels too soon to audition any of the heavier dishes to come this winter. I’ve been gushing over what Sam Sifton called “valedictory meals” in The New York Times Sunday Magazine — “fall dinners pretending to be summer ones” — and I imagine that wedges of focaccia baked with a grape you can only find this time of year, a roasted tomato salad, many formats of cheese and a lush glass of pink wine would nicely fit the bill.
I had a shaved raw asparagus salad last month for the first time and was fascinated by it. It was tossed and tangled with olive oil, salt, pepper and a gratuitous amount of Parmesan cheese and while all of these things were wonderful, I felt they only interrupted the deliciousness that was the raw asparagus. I decided immediately that I had to make a pizza out of it, where the asparagus could be as uncluttered as possible.
I know this is the kind of stuff that makes people without children roll their eyes, or at least would have made me roll my eyes anytime prior to eight months ago, but seriously, nothing, nothing makes you a more productive person than having a baby. How else will you learn all of the things you can do in the two minutes he is occupied with a toy and may not see his other favorite possession, Mama’s Undivided Attention, sneaking off, stage left? Hit the loo! Get a glass of water! Put hair in ponytail! Balance your checkbook! Solve the Greek financial crisis.
My son’s favorite game in the whole world is Let’s Play With The Other Baby! You Know, The One We Keep In The Mirror. We bring him over to this giant mirror in the hallway and he goes berserk, he paws at the “other” baby, kicks his legs, squeals and laughs. It cracks us up too. Babies: they’re so cute when they’re kinda confused!
A while back, knowing my love of any and all baked goods with awesome names, a reader tipped me off to something called monkey bread which turns out to be one of those doughy delights people have either known about their entire lives and cannot believe I have been deprived of or are 54 words into this post and still have no idea what I’m talking about. Don’t worry, prior to that, I’d been in the latter category too.