Oh, hi, I am ready for summer now. What did I miss?
Because the first half of this summer was so busy — a manuscript due, a redesign set off into the world, a birthday, and a zillion other bits of happy work/life chaos — I’m in this funny position of looking up for the first time mid-July and realizing that no mysterious person has arrived while I was buried in winter recipe testing and font fine-tunings and filled my freezer with popsicles, put a bowl of heirloom tomatoes on the counter, ready for their caprese closeup [realistically, this doesn’t happen even if I had been paying attention, but let me enjoy this rose-colored Pinterest fantasy just the same] and beach? Hadn’t seen it since May. I have about seven weeks left to catch up, except I know at least five of those will be buried under recipe testing and book edits, which basically means it’s now or never to do all the summer things I haven’t yet. Read more »
There are parents that sew their kids’ clothes, carry them in an Ergo until kindergarten and take them to Disney World at least twice before they even reach 2nd grade, but if you don’t mind, please don’t tell my kids that such people are options, at, like, the Parent Store. I, in turn, will not tell yours that while I am decidedly none of the above types I insist upon making all our birthday cakes from scratch. It’s not completely
selfless though; clearly I love baking them, challenging myself to get maximum excitement from minimal amounts of efforts (i.e. one-bowl cakes, regular ingredients, no special pan sizes, no fondant and ftlog stay away from Pinterest, Deb, or you’re going to be elbows deep in food dye at 2am again) and I love coming up with new flavors for them, especially fun as our family birthdays fall in June, July, August and September, prime time for fresh ingredients. Read more »
9.85 years ago, I decided that I was going to start a home cooking blog and that I would design the site myself, which is hilarious because my HTML and CSS skill level is equivalent to that thing you do when you don’t know which circuit on the panel blew so you just flip them all up and down until the right thing comes back on. I made the logo in Microsoft Paint — I’m not even a little bit kidding — with a font I downloaded from a free font website, and that was until an hour ago the same file being used today. I’d expected this food blog thing to last maybe six months and instead I’m still here (hooray!) and this site, aside from some server changes and software upgrades, was still “coded” the way it was that first day in 2006. It was the design equivalent of these outfits. Font: tiny and terrible. Paragraphs: justified. Mobile responsiveness? 2006 doesn’t even know what these words mean.
But today is at last a new day. Here are a few things
we’ve a talented team of developers have changed or improved:
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For one week every spring the local Catholic church, an otherwise unassuming dot on the landscape of my suburb, turned their property into magical kingdom of lights, music, cotton candy and so many rides it was impossible to remember that all other weeks of the year it was just an empty field next to a parking lot. I was obsessed with this carnival… from afar. My parents, citing such horrifically dull things as having their children live long, healthy lives, questionable safety practices and clearly a focused interest in ruining everything, refused to let my sister and me go, even though my best friend, who went to school there and ostensibly had parents also invested in keeping her safe, got to go every night. Worst weeks, ever
. This story should end here but as we drove to my parents house last month and I saw the carnival all set up again, I realized two things: 1. I wasn’t remembering it with rose-colored glasses, it’s actually, objectively amazing
. 2. This miiiight
be the source of my ongoing obsessing with carnivals.Read more »
I’m currently in a swarm of many behind-the-scenes things that I genuinely couldn’t be happier about even if it would also be okay if they didn’t all fall in the next few weeks (the deadline on the next cookbook, the launch at-last-so-overdue-hooray site redesign, a hopefully very cool new project or two, the first birthday of this fiesty love
, all of the end of the year chaos that comes with a school-aged kid), that if there were a textbook definition of Bad Times To Take a Vacation, my June might be under it. Thank goodness I am not married to anyone burdened by such trivialities. Thus last weekend, when he surprised me with a birthday weekend away in Mexico City
, a place I’ve been telling him I wanting to go to for the better part of a decade, but briefly expressed concern that this wasn’t the “best” time to get away, I was like “SHUT UP WHICH AIRPORT I ALREADY CALLED AN UBER.” The more dramatic the mess, the more dramatic the escape hatch required, right?
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Did you know drinking buttermilk is a thing? I wasn’t aware until a few years ago when I took a baking class and remarked to the teacher that buttermilk is pretty amazing in baked goods for something that smells so rancid and he told me that his mother drinks a glass of it warm every afternoon. Like, by choice. I may have said something polite but as I didn’t get the nickname Deb No Poker Face Perelman for nothing, I doubt anyone missed how revolted I actually was. I have little doubt that I acted equally maturely in high school everyday when I friend of mine would get not a normal drink, like ice tea or lemonade with lunch, but strawberry milk. You know, the bright pink stuff that smelled like a melted Jolly Rancher. Why on earth would you drink strawberry milk if you could have chocolate milk? And yet, inevitably, here we are.
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Pasta salads get a bad rap but I find that the more I think of them as room temperature summer dishes and the less as mayo-slicked bowls of suspicion and dread, the more inviting
they become, not only for cookouts and picnics, but (ahem) a gorgeous Tuesday night.
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If you’ve been following Smitten Kitchen outside
this url recently, you might have noticed that a terrible, dangerous thing has happened: I revisited the epic, consummate even, chocolate chip cookies
from David Leite
via The New York Times
, mostly because I was tired of looking at the unpalatably blueberry-ish photo of them atop the 2008 post, and eight years later, in basically the rom-com of cookie sagas, realized the thing I wanted most in a chocolate chip cookie was was there the whole time.
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Last week, because we are edgy, rebellious and pretty much the dictionary definition of renegades, we broke the law. We decided we’d had enough of having an outdoor space and no fire-breathing apparatus to exercise our American-given right to burn food on in the summer months and brought home the tiniest, safest and most docile grill
ever manufactured, basically the fluffy kitten of the barbecue landscape. As I figure we’re going to be asked to remove it any moment now, all of my previous summer goals have be redirected to the following: enjoying every second of it while it lasts. We are going to grill everything
. I am halfway to fulfilling my fantasy of setting all my food on fire
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If you needed another reason to add to the list of why you’d probably never want to be cornered at a party with me, I should tell you I’m more than a normal level of fascinated by the intersection of tomatoes and cucumbers in salads around the world. And I want to talk about it.
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