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Monday, March 28, 2016

Old Holiday, New Treat

Early in my blogging infancy, I discovered a blog called Orangette, written by a woman named Molly Wizenberg.  Her blog features food and life, and how the two intersect and I love, love, love her writing style. Shortly after I found her, Molly published a book called A Homemade Life, which I promptly pre-ordered and which happens to be my current re-read.  In the book, she intersperses evocative essays relating to events in her life, followed by a recipe or two connected to the story. What more can I say except the woman writes from her heart, and in doing so, she reaches out to mine…along with, well, my tummy. 

Molly reminds me that I cook not only for the pleasure it gives me, but because beloved recipes connect me with the people and times I can no longer touch.  It's as if, through food, I can almost taste my way back.  I carried that theme forward this weekend when I made my Grandmother’s recipe for double-boiler scrambled eggs, as I do on Easter Sunday every year.  When I sat down for a plate of luxurious, soft scrambled eggs, for a moment I was present again at a mahogany dining table surrounded by my five siblings and my parents, with my grandmother reigning at the head. Later in the day, I roasted sweet potatoes to mash as a side to the pork tenderloin I served for dinner. That conjured up my late father-in-law, describing how when he was a kid, the street vendors in New Jersey sold hot, roasted sweet potatoes from a cart, and how he ate them as a snack. 
Then, there was the lemon cake.   

It was a strange Easter for us.  Our daughter is away.  Our next door relatives were elsewhere too, and the rest of our extended family went off in different directions, so at our house Easter dinner ended up including my husband, his mother and me.  A table set for three felt strange to all of us, and I suppose I wanted to do something to make the day more special for my mother-in-law.  Her mother, who was probably one of the kindest people ever born, made a lemon cake that is legendary in the family…but, for whatever reason, I don’t have the recipe.  Now though, I have Molly Wizenberg’s, which I served with a coulis I made with blueberries I picked last summer and froze.  That one dessert rocketed me back to the deep-set  eyes of Grandma Rogers, as well as the hot day last July when I stood on the shady side of the bushes. There were so many berries, I picked until my bucket, slung around my neck with a rope, hung heavy from my shoulders.. But the best part was this.  When I served the plate of lemon cake, my eighty-three-year-old mother-in-law took a bite and said, "This is delicious.  This makes me think of my mother.  She used to make a good lemon cake."

The combination of memory and food was entirely yummy, and let’s just say the dessert fed all of our hearts. Thanks to Molly, I’m pretty sure I just served up a new Easter tradition.

I’m not sure of the etiquette or (legality) of posting a recipe from Molly’s book here, but it seems others aren’t worried.  If you want to make her French-style YogurtCake with Lemon, here’s a link.  In addition, you can find the  coulis recipe here. For some reason the coulis page takes a long time to load...so if you have problems, cut and paste the address into your browser. http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/blueberry-coulis

Monday, March 21, 2016

Glass Half Full

Late snow weaves white cloth
Hearty daffodils poke through
Sewing us to spring

Monday, March 14, 2016

Time Travel

Where was I last week?  It’s a long story…a sixteen-hour car ride story, but I’ll condense it.  We took a road trip to Charleston, SC for, well, I’ll call it family business. Mission accomplished, we put on our rally caps and did what three self-respecting tourists with less than twenty-four waking-hours together in a city must do.  We visited an island, took a carriage ride, walked through the market, strolled the waterfront, stopped for a drink, went out to dinner, and toured a plantation before two out of the three of us flew home.  Out of all of that, this is my favorite picture…the view from an original 1740 window of Drayton Hall, a “stabilized” (not renovated) plantation on the Ashley River.  

Less than a week later, I can assure you that sixteen hours in a compact car is entirely too long, but twenty-four hours in Charleston is way to short. The good (?) news?  We’ll be doing at least one, but likely two, return trips.

Can anyone explain to me why shrimp and grits never made it north of Virginia? I feel cheated.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


It's IWSG Day! This is a blog hop where writers write about writing.  We're here to help each other, support each other and to provide an online community.  Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for creating this group and if you are interested in reading more posts you can find a list of participants by clicking here.  
I finally, finally, finished my first draft of my current project.  Now I'm in edit mode. Reading a printed copy works better for me during this round rather than editing on the screen, and true to the saying, "all first drafts are awful," most of mine looks like this.  I'd like to say I'm powering through the edits, but other life-distractions are holding things up some. Once I get through these changes and into a resting phase, I'm toying with going back to the manuscript I've been submitting for the last year.  Apparently, I have a good query letter, because there's been some nice response, but it's all rejection or dead silence once I submit a full or partial.  But, I've been, well, judicious about sending it out,  and since I haven't given it a good look for over a year, I'm thinking perhaps there's some tweaking to be done, before giving it another try out there in the world.  I worked so hard on that one, it makes me sick to think it may end up in the proverbial drawer.

And so, on I go.  How about you?