I woke up this morning with that itchy feeling I get when I’ve gone too long without writing. I have a writer friend who once told me that she didn’t feel right if she wasn’t writing regularly, that she woke up each morning needing to write, and until very recently, I didn’t really believe her, because it never felt that straightforward to me. (I also wanted, uh, just a little bit, to reach out and strangle her with my bare hands; she made writing sound so easy.) I never felt that kind of imperative to be a writer – or, really, to be anything in particular. Writing sneaked up on me. But now that I’ve been at it for a while, I sometimes get a sense, just the faintest nudge of a sense, of what my friend might have meant. I’m best when I’m writing, even if I sit down at my desk without a thing to say, with only that itch to go on.
I am coming off a spectacular run of cooking failures. I curdled a batch of chocolate pudding – and then fed it to my kid anyway, because two-year-olds don’t care if their “chockit put-TING!” has the texture of hummus. I also made a braised zucchini side-dish recipe that involved a whole stick of butter and was totally, totally not worth that stick of butter. (We smashed it to a paste, however, and used it as pasta sauce; that was tasty.) One morning, I drank half a cup of coffee too many and, while flailing around to my Guy Picciotto playlist on Spotify, made an obscure type of French cookie that, as it turns out, should remain obscure. I also made a tomato-rice soup that promised a flavor akin to stuffed tomatoes, and frankly, you know, next time, I’ll just make the stuffed tomatoes. Meanwhile, the dishwasher quietly died, and one side of the sink stopped draining well, and then, late one night, I rinsed the sludge from a one-pound can of salt-cured anchovies into that side of the sink, and my status as a genius was finally, once and for all, secured!
On the upside, Matthew and I taped a fennel episode of Spilled Milk, and in doing so, I was reminded of how good, and how easy, a shaved fennel salad is. I’ve made it twice since our taping. And on Wednesday night, less than 48 hours after Luisa posted it, I made Melissa Clark’s braised beans with bacon and wine, which is as good as Luisa promised. (I didn’t soak my beans, FYI.) June loves it, though I’m not sure if her opinion will mean anything to you anymore, now that I’ve told you about the chocolate pudding.
It often occurs to me that nothing is more satisfying than a well-made pot of beans. Except I should add that the other night, while the pot of beans was burbling away, doing its thing, I watched this wise snippet from Frances McDormand, and that was also satisfying in its way. And then I got out the sewing machine that Brandon bought me for Christmas – which I just learned how to use on Monday, thanks to a lesson with Keli of Drygoods Design – and sewed two doll-sized pillows and one mouse-sized reversible blanket from some fabric scraps. As my friend Andrea aptly observed, my quarter-life crisis is coming along well. I love Andrea.
Ah! I feel better already.
Have a great weekend, everybody. I’ll see you next week.
A nasty habit
I have many important things to tell you. 1. I’m doing a podcast! I intended to tell you about this a week ago, but there’s been an illness in my family, and I’ve been away, and it hasn’t been a lot of fun, so, you know, let’s talk about that podcast. It’s called Spilled Milk, and I co-host it with my friend Matthew Amster-Burton. Every time we record an episode, Matthew makes me laugh until I snort, cry, hyperventilate, and/or hoot like an owl, and I hope our show does the same for you. The first episode is on the topic of fried eggs, and you can listen or download it – free! – through the Spilled Milk website, or…Read more