I’ve been wanting to put up a new post for ten days, but I haven’t, because I don’t have a recipe to share. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying, watching the clock do its tick tock tick tock thing, and feeling pretty terrible about it. If you have a blog, you will know what I mean: this stuff is fun, but it comes with a lot of pressure. For a long time – six years on July 29th – this blog has been about stories and recipes, and it always will be. Always. But somewhere along the line, I now realize, writing about stories and recipes began to feel like a rule, like all I was allowed to do. I came to believe that if I didn’t have a recipe, I had no story, and that meant I had nothing to post about. That was fine, and it felt neat and tidy and well defined, and it worked for me for a while. But it was a very arbitrary, inflexible way to think about what I do, and what I care about, and what I want to share with you. I don’t want to think that way anymore.

I’m interested in keeping it real here, and to that end, I should say that since we opened the restaurant, I don’t cook at home as much as I used to. Brandon and I used to cook almost every night, and now that he’s at the restaurant five nights a week, and now that the restaurant is a big part of our everyday, it’s different. When I cook, I make very simple food, dishes that sometimes hardly count as cooking, and many nights of the week, I go to Delancey, so that I can eat with him. I’ve been beating myself up about that, wondering why I got so lazy and when I’m going to go back to being the old, better me. But I’m starting to get it now. The past year has been crazy. Like, completely and totally nutso. Everything is different. Opening a restaurant took every bit of guts and sweat we had, and even some that we didn’t have, and though I am able to say now that I love it, it has changed our lives in every way. Nothing looks the same as it did a year ago, or two years ago, or six years ago, when I started writing here. I don’t know why, then, I expected my relationship to cooking – or to this blog, or to anything else – to stay the same. I love what we do now, and I wouldn’t take back a minute of it. I love what we’re learning, and what we’re creating, and what we’re becoming. Food is at the center of it, the same as always. We’re just looking at it from a different angle, and I’m only beginning to understand how to think and write and tell you about that.

Most of all, I just want to be here more often. That’s what I’m trying to say. I want to be in this space – you, me, looking at pictures, shooting the breeze, swapping ideas, the way we do – whether I have a recipe up my sleeve or not. And I’m starting today. Shazam! Done.

For instance, I might want to tell you about the Viking Drive-In, in Sprague, Washington, where the sign says they sell BURGERS & SANDS and fingersteaks, whatever those are, and the milkshakes are top-notch.

There is a gumball machine near the front door, and in it are fake tattoos. You might get a blue wildcat, for instance, as my friend Sam did, or a shooting star, as I did, and it might stay on your arm for five whole days, weathering even the most vigorous scrubbing, causing some people to think, horror of horrors, that you actually shelled out hard-earned money for a sparkly gold shooting star tattoo. Also: the fake mustaches in the next machine over will make your nose itch. Be warned. The milkshakes are worth it, though. If you find yourself on I-90, maybe on the way to Spokane for a friend’s wedding on a Saturday in late June, listening to a killer Bruce Springsteen track, remember: Viking Drive-In.

Or, hey, we could talk about my favorite bartender! Andrew Bohrer is a genius. And the Mistral Kitchen happy hour is a deal. Tell Andrew what you like, and let him go crazy. It’ll be even better than a milkshake.

Or I might just want to show you a picture. Maybe one of the woman who, a little over five years ago, told the man who is now my husband that he should read this very blog, and who is thus responsible for the fact that we ever met, and who now lives in Seattle, and whom I am happy to call a friend. Shazam! Just like that.

See you in a couple of days.