Cooking For Sig

A Sous Chef and Her Stories


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For the Birds

jerkTonight, Matt and I are eating jerk chicken for dinner, which I’ve been making for years. I used to cheat and use a bottled sauce, but ever since I discovered the glories of homemade jerk, I will never go back. Habanero, fresh ginger, garlic, and scallions. The house smells like the Caribbean and the warm September weather has me tricked into believing that summer has just begun. Continue reading

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The Secret of Life

Today for lunch I was introduced to The Tombs, a Georgetown University institution. Set belowstairs, just blocks off of campus, and covered with old rowing memorabilia, it’s the type of place you go for a hearty pub lunch during the day and a cheap draft at night. On this particular day, the Director of Student Health was sitting at the bar and a pair of undergraduates were at the table next to us. There’s a fireplace and decent food, thanks to a kitchen shared with the legendary, upscale dining establishment, 1789. We joked over our burgers and pulled pork, that The Tombs is where all the tweed clad diners at 1789 ate forty years before. At night, the Tombs becomes that place where everyone has three too many and stumbles home to campus in a blur with new friends, whose name no one remembers in the morning. Or so I’ve been told. Continue reading


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The Proverbial Chicken Soup

soupTonight I am returning to routine, preparing to wake up to an alarm, and trying to remember how to survive a 9 hour workday. It was a beautiful last day of funemployment in Washington. Fifty-five degrees when I went for my morning run. It warmed into the low seventies, with a light breeze, and full sun. I opened our windows and the music and buzz of conversation from the annual neighborhood street festival drifted in. It felt like fall and a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup struck me as the perfect back to school dinner. Continue reading


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New Jobs, Old Friends, and Baked Oatmeal

Since Monday, I’ve been promising Matt that I would make him a big batch of oatmeal so that he has something in the house for breakfast besides toast. But here it is, Thursday, and Matt ate a bowl of spaghetti bolognese before heading to work because I still hadn’t manged to boil a pot of water with oats.

This is my week off between jobs, so one might wonder why I haven’t managed to accomplish something so simple. The short answer is that I’ve gone on a home and self improvement tear. I am laying the groundwork for a truly fresh start at my new job on Monday. I bought new clothes and makeup, donated bags of old clothes, reorganized closets, rearranged all of our art objects, rearranged shelves, dusted and scrubbed everything, and sorted through old memorabilia and added odds and ends from four years of work memories to the box.

oatmealThe longer answer is that all my time and energy is focused on coping with my major life change. I usually welcome change and seek it out every once in a while just to give me new purpose and make sure that I’m still actively engaged in life and not just coasting through. Over the past eight years, I’ve held eight different positions in five different offices, so I am no stranger to picking up and starting again. But this feels different. Maybe it’s because I’m older, maybe it’s because I’m leaving behind my best friend, and an office full of coworkers who have become my closest companions in DC. Or maybe it’s because I’m not sure I’ve made the right decision, a fear that has been eating at me for weeks. Continue reading


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Cooking for Grandma

watermelonMy grandmother is following my blog. I found out via email: “Hi Sarah. Your mother shared some of your blog with us at Ruth’s family event yesterday.  I just signed up for it.  You certainly are your dad’s dght even if your impreciseness comes from your mother.  Nothing wrong with that.   You write so beautifully not to mention the great recipes you include.  I look forward to reading more.” Of course I skimmed over and ignored all the nice things she said and zeroed in on one thing. My impreciseness? What post did my mother share? Was it an embarrassing post where I totally screwed everything up? Did I get my family facts and history wrong? I puzzled and fretted over this for days. Continue reading