It’s been a long time since I wrote about running. This is mostly because I haven’t been doing very much of it. It’s amazing how quickly one gets used to sleeping in a little later on weekdays and a lot later on the weekends, staying in pajamas half the day. Eventually though, the itch creeps in from somewhere. I can never find the source and I can never stop it’s persistent pressure on my weak will. And so, on Saturday morning just after 7am, I found myself ticking off the mile markers on the C&O Canal Trail, watching the early morning sun slowly escape the horizon. It was a perfect day. Between thin skins of ice, the canal water was quiet and smooth as glass, with a reflection so clear and real, I felt that if I dove in head-first, I might be standing right-side up in the upside-down world beneath the surface. There were cardinals, in pairs, the bright red male and his muted brown mate, hopping about in the dust and darting through the barren brush. The cold air bit the lungs in a way that shook one awake and brought on an animal alertness. The cold also brings a certain sharpness and clarity to the air. The outline of the rising moon was cut so cleanly against the rosy sky, I felt that I could pluck it out of the air, as if it were a piece of construction paper in a shoe box diorama. Clearly, I was smitten, all over again. Continue reading
I was so excited to tell you about my successful bread baking last weekend that I completely neglected to tell you about my lovely Sunday. It was lovely because we did absolutely nothing (except eat bread and get back in bed at 11:00am). I left the house once to pick up our turkey, which Matt tells me the grocery store would have almost certainly sold out of by now. The rest of the day we were warm inside, listening to the steam gurgling in the radiators and the wind whipping leaves against our window panes. For dinner I made soup. Of course. Continue reading
The curse has been lifted. Yesterday at 3:30pm, I removed a perfectly risen, golden round of Pain de Campagne from the oven. I’m not going to say it was a miracle, but I was definitely praying to the bread gods throughout the whole process. The first time the bread rose, I laughed and teared up at the same time. The second time the bread rose, I walked the bowl into Matt’s office and shoved it under his chin. “Look! My dough doubled in size!!” By the time I shaped the twice risen dough into European-inspired rounds and placed them on cornmeal dusted baking sheets, I was downright giddy with anticipation, but also terribly anxious. With everything going so well, the probability of something going terribly wrong was increasing by the second. Continue reading
Ever since dad died and mom sold our house and moved to Maine, I knew I would never be able to go home again, at least not home as I had known it. There would be no bedroom waiting for me and no family meals around our old kitchen table. I wouldn’t be headed home for Thanksgiving to catch up with all my childhood friends. Of course I would visit my mom in her studio apartment in Maine and of course I would visit Boston every once in a while and stay with a friend or a relative, but it would never be “home” the way it once was. But this weekend, I was proven wrong. Matt and I stayed with my cousin Anna in her one-bedroom apartment in the North End. She gave us her bed, with fresh sheets and a set of towels at the foot. It was a cozy and happy home base. We were in town for the wedding of one of my very best friends. I knew it would be fun, I knew I would see lots of people that I hadn’t seen in a long time, but I was not expecting a homecoming. And yet, that’s exactly what it felt like, being surrounded by so many people with whom I’ve shared so much of my life. I was home for a few hours – not because of the house or the city, but because of the people. Continue reading
Yesterday was the seven year anniversary of dad’s passing. He was fifty-five. I was twenty-three, and I couldn’t imagine how life could continue normally or happily without him, but it has. I went to grad school (at Harvard, dad!). I ran 8 marathons (including Boston! I survived Heartbreak Hill three times, dad!). I married Matt. We moved to DC. We bought a home. I think dad would be proud of what I’ve done and who I am and this helps me keep him close. Still, this time of year I always get a little bit restless, a little bit emotional, a little bit lost.
We spent Halloween with our neighbors and a group of their friends, handing out candy to the neighborhood kids, carving pumpkins, grilling a feast, and ending the night with a viewing of Carrie. There were several times throughout the evening when I found myself engrossed in a long conversation about this blog. In fact, Meg our hostess attributed the night’s seasonally appropriate (and delicious) meal to my post about the sins of eating corn in October. I was touched, honored, moved and caught completely off-guard. To know that a blog inspired by my dad is in turn inspiring others made me incredibly self-conscious, but also incredibly happy. I’m accomplishing what I set out to accomplish, keeping dad’s spirit alive, not only through my own cooking and writing, but through your cooking, too. Thank you for that. Continue reading