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A little something

9 Jul

Dear friends,

Let’s be honest, shall be? Both because we can and because we should. And because I like you, and at least one of you likes me. Okay, just one. And I’ll take that.

The truth is, it hasn’t been you. It’s been me. No, really. It may be July, but outside my kitchen window, my new hostas are being splattered with rain. Likewise, the last few months have been pretty rain-splattered for me, if I may speak in symbols (and I may, since I am an editor-writer and did major in English; altogether, I have license). You see, I had a loss in April. A very, very big, painful loss, which I won’t ever be able to describe and don’t want to. To make the story short, I have been a grieving mother. I wish I could tell you more, because I’m sure some of you have suffered equally. But I hope that you’ll understand that it’s very hard, even now, to talk about, to think about, to still be experiencing. And going into depth, well, might make me sort of sink (did you like that analogy, too? Get it? Depth–sinking–like in a pool).

Anyway, I thought and thought and thought about whether to tell you, not to tell you, suddenly appear in the dark of night with some new, passionate post about how I’ve gone to pick strawberries at a you-pick farm three times in the last three weeks and have made jam for the first time, and isn’t summer glorious and all that, and take a look at my first garden, my broccoli is enormous. But I felt like this absence…I felt like I should at least say something. I’m also trying to see at least one positive angle look on this mother’s cross of a challenge, which is that sometime, someone will read this very post and be in similar pain and ask for help. And I’m hoping that at that time, I will be able to help.

But enough about that. What I can also say is that I’ve returned, I’m hoping, for good. There’s a lot of food to be talked about, so we will. After all, this is a site about food! And loving it. Doesn’t salt balance chocolate and honey and lime love each other? So I suppose we must have some bitter and some sweet, even on a food blog. But let’s stick mostly to sweet, okay? Deal.

And now. Something simple, not even a recipe, but a discovery. Some background: fruit and chocolate are good friends. We know it from the depths of our chocolate-covered-strawberry hearts, from the shores of fondue pools to the banks of rasperry hot chocolate (my way of putting in some patriotic words in place of posting for the Fourth). And yet…Nutella…and cherries? Yes, of course! And one day, in a fit of hunger and a greedy abundance of cherries (see thrice-picking of strawberries, above), I thought, “Need whole grains. Toast. Check. Need protein…Nutella…not really, but close enough. Need…cherries? Yes, cherries!” And there you have it, my entire revelation, which, if you were here, you’d know about in five seconds instead of reading it in thirty. But it needed a story; I couldn’t very well say, “Hey, you should put Nutella on your whole-wheat toast and then put sliced cherries on top. And eat it.” On the other hand, I just did.

The case, evidence as dark as ever.

The case, evidence as dark as ever.

The judgment. It was a righteous judgment. I continued to judge.

The judgment. It was a righteous judgment. I continued to judge.

-Erin

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What I’m Thinking Of

14 Jan

Well, friends. I started an on-site contract proofreading educational materials, and work…and snow, and life…have kept me busy these past few weeks. I am afraid I am neglecting my blog friends and the few of you who read this (thanks, Mom!), but I’ve started a half-dozen posts without finishing them, so I am thinking of you…really.

Work and life have even kept me busy enough that the time I spend creating dishes and experimenting with recipes has really been cut down. We’ll call it post-holiday humdrum–do any of you feel that way, especially in the grayest parts of winter? In the meantime, a few things have shown up on my proverbial radar that make me a little excited to be in the kitchen again.

Speaking of winter, it has been very cold here in Minneapolis–what I call “frozen nosehair” cold, since just a few seconds outside in these temperatures does just that.  I am never without my long underwear, but no, I do not shovel snow for a living. Although we haven’t hit the gray stretch of winter yet–the days when you’d trade your lunch break for a piece of sunshine–I still find myself thinking months and months ahead, culinarily speaking. I even bought cucumbers the other day. Cucumbers! I know better than to do that–they’re about eight months out of season!

Nonetheless, I’ve been having my culinary trip south, mentally. While others take cruises in February, head to Florida, and the birds, as Minnesota’s own Garrison Keillor said, fly south in the night “so as not to destroy troop morale,” I think of salads, I dream of fat, bright red, glistening strawberries like I grew up with in the Northwest. I imagine rows of slender carrots and bunches of green spinach growing this summer in my first garden (there are far too many pests that would prevent growing spinach, but it’s a dream, so I continue). I wonder if we really could grow raspberries along the back fence.

I’ve also been looking at completely seasonally inappropriate delights–like the Strawberry Quartet featured at NY Magazine here and the Dark Chocolate Tartlets with Strawberry at one of my favorite food blogs. As long as we’re at it, I thought of my muffaletta and have decided to try making peach ice cream next summer–D., my Midwestern Meateater, has a dreamy peach ice cream in his past that I’d like to re-create.

Do you have culinary trips south this time of year, even if they’re as pretend as mine are? Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where you leave to find snow. If this is the case, please come visit me. I have a shovel with your name on it, and a little snow on the driveway for you to enjoy!

-Erin