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I've got to begin with thanks.

That last post, about my grandmother, was, well, I don't know what to say. It was a big one for me. To write, and to share. But oh, you guys are amazing. I could not have dreamed of a more comforting, hopeful, or supportive response, nor could I ask to be part of a better community. I cannot get over the generosity of your kindness. I was honoured to read your thoughts and anecdotes and I am working my way through the thread, sending personal replies, rather than commenting here. Until you hear from me directly, please take this as a thank you. Dessert is my preferred way of expressing gratitude lately. I hope there's no objection.


On this end, school's started. Not for just one lad around here, but, for the first time, two are off each day. There are bookbags leaning by the door, and snacks to pack, and matching drink bottles to fill. I spent one afternoon with a sharpie in hand, dutifully labelling the insides of shoes, and coats, and hats; in nice, clear, printing I wrote the names of their respective owners, the names of my children, staking small claims of childhood property in the big, new world they're now a part of.

There's been a lot of firsts. For them, and for my husband and me. There's been a few tears, even. Summer left overnight. There's wasn't the soft fade, the diffusion of one season to the next. With Labor Day, a switch was flipped, the needs of the next day changed, and we were expected to fall in line. 

There's been some stumbles, but we're keeping up. And for the times when we don't, we've had chocolate sauce. With the first day of long pants and long sleeves, there was a call for hot chocolate, and I used this sauce as its base. One morning (don't judge!) where there was unexpected sun, so there were coconut-chocolate milkshakes for two. And earlier today there was a 4-year-old-sized ice cream cone, topped with a spoonful of chocolate, apropos of nothing more than the fact we'd made it through Monday. Sometimes the smallest of victories call for the most fanfare.

(There was also an adult-sized sundae of vanilla ice cream, aforementioned chocolate sauce, preserved cherries, and toasty, roasted walnuts, which amounted to frosty trudge through the Black Forest — a trip you really should take.) 


Chocolate sauce is something seperate from hot fudge; it is thinner, sharper, and less sweet. Chocolate sauce doesn't have its dense chew either. It coats a spoon, but runs off quick enough. It can be used cold, or at room temperture, or gently warmed. It is what I like to use for this cake, or ripple into an ice cream like this one, and if it's usefulness wasn't enough, this chocolate sauce takes less than five minutes to make. Seriously. It's the kind of go-to sweet something to keep stowed in the fridge door for emergency situations. Or Mondays. 

Simple, quick chocolate sauce 
This recipe began with one from 
David Lebovitz; I've halved the overall quantites, added some ingredients and fiddled some others, because I'm evidently a difficult pupil. I can't help it, I like the character coffee brings to chocolate, and so can't seem have one without the other — in this sauce especially. 

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup white corn syrup, agave nectar or glucose
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules, I use decaf
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, instant coffee granules and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. 

Once it's come to the simmer, remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted. Set aside at room temperature for a few hours, it will thicken as it cools. Store, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 10 days.



I wanted to go back


I haven't known how to come back here, or exactly what to write. I'll apologize first and foremost; I'd not intended to be gone so long. There really is no easy introduction to this explanation, as the reason I've been quiet is that we lost my grandmother. My Mum's mum.

She and I were close. She was sharp, and encouraging, and a talent in the kitchen. When my brother and I were growing up, she lived with us sometimes,  a steadfast influence always. We were fortunate to have had her as long as we did. I was granted the grace of sharing her last days.

She was a teacher who liked crossword puzzles, and apples in her salad. She would tell us not to drink our juice too fast at dinner, or we'd ruin our appetites. She made a habit of the library. I remember the day she took her hair, which was long and dark and worn in a low bun at the base of her neck, and had it cut into a short bob, set in curls. I thought she looked like the queen of England.

Still beautiful, only different.

A few days ago, caught up in the busy-mindedness that happens when we potter about with efficient industry, I was checking off items on the running to-do list in my head when I reminded myself; "It's Sunday, I should call Grandma." 

No. She's gone. And with the realization, the air left of the room.

It seems that close, that possible, that on the other end of the line she could pick up and I'd hear her voice again. At some point soon, I hope to be able to do her justice, to come close to explaining who she was, and how much she meant to us.

I'll tell you about the dinner we held in her honour; of all that was made, of those who celebrated together and the stories that were told. I'll be sure to describe the photographs and the music.

I'm not there yet. But I look forward to it.

Until then, here's some of what I said that afternoon:

When I think of Grandma, I think of someone who liked things done a certain way, who had particular tastes, and who wasn’t afraid to let her mind be known. I think of a woman with faith. I think of a woman with strong opinions and the conviction to stand by them. I think of someone who put up with me running to jump in her bed, every time I had a nightmare. I think of a woman who was stubborn, so much so that it feels surreal to stand here without her. I think of independence and strength, a strength that lasted all her days, a strength that serves as fine example for the times ahead.

I think of a woman to whom we are forever grateful, to whom we are forever indebted; one who we love dearly, and whose legacy continues in all those gathered.

She will be truly missed.

roly poly

During my grandmother's decline and passing, food was a tricky thing. It was full of complications and, paradoxically, spontaneous joys. I became prickly about the subject, finding it difficult to talk about cooking and meals and all those things she enjoyed, and we enjoyed together. Having children to feed kept me in the kitchen. The boys had begun to understand what was happening, and so I made her recipes. They called her Gigi.

A little while after we said goodbye to Grandma, we accepted an invitation from dear, darling Jason and Jeff to spend a weekend at their cottage with a bunch of pals. It felt strange, and almost heavy, to be packing up and getting excited again. Someone told me it was "just the thing to do. A change is what you need." They were right.

That group that descended upon Muskoka was one of the finest contingents of individuals we could ever be lucky enough to know; in the end, my stomach hurt from laughing. Goodbye hugs on the dock felt like the last day of camp. The next day, I wanted to go back.

At first the trip had felt half an adventure, half as though I was leaving things behind. But as time passed, it seemed less like moving away from recent days, and more that I was heading in a direction of this new normal, one I'm not wholly ready for, but where I need to go. To a place that's still beautiful, only different.

Those friends set me on my way.

Beyond the fun and games and meteor showers, we'd had meals together, shared in the making and the eating, family-style, tight around the table. It felt comfortable, good. I don't think I can ever fully repay them for the difference they made. I will try, though. 

so this was tasty.

I might begin with lifetime supply of ice cream sandwiches. If that's agreed, then these are most certainly the ones where I'll start. The cookie is crumbly, yet densely, unmistakably full of peanut butter, craggy with dark chocolate and gritty bits of oatmeal. They're alternately squishy and substantial, and make the ideal base for an a scoop of ice cream. What's even better is where I got the recipe.

My friend Sara wrote a book, and her husband Hugh took the pictures. It's called The Sprouted Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2012), after the website they've built together over the last three years. You probably know all about them, since they've done a cracking good job of making a name for themselves already. Nonetheless, I'll say the collaboration between the two of them is one of the most striking I know; I remember the first time I saw their work, I asked myself "now, where did this come from?" It was too lovely, too fully-realized, a package of pretty, all tied up.

The book is the very much more of same, with 100 of Sara's best recipes, including Lentil Meatballs in Lemon Pesto (zesty and punchy), Quinoa Collard Wraps with Miso-Carrot Spread (vibrant with colour), and Baked Artichoke Dip (addicting). 

In Sara you'll find an earnest cook who wants to feed people healthfully, with whole foods, conscientious choices, and meals full of personality. Her recipes are gorgeous, and Hugh captures them deftly; he's got an artful way with detail, that one. They should be proud.

As a bonus, the pair of them are too stinkin' cute for words. 

I'm glad to share their excitement, and for the opportunity to express my gratitude to those who have been keeping me company. I'm glad to be back here, too. 

Grandma, we know that you are home. I wore your earrings one day and my hair was up, and Mum said I looked like you. I can't imagine words that could have meant more. Thank you for everything.


Oatmeal Ice Cream Sandwiches
From The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods (Ten Speed Press, 2012).

Sara says: Making this recipe requires a little bit of time, since you'll have to wait for some of the ingredients to chill, but once they are made, they'll keep in the freezer for up to a month, so you'll have an ice cream sandwich whenever you please. It's such a special treat to have these waiting in the freezer when someone pops over. The cookies are pretty tender, so I freeze them before I put the ice cream between. They never get rock hard in the freezer, so even on the first bite you can enjoy them without hurting your teeth.

I find that a thinner, more fluid natural peanut butter, such as Laura Scudder's Organic Smooth Peanut Butter, works best. You can purchase oat flour, but I love the convenience of making it myself, and the texture of homemade oat flour is quite lovely. To yield the amount you need for this recipe, pulse about 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor until it looks like a coarse flour.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup dark muscovado sugar
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 1/3 cups oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
2 quarts premium vanilla bean ice cream, see note
1 cup chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the egg, honey, and peanut butter and mix until well combined. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them on a baking sheet 2 inches apart, using a second baking sheet as necessary. You should have about 30 cookies. Bake, rotating the trays halfway through, until the outer edges turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Once cooled, transfer to plates and chill in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let soften for a few minutes. Using and ice cream scoop, place one scoop of ice cream on the bottom of a cookie and top it with another cookie. Gently press down and smooth the outer edge. Roll the ice cream edge in the peanuts, pressing them to adhere, and place the sandwich back on one of the plates in the freezer. Repeat. Once fully frozen, after 20 to 30 minutes, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper. They will keep in the freezer for up to a month.


  • I used a 2-inch scoop to portion the dough and ended up with 18 cookies, making 9 sandwiches. They baked for about 10 to 12 minutes. 
  • Instead of vanilla bean ice cream, I used the Crème Fraîche Ice Cream from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones (Ten Speed Press, 2012), the exceptional new book from Bi-Rite Creamery. I left the lemon out of the recipe, adding vanilla bean, and substituting half the granulated sugar for turbinado. We made brown sugar crème fraîche at the cottage to serve with crumbles, and I'm still thinking about it. The tangy finish of the ice cream works really well with the richness of the oatmeal cookies; I'm sure a sour cream or buttermilk ice cream would also be very nice.



My wholehearted congratulations to Sara and Hugh on The Sprouted Kitchen, and its release on August 28, 2012. If you can't wait to see it for yourself, I've got some great news! Ten Speed Press has generously offered a peek into the book, with the complete table of contents and a 10-recipe sampler. You'll want to bookmark that page.



An extra day of sunshine


In late April we had a frost. After an unbelievably-mild winter that required only two or three shovellings, and a spring that had us in sandals by March, the raw cold of April 29th came as a harsh surprise. 

That said, what was merely startling to us was devastating to the farms and farmers we call neighbours. The fruit trees — apple, peach, pear, plum, cherry and others — were already festooned with early blooms; the fragile flowers couldn't handle the biting, sudden freeze, and were largely wiped out

So, there's been months of waiting. Talking to friends with farms to see how they're doing, peering down the rows of orchards as we drive by, craning our necks in the hope of seeing some fruit on the branches.  

The good news is, pockets of fruit survived — the yields are low, and the season will be short I hear, but there are peaches. There were cherries too, though less than what we've come to expect.


We are thoroughly spoiled by where we live. Smack-dab in the middle of farmland, there's markets almost every day, and roadside stands full up with produce, well into autumn. We're used to the strawberry festival, the cherry festival, and the peach celebration that closes down the main street of a nearby town every August, and by September we're in the orchards, picking apples for cake. We greedily bide our time until the late-summer glut of fruit arrives, and then snatch up the harvest, flat by flat, to be preserved. 

This year, there won't be that boon. I don't know if there will be peaches for canning, there's hope, but not for certain. And so, what we have is all the more precious. I want to take grateful note, as their time is fleeting. 

We often take those days of feast for granted. We've fogotten our luck at what we have nearby.

We bought our first basket of peaches. They smelled like summer holidays, like nostalgia and growing up. They reminded of humid evenings in the backyard, of shortcakes and crumbles, and fruit eaten out of hand sitting at Mum and Dad's old picnic table, with sticky juice running down to our elbows. They made me think of how we seek out the sweetness in so many things, peaches, plums and nectarines among them, and how we find an edge of sharpness in each bite. 


I didn't want to muss up these peaches; I wanted them for their simple peachy-ness. Pure, straight fruit, helped along maybe, but not essentially changed. That need manifested into peaches soaked in wine, perfumed by honey and vanilla. I chose not to poach the fruit exactly, rather giving them a gentle bath, in the thought that suggestion of warmth would coax a that bit more vanilla out of that pod, and bring that much more tenderness to the peaches, as if there had been an extra day of sunshine.

The fruit goes into the wine whole and unpeeled. There's rather ceremonial beauty in a peach, served whole. The peels are slipped away, like silk across shoulders, just before eating. The skins leave rosy marks on the flesh of the peaches, and also offer some protection from the simmering wine so that their centres are just barely cooked; they retain the direct sour-sweet of the farmstand, tinged with the taste of the wine. And that wine, well, as the peaches sit their flavour fully blossoms, mingling into the liquid — so that wine makes for a boozy consommé, sparkling, bracing and bright. 

I let some runny crème fraîche meander through the juices, it's sourness perfect against that of the fruit. The peaches feel fresh, firm and bouncy cheeked, through-and-through fragrant. I like them very much, straight from the fridge. Their taste is clear, that of a July afternoon without cloud.

There are those moments when I look around and wish I could stop time. I wonder for a way to hold everything, as it is, still and somehow the same, to keep safe for the times ahead, for times of frost and freezing.

This is the closest I've come. 


Peaches soaked in vanilla wine
The peaches require a few hours to chill, so plan with that in mind.

2 cups (500 ml) dryish white wine
1/4 cup honey
1 vanilla pod, split
4 medium peaches, washed, stems removed but left whole

Crème fraîche, to serve

In a saucepan that will fit your peaches snugly, stir together the wine and honey. Run the blunt end of a knife across the vanilla bean to scrape out the seeds, add the seeds to the saucepan, along with the pod itself.

Bring the wine mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Allow the wine to bubble gently for a few minutes, until the honey is melted and the mixture starts to thicken just a bit. Carefully lower the peaches into the barely-simmering liquid — they should be submerged — and cook gently for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, flip the peaches over, and cover with a lid. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then chill the peaches for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

When you're ready to eat, carefully remove a peach from the liquid. Gently pinch the skin with your fingers and it should pull away from the flesh. Peel the peach and place it back in the liquid. Repeat with the remaining fruit.

Thin some crème fraîche with a bit of the wine mixture; it's nice at a pouring consistency. To serve, place a peach in a bowl, spoon over some of the wine, followed by the crème fraîche.

Serves 4, or maybe 2, depending on the day. 


  • The peaches must be fully covered by the liquid while chilling, or they will discolour. If needed, top up with some extra wine to keep them dunked, or seal out air by pressing a piece of clingfilm against the surface of the peaches.
  • For those who prefer a thicker syrup, the wine can be further reduced after the peaches have had a chance to soak. I'd remove the fruit, boil down the liquid, then get it good and cold again before serving.
  • Any extra wine in left in the pot can be sipped, or reduced to a syrup as above and saved for eating with ice cream.



A clean plate to finish

corn with scapes, chilies and cilantro

If you skip ahead and read down below, you'll see I'm offering up some stuffed poblanos for lunch. Though if we're being frank, and I think we should be, the stuffing is really the take away today. That corn, and its countless variations, is something I've been making for ages, and I find myself tucking it into all manner of meals.

It started with this soufflé I think — hi there, terrible old point and shoot camera photo — that summer was a good one for corn and our now six-year-old, then less than two, was a major fan. I'd cook it until just barely tender, in butter with salt and pepper, fresh off the cobs we'd buy at the farmstand. Then I started adding onion, then garlic, then lime and herbs, and sometimes peppers, served hot and warm and at room temperature. As long as there was corn to start, there was a clean plate to finish.

And so ever since, sautéed corn has been in our rotation. As the base to corn puddings; cooked in olive oil and stirred through with torn basil, for a side along with a chicken that was spatchcocked and roasted over flames; or with fresh oregano in a salad, offering sweet against the aggressive salt of feta; or with slices of young chèvre in skinny omelets.

Like I said, it's useful. 


My husband and I have a running joke that my children each have my stomach. They have my eyes, and my nose, and many other things, too. William, our younger, has my scrunch-faced grin.

But the most unexpected boon is that at the table, when it comes to their tastes, they closely follow my own.

It makes sense, as I am the primary cook in the family that there are certain flavours that find their way to our plates fairly often. My children have been raised on onions, garlic, ginger, and cilantro (but it's dhanya in our household), coriander seed, cumin and lime — the foundations of Indian cooking. I remember reading some research that said what a mother eats while pregnant effects the tastes of her unborn child, so maybe my children had a head start in that regard. Either way, it is a trait that's set them up for another one of my favourites, Latin American cooking.


As they've gotten bigger and all the more adventurous, combining those familiar tastes with the standby of the sautéed corn they already love made perfect sense. We started with empanadas with corn, cumin and cotija cheese. Then tacos with beans and pico de gallo, and now stuffed poblanos, in a recipe that has lots in common with chile rellenos. 

These fried, filled poblanos are as straightforward as can be, save for the fiddly business of roasting and peeling the peppers. For all the care that one step requires, the work itself is a matter of minutes, so it's hardly a stressful endeavour. Once stuffed with corn and cheese and vegetables, the poblanos get an inelegant dunking in a beer batter — that batter fries up into something actually kind of beautiful, with edges that are crunchy, lacy and light. The peppers have that lip-humming heat, the corn is still plump and juicy, and the Monterey Jack slips its way through everything, binding it all together.

You can prepare the poblanos in advance. Secured and without batter, they should be able to hang around the fridge for a little while. The dipping and frying takes no time at all, allowing your leisure to get yourself organized. A few minutes at the stove and you're soon free to head outside, preferably with a bottle of Jarritos or some more of that beer, to tear open poblanos, crisp and soft and oozing, and gobble them up, eagerly.

Which is exactly what we did. 


Poblano Chilies Stuffed with Corn
Adapted from a recipe by Eugenia Bone, as published in Martha Stewart Living (July, 2012). My children are used to some spice; please take care when handling peppers and consider the tastes of those to whom this will be served when preparing. If in doubt, omit the Thai chili.

Frozen corn can be used in place of the fresh, and I stash bags of it the freezer when we're up to our ears (ha!) in the local harvest. Blanch the husked corn, then cut the kernels from the cob and freeze on baking sheets lined with parchment until firm. Then transfer the corn to storage containers for freezing and feel rather pleased with yourself.


1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup lager beer
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 poblano chilies
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 8 pieces, see note
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely-diced onion
2 cups corn kernels, cut from 2 or 3 ears
3 garlic scapes, minced, see note
1/2 Thai chili, seeded and minced, or to taste
2 teaspoons minced cilantro, leaves and tender stems
Oil for frying
Sour cream, lime wedges and additional cilantro for serving

About an a hour and a half before you want to serve, whisk together the flour, beer and salt in a wide, shallow bowl. Refrigerate batter for an hour — it will puff as it chills. 

Meanwhile, place chilies over the flame of a gas burner (or high-heat barbecue). Roast, turning carefully with tongs, until the skins are black and blistered. Alternatively, the chilies can be placed on a pan and broiled in the oven, turning often, until charred all over. In either method the aim is to be able to remove the skin without really cooking the flesh; if overcooked, the chilies will be hard to peel and too delicate to stuff. When the chilies are cool enough to handle, peel and set aside. 

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft but without colour, around 5-8 minutes. Add the corn, garlic scapes, and Thai chili and continue to sauté until the corn is just tender, around 5 minutes more. Off the heat, stir in the cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.

Leaving the stem attached, use a small knife to run a slit down the side each of a peeled chili. Carefully remove the seedpod and place a slice of cheese inside. Spoon in about 1/4 cup of the corn mixture, then carefully use a toothpick to enclose the filling.

Heat 1-inch of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, dip the chilies in the batter, letting some of the excess drip off. Fry the peppers in batches without crowding, until golden on all over, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and serve with sour cream, lime wedges and chopped cilantro. 

Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a side or to start.


  • I like the cheese to be cut long and thin, so that it melts evenly and makes its way all through the filling. If the slices are too long for your poblanos, break them into pieces if necessary, rather than cutting big chunks. I'm fond of a cheese flecked with jalapeños, but plain is fine.
  • We had some scapes kicking around, plus their green speckling the corn and vegetables looks nice, but 1 tablespoon minced garlic can be used instead. 
  • Cooked white beans or favas would make a fine addition to the filling.



All the small things

Hello, hello! There have been quite the days here, and while I'm sorry to say I don't have a proper recipe to pass along, there are stories to tell, all the small things that filled the hours in between our last conversation and now. For the record though, I've been making a lot of radish sandwiches lately and, in case that's your thing, I'll take a moment to tell you about them.


Fergus Henderson, in a favourite article from Bon Appétit (seriously, the words, the photographs, the menu, everything is bang-on great, and it's where you'll find the recipe for this showstopper of an ice cream), suggests serving radishes whole, with the classic accompaniment of sweet butter and crunchy flakes of sea salt. That's a no-brainer, everyone knows that'll be delicious. What makes the suggestion smart is that he tucks the radish greens aside to dress with a Dijon vinaigrette — it's a peppery and pungent combination, the sort that catches and tingles at the edge of your mouth.  

I've taken his idea and put it into a sandwich, as afternoons right now are story book made for picnics. I fancy up some butter with grainy Dijon and lemon zest, then smear it across lightly-toasted pumpernickel. The radish greens get torn into a bowl with a bit of olive oil, juice from that lemon, Maldon salt and cracked blacked pepper. Sliced radish goes on top of the buttered toast, then the salad, and then another toast. Along with my recent fondness for avocado toasts, which I'll get to momentarily, radish sandwiches are one of the quickest, nicest routes between hungry and lunch that I know of. 


On to that newsy, chatty stuff. 

One day in late May, we lit up sparklers for no better reason than the fact that the evening was warm and the grass green, and that sparklers are the best of summer's magic. In the softness of that indigo hour, the frizzling trails lit up smiling faces, and sparks flew and burst like the laughter that accompanied them. It was celebration of everything, yet nothing in particular, and we've still got some sparklers left and I want to do it again.

Something that deserves a celebration of its own is an announcement that's not mine, but belongs to some people who I think are pretty special. I've talked about my friend Nikole before, more than once, actually. She and I first began really talking around the time her father made a baby spoon for my son William — a lad who is turning 4 years old in a few days, so if you do the math you'll find we've had some years of cakes and conversation between us. She and I are sometimes collaborators, often with the exceptional talents of Michael Graydon to boost up our own, and those projects represent some of the work of which I'm the most proud.

Nikole and her father Lance are the pair behind Herriott Grace. You've surely heard of their shop before; it's a heartfelt effort between those two. They've got a great story behind all that lovely and, lucky us, they have decided to share their thoughts and history in a new endeavour. They've put themselves on film, in association with John Cullen and Industry Films, and resulting portrait is breathtaking.

Congratulations, NH + LH, and to all involved. xo


Here's the biggie. I snuck away for a few days and made my way down to New York City. It was a brilliant, overwhelming trip, and I'm endlessly thankful to the dear, dearest friend with whom I shared it.

We walked bridges, navigated subways, and chatted up taxi drivers. We took the train out of town and I sat at a table I best remember in a snapshot taken when I was maybe five years old. We went to a party that filled up a room with admirable folks, and I wish I could have spent days in their midst. We toasted the city with cookies, and had sandwiches at Saltie for lunch. We poked around Union Square Market with fine company, and sat in the most charming bakery I've ever seen, with an equally charming (and talented, and funny) friend. There were chocolate buns as part of the deal. We people watched at Café Gitane and I became obsessed with their avocado toast. How can something so simple be so good? I've made it twice in the last week.

We sat in a restaurant on the edge of Central Park, just before a storm. We were served pickled strawberries on fresh mozzarella, and tiny sips of watercress soup. We cooed over crispy rice cakes underneath tender scallops. We blatantly eavesdropped on conversations, listening to mothers talk the serious business of the weddings of their children. We politely spied on a group of women catching up after years apart, each of them in cocktail dresses with the baubles and rings to match. And everyone heard the man who announced his presence in the room with an order for service; he strode in like he ruled the world. All of us could be his court.

When my friend and I walked outside, the wind had picked up, and we looked at a skyline dramatic against the clouds.

In the early hours of one morning we made our way to Grand Central Station. It was grey and pale out, the streets slicked shiny by a fine, misting rain. We snuck into the building as though it were a secret. Without the crowds, in that faint light, we stood beneath the turquoise arc of the painted heavens above, and it was like a scene from about a million movies. The irresistible wonder of place, the undeniable awe, saved it from cliché — we were left alone with the quiet potential in the space around us, the weight of what had been before.

The chandeliers shone like sequined planets. And maybe we laughed at ourselves.

Untitled Untitled

I came back full of ideas, and full of reasons to be grateful. We got to meet so many inspiring individuals, it's hard to know where to begin. I'll tell you this, yesterday I made a vinegar-kicked strawberry conserve with that one meal in mind. I look forward to sharing it all with you.

Hip, hip for the weekend, for being home, for new lessons and old reminders. Let's talk soon.


The top two photos were taken with my camera, the rest were taken with my phone, using Instagram.