Thursday Things

  1. Seth and I attempted to forage for some wild asparagus along his fence line on Tuesday. We came up empty. And every other spot along shoulders and ditches had been picked over by other eagle-eyed searchers. Maybe next year. Sigh.
  2. Made out like bandits on rhubarb though.
  3. My friend Alice has a birthday this weekend. I made her a modified version of my Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake for her – with a chocolate buttercream instead – and it’s one of the best cakes I’ve made in a long time!
  4. I found a GORGEOUS vintage coach bag at a local thrift store for only $12!!! It’s not one of those purses covered in Cs with a bunch of different colors. It’s quality leather, the perfect size, and in excellent condition. It’s also a twin to a bag my friend Jen in SC has. I thought of her as soon as I found it!
  5. This song on repeat. All day.
  6. I’ve started giving Edgar these treats throughout the day and I’ve noticed a marked difference in his anxiety. He’s calmer, listens better, and hasn’t jumped out of any more windows!
  7. Just ordered another one of these rollerballs. I’ve really gotten into quality perfumes in the last two years and this is one of my favorite scents! Plus, I think a rollerball lasts longer than a spray – in terms of the actual product longevity and the scent lingering on your skin.
  8. I need to share this because it boggled my mind! Y’know in the midst of the Royal Wedding craziness (guilty as charged), there were all those “What’s your royal wedding name?” thingers? Listing your first pet, grandma’s name, street your grew up on, or some amalgamation of that? Dudes. It’s a scam!!! If you comment on those posts with all that info those people can easily figure out your security questions for things like your bank account and credit cards! That thought never even crossed my mind! Bless Jen for telling me!

Coffee & Cola Pulled Pork (& strangers)

My grandma has never met a stranger.

Do you know someone like that? Can meet anyone, anywhere and find some common ground, some topic to discuss, or a mutual acquaintance.

It happened two weekends ago when my grandma finally met Seth. I knew immediately they would hit it off – as Seth also has a touch of that gift. He’s open and welcoming, able to hold a conversation with anyone (including the befuddled bartender who thinks he’s dreamy and sheepishly slides him her number ahem.)

They sat and chatted in the sunshine, eventually coming to realize they had mutual friends in common – decades apart and separated by miles. I drifted in and out of the conversation – remembering a story my grandma had told me.

She had been at the grocery store, surveying the pork butts that were on sale. She selected hers; put it in her cart, ready to head for the checkout. A woman stopped her, “Um, excuse me? But…how do I cook this?” Gesturing toward the roasts, at a complete loss, looking for guidance.

My grandma explained her routine, the different seasonings and a bit of liquid in a crockpot.

“I like to use a nice dark soda or a cup of coffee,” my grandma told her.

Listening intently, the woman nodded and asked, honestly, “With cream and sugar?”

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Thursday Things

  1. Make banana cream pie. Then make an individual ‘nana pudding with the leftover custard. Put it in a vintage sundae glass. Feel fancy.
  2. Molly Yeh got her own Food Network show!!!!!!!!!! And I’m going to get cable just to watch it! OMG!
  3. One of the best texts I’ve gotten in recent history was from my friend Bunny who told me she’s been listening to Hanson a lot. She likes them! My work here is done.
  4. Current favorite nail color. I don’t want anything else on my fingers this season!
  5. I’ve had fresh flowers in my house almost consistently since I moved in and it’s such a lovely ritual to practice. Brightening and beautifying. Highly recommend.
  6. Joy the Baker wants me to make a kitchen altar. I think I want to too.
  7. Nicole Byer’s podcast Why Won’t You Date Me? has had me in stitches the last week. It’s a bit rude and a bit crude but endlessly entertaining. Although I’m sure my laughing out loud while walking Edgar is giving the neighbors cause for concern.

Brioche Burger Buns (& barbecues)

‘Tis the season, y’all!

It’s warm enough for a cookout!

Burgers.

Brats.

Hotdogs.

You name it, I want it on the grill. Piled high on a paper plate. Served with a side of corn on the cob. Or coleslaw. Or Jell-O salad (God bless the Midwest and the ability to call something that’s half Cool Whip a “salad”).

All those burgers and bbq need a soft place to land, a comfortable place to rest. Enter, these brioche burger buns! Buttery, soft, tender as all get out! They will elevate any backyard shindig and are the perfect beginning and end to a summertime sandwich.

You can thank me later.

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O’Henry Bars (& asking)

When did you realize your parents were humans?

For me, it was Christmas two years ago.

We had just finished eating dinner and my mom walked toward the kitchen making a comment about how “it’d be nice to have a little help cleaning up” as she wandered away, continuing to mutter.

“Mom,” I called. “If you want me to clean up, just ask! I can’t give you what you want if you don’t tell me what it is. Being passive aggressive isn’t going to help anything!” (Home for the holidays, amirite?)

She huffed. “Fine. Will you please do the dishes? I’m tired from cooking.”

Yes, I could do the dishes. Yes, I would do the dishes. And while doing them I thought about how I had found myself in my mom’s position a multitude of times. Wanting help, guidance, acknowledgement, but being unable or unwilling to ask for it.

So that’s where I had gotten it. From my mom. In addition to a multitude of positives – my sweet tooth, my determination, my penchant for sweatpants – I had gotten my tendency toward passive aggression from my mother.

Because she’s only human. As am I.

So, for the last two years I’ve made a conscious effort to be more straightforward, more upfront, ask for what I want. And so has my mom. No more muttering about dishes, no more wishing for people to read minds. It’s made a marked difference to both of us, I believe.

When it’s important, it’s easier to ask for things. Like my mom did years ago when she asked for the recipe to these O’Henry bars from the women in her hospital’s cafeteria. And like she did weeks ago when she made it very clear what she wanted for Mother’s Day. A shovel. Yes, I could get her one. Yes, I would get her one. Yes, I did get her one. All she had to do was ask.

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