My mom’s here for the week hanging out with me (and doing dishes) while Lucas is in China. I’ve been spending my days jumping between meetings and stretches of dissertation writing, so when I popped over here to tell you about this Ginger Miso Acorn Squash dish, I was stumped. I turned to my mom for inspiration, “tell me a story mom.” And that’s when I realized, that was my story.
Even though I’ve dreamed of city life since I was just a kid hoping to one day make it big in the movies, I’m a small-town country girl at heart. I like to think I’ve learned a bit of city street smarts over the years since I moved away from home, but it hasn’t always been that way and it’s certainly taken time. There are things you take for granted when you live with your parents that slap you in the face as soon as you’re on your own – subtle but more vital things than laundry or dishes.
Things like changing the oil in your car, for example. How are you supposed to know that your dad’s been changing your oil all these years? Hopefully not by your car overheating and your radiator cracking during your first year in college like me.
Or things like how much liquid to put into homemade cornbread stuffing. That one’s from today and we’ll come back to it.
A couple of weeks ago, I invited my friend Dane over for chili and cornbread, but instead made him cook the whole meal himself. I’m an excellent host.
Let’s back up. You see, that night, Angi and I let her boyfriend Dane crash our weekly dinner date while Lucas was in China. Nine times out of ten, I have no plans for what to cook and I’m not even wearing real pants when Angi shows up for dinner. (You know it’s become a thing when Angi says “you’re wearing pants!” when she sees you wearing jeans.) Anyway, this was one of those days, and when Angi got here, Dane and I were already 15-minutes deep in a youtube marathon…not planning dinner.
Let’s look past the fact that I’ve been sitting on this Kyoto jewel for exactly a year. I will flash Kyoto’s beauty to distract you from my tardiness. The fact of the matter is that Kyoto was so incredible that it took me this much time to take our photos from a bazillion to a shareable set. We spent three and a half days of our honeymoon last November taking in Kyoto’s treasures and I’ve spent the past year thinking about how to describe all of it to you beyond “it was our favorite” over and over again.
Back in August, I fortuitously met Phi of Princess Tofu at a Bay Area food blogger’s picnic on the very same day I’d decided to make a pot of silken oboro tofu at home without a recipe (more on that to come). I selfishly prodded with questions of tofu-making, while scarfing down the gluten-free corn cakes Phi brought to the potluck. She told me about the eternity she spent grinding the recipe’s split pea flour by hand, and the unfortunate fate of her broken hand grinder to boot. This somehow meant the cakes were made with extra love and were decidedly more delicious.
All of the women in my extended family gather around the dining table for a rowdy game of Taboo over dessert every Thanksgiving. Picking your team is serious business – my mom has two sisters and between the three of them, the odds are high that you’ll end up on a team where the entire sand timer is spent hysterically laughing with a bit fat zero on the scoreboard. As a competitive Taboo player, I spend the afternoon gauging their silly score (this is totally a real measurement) and tallying glasses of wine. Game face. You guys, I kick butt at Taboo. My secret power?
I’m a terrible daughter. My dad’s birthday falls on or around Thanksgiving every year, and even though walnut desserts (namely walnut pie and Walnettos) are his favorite, I always bake him a pecan pie instead. The sole reason being that my namesake passed her award-winning pecan pie recipe down to me and the recipe calls for pecans, not walnuts. This is a pitiful excuse, I know. Not this year. Nope – this is the year I turn things around. I’ve got walnuts on the docket and I’m mixing things up with these easy-to-eat maple walnut bars.
Halloween struts in at just the right time. With some sort of time warp, it’s magically the end of October and I’m on the brink of losing my mind. Anyone else with me? I poured a scoop of cat food into the detergent slot of the washing machine at 2am last week. It’s kind of like when you’re driving to the grocery store, but you autopilot to work instead. Except by the time you realize it, the cat’s giving you a quizzical look while you fish soggy cat food out of the washing machine. These are the time’s we’re in. Without hesitation, I’m taking Halloween up on its offer to get silly by dressing up my food with a spooky theme. Continue Reading