Sicilian proverb —
Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
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photo by staci valentine

9.21.16 Poverty Food

My friend Mirena Kim is such a superb creature. We met more than 20 years ago and instantly bonded over our love of food, crafts and wicked giggling. Through life's ups and downs, I have watched her handle whatever came her way with grace and humor. She has always been there for me: totally supportive, never judging. Her aesthetic is flawless; everything she makes and keeps around her is quietly beautiful and highly functional. In the last few years, she has dug deeper into her ceramics practice and the world has taken notice. (You can read more about her here and here, visit her website here, and watch this video my husband made about her.) Her bowls, platters and vases are fully integrated into my home life and will be forever. This summer, Mirena flew in from Los Angeles for a spontaneous visit and spent a few glorious days talking, hiking, swimming in the lake and teaching me to make kimchi straight from the garden. 


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Louisa May Alcott, "Little Women" —
"What shall you do all your vacation?" asked Amy. "I shall lie abed and do nothing," replied Meg.
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photos by gluttonforlife

7.31.16 Hitting the Sauce

July almost got away without a single post from me but here I'm squeaking in under the wire! It's been a busy summer so far and I'm not going to pretend it was exclusively devoted to perfect moments like these (thanks for the reference, Janet), though I have swum in the lake several times, cooked pulled pork for 80 friends, eaten way too many ice cream sandwiches, served drinks at the first Fish & Bicyle pop-up and, thus far, avoided Lyme disease. As in years past, my plan is to take a break from social media—including Facebook, Instagram and my blog—for the entire month of August. It's hard to believe that starts tomorrow. Maybe you'd like to do the same? I can't guarantee it will mean more time in the hammock for me, but it just might. Let me know how you're planning to spend your August. I'm hoping you'll find time to make this ginger-scallion sauce. It comes together quickly and sits in the fridge waiting to be spooned over poached chicken, steamed fish or dumplings; stirred into hot rice; slathered on grilled anything; or smeared on a summer roll. 


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Phaedrus —
Judge of a tree by its fruit, not by its leaves.
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photos by gluttonforlife

6.28.16 Low-Hanging Fruit

Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in 1971. It was a place where she and her friends could cook in the classic style of the French countryside, talk politics and drink wine. Since those early days, her commitment to organic, local foods, and to the communities of farmers and artisan producers who make them possible, has never waned. She has supported a return to the traditional growing and harvesting techniques that preserve and enrich the land for future generations. Her cookbooks, so authoritative and inspiring, are always in heavy rotation in my kitchen. Chez Panisse Fruit is a go-to for selecting, storing, preparing and preserving whatever's in season. It is filled with recipes both sweet and savory, but also with some of the simplest, most perfect ideas for enjoying fruit at its peak. (Another favorite, also highly recommended is Pam Corbin's The River Cottage Preserves Handbook.) This is my idea of summer fun.


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Yiddish saying —
Only in dreams are carrots as big as bears.
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photos by gluttonforlife

6.7.16 Root to Leaf

I've just come in from the garden. The weather is so glorious, sparkling fresh after Sunday's long, steady downpour. Hummingbirds zipped around me as I weeded the beds. Chipmunks chased each other around the rocky borders. The peony bushes are weighed down with tight buds about to burst open. Late-blooming lilacs perfume the silky air. June is busting out all over! Our farmers market is already offering us many delights: radishes galore, feathery fronds of tarragon, hardy stalks of green garlic, tart sorrel leaves and sweet little carrots with bushy greens still attached. From my own garden, the lovage, rhubarb and mint are faithful first responders, and tender greens—mustard, spinach, kale, lettuce—are ready for picking. I wake early to the complex melodies and syncopations of what sounds like a thousand birds and am filled with energy for the day ahead. Which is good because these days are coming at me fast and furious, requiring all my focus and creativity and determination.


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Virginia Wolf —
Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.
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photos by george billard

5.19.16 Support System

I started writing this blog 7 years ago with no real thought for where it might take me, other than deeper into my passions. Behind all the cooking (and eating), the gardening, the foraging, the entertaining and the traveling there is a lust for life, a desire to live very fully and freely, unencumbered by fear. I have shared openly here about my struggles as well as my joys: the death of one husband and the illness of another; the tyranny of my own perfectionism; what it means to get older. I have never advertised on this blog, never run any paid promotions. This is a sacred space for me and I feel lucky to have attracted a core of loyal readers. You are not "fans" nor "followers," you are kindred spirits who have accompanied me on this journey. As I strive to make a giant leap in a new direction with the opening of Fish & Bicycle, I need your support.


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