Kyle and I recently celebrated our four year anniversary here in Hawaii. When I dreamed of moving to ‘paradise,’ and the reality of 6 months of vet visits and the liquidation of all my material assets had yet to set in, I harbored a naive vision of what my new life would be like. It wasn’t quite Gilligan or Hawaii 5-0, but it did involve picking fruit from the tree in my yard, driving a VW bus spray-painted variegated colors, and waking up early to salute the sun on a surfboard. Knock my hubris all you want, but I knew there were many different ways to live in Hawaii, and this represented my idealized version. And when moving all the way across the globe seemed scary or less than feasible, I would picture this life in all its idyllic perfection. To be fair, sometimes I also fantasize about joining the Parisian royal court, with an unlimited supply of macarons and champers at my disposal, so I get when I’m being unrealistic. “Let them drink wine!” if you will….
I imagine many of you are like me and reserve certain activities for special occasions. Like how I insist my friends toast their birthdays with pink bubbles or how I’m saving 3 inches of my forearm for an Uncle Jesse tattoo (so plotted ever since I discovered that uncles who aren’t related to you can be sexy, though Fuller House has delayed this plan for at least another five years; I’ve never been one for trends)….
Perhaps as a metaphor for this mortal coil, potatoes are fairly easy to cook but difficult to master. Anyone who’s ever enjoyed (here, a relative term) soggy french fries, gummy mashed taters, or mushy “pan-fried” spuds can attest to that. Unlike some other veggies (again, a relative term), potatoes want to be cooked and only benefit from a second round in the frier or oven. My favorite kind of potato is crispy, and not because it’s been prepared al dente, but rather cooked so thoroughly that its skin crackles and has relinquished all moisture. Like my tear ducts or this fine earth of ours in 40 years. Topical!…
I think it was Demi Moore who once said, “You can’t go home again.” While I don’t personally subscribe to this philosophy and have loved returning home ever since I first left it (especially with a full laundry basket and a checking account in the tens place), I understand the sentiment. Sometimes home is a memory, and those can be impossible to re-create . . . unless, of course, most of your significant memories involve food—as ours do. Then, home is a kitchen to which you can return frequently, armed with enough cheese, bread, and wine to warm the heart of even the most stoic 90s anti-hero. I see you smoking in that swing set, Demi….
At the museum where we all work, custom dictates that one brings treats for coffee the morning of his or her birthday. Since we have a reputation to maintain, since we are insufferable show-offs, and since we like to feed small armies, we created this “Peachy Keen Pie Bar” to celebrate Micah’s recent summer birthday….
A friend recently told me about a study which hypothesized that people’s tastes evolve every seven years. This doesn’t sound revolutionary when considering the drivel you listened to in high school (ugh, Smashbox 20, what was I thinking?), or how tailoring a pair of pants feels (and fits) right once you hit your thirties. Hell, what six year-old likes Brussels sprouts and rosé wine? Just the cool ones, I guess. But—if you consider the other myriad ways you’ve changed over the course of the last seven or fourteen years—the evidence is more dramatic. For instance, I’m a morning person now; if you’d informed high-school, college, or even grad-school Beckie that she could rise before the hour of 7AM, though, she might have chucked a daisy-shaped alarm clock at your temple….
This dip might not be Christ on a cracker, but it’s pretty darn close. We recently served it at a catered event for Docomomo Hawaii, a group of architecture nerds devoted to cataloguing and preserving midcentury buildings here on Oahu. When they asked us for food to fit this particular interest, we were in the kitchen lighting Twinkies on fire faster than you can say “Cold War canapes.” That’s a great band name, so don’t you steal it….
It’s summer, and around this time our few favorite shows go on hiatus and we’re left relying on Netflix and the occasionally brilliant bit of summer programming. Emphasis on occasionally. The only show we actively look forward to once the temperature dial creeps upward is MasterChef. Ok, I see the many ways in which it’s overproduced, and yes, I hear the terribly cheesy music meant to indicate suspense, but here is a show for me: the home cook. I love Top Chef and have ever since it first aired—I’m talking before they asked Katie Lee to pack her knives and go, but that is a show about chefs and ego and food that while, I may want to eat, I also don’t know if I want to make in my kitchen. But MasterChef is about cooks like us, ones who are interested in pushing their boundaries, but within the context of a home kitchen. When I watch it, I think about what an interesting mentor Gordon Ramsey makes. Here’s a guy who introduced himself to the United States on Hell’s Kitchen, screaming and cursing the whole time. He’s staked a reputation as the culinary Simon Cowell, but with, like, a crap ton more f-bombs. Yet, on Masterchef, he exhibits moments of humanity and true mentorship. And, no matter the amount of heated kitchen trash he talks, I’m certain every person he’s worked with has been influenced by him in one way or another. MasterChef is doing fine and doesn’t need my endorsement, but, whenever I watch it, I think of the past cooks who have mentored me. And, really—after my mother—there is only one….
Today I’m here to dispel some myths. Just call me Mythbusters. Or don’t. I can’t handle being sued by another cable television franchise (Did you hear that, Ina? I said I was sorry). But, be that as it may, I’m still up in this gig busting some myths. I want to tell you that a) magic is real b) Santa Claus is not and c) homemade tamales are not as difficult as the mainstream media would have you believe (I’m trying to improve my SEO by referencing the mainstream media. Like a lot)….
We all follow certain unspoken rules: like holding the door open for the person directly behind you; or, the more discreet rule, wherein most folks with good sense have agreed not to validate Carrot Top and the majority of his life choices. And then there are the rules more specific to particular demographics, such as not serving white wine with waffles nor wearing closed-toed shoes after Memorial Day. For the sake of clarity, I ignore the former and follow the latter. To a toe-shaped tee. In this household, Micah’s created the inexplicable rule of not eating sandwiches for dinner. As a person who can—not only eat sandwiches at any time of day, let alone eat them literally at every sanctioned meal—I honestly don’t get it. His standards, however, have influenced all of us, and I applaud him as soon as my hands are free of all the sandwiches I’ve recently shoved into my mouth….
Last month, the stomach flu brought me to my knees (literally)—I left years and years of touting my iron gut at the bottom of the toilet bowl and occasionally the sink. While lamenting my condition, I watched a ton of comfort movies on Netflix and reminisced about the last time I was infirm, sobbing into my pillow over Beyoncé’s aptly titled visual album . . . Beyoncé. I don’t know why, but it takes basically nothing more than a laundry detergent or iPhone commercial to trigger tears when my body is healing….
I’ve arrived at some of life’s pleasures a little late. Take wine, for instance: the first time I tried it, my friends and then-roommates insisted that a $6 bottle of Australian Chardonnay, purchased at the nearest gas station, paired well with most pizza rolls and string cheese. For a girl who didn’t like the taste of alcohol and who that very night enjoyed a responsible number of Smirnoff Ices, this might not have been the best approach (Disclaimer—I’ll still drink a Smirnoff Ice and enjoy it, only in a dark closet where no one can see me with my phone switched safely to airplane mode). I thought the wine tasted like acidic wood with light notes of rotten apple, and I was having none of it. I wouldn’t try wine again for two more years—but now you can’t find me without a glass of the stuff in my hand and and a bottle chilling in the toilet tank. Most of that is true….
Cinco de Mayo is Thursday, and, since my boyfriend is Mexican-American, I look forward every year to butchering the traditions of his people while catching a light buzz….
Sometimes I treat my banana bread recipe like a kitchen sink because . . . that’s where I wash my dishes. Wait. That can’t be right. I treat my banana bread recipe like a kitchen sink because . . . I don’t like vomiting in a toilet. Hmm. OK. Try this one instead: I treat my banana bread recipe like a kitchen sink because I’ll put most anything in it—mac nuts, mangoes, whatever. I think that analogy holds water. Much like a sink….
I’ve always loved stories about unsung heroes. They aren’t quite underdogs, scraping and struggling until they win the game or depose an unjust monarch; instead, they’re usually the best friend or the sibling who never quite got the glory. That’s right—I’ve resorted to loosely quoting a Beaches song to arrive at my point; however, don’t let that dissuade you from my argument, or rather lack of one, since now all I can think about is cry-laughing through Beaches and maybe taking a dance break during the trippy yet oddly accurate song about industry. Whatever will become of me, am I right?
But back to my point—the character who almost never gets a thanks or a blank check or a hug has always been my favorite. Yes, you Joan Cusack. Yes, you, the humble breadcrumb….
A few years ago, I wrote a poem about goat cheese. It went something like
Goat cheese so creamy
Please bury me inside it
Death by tanginess
When I’m getting to know someone new, I employ a few tricks to kickstart the friendship, and all of those tricks include multiple bottles of wine. I guess what I’m saying is that I have a hard time making new friends. It’s not for want of trying, but rather a problem with small talk that leads me to blurt out fun facts about Sandra Bullock’s hair stylist or the inexorable breath of death creeping ever nearer. I’ve always said I don’t make a good first impression, nor a good second one. But if you can stick with me to the third impression (and I’m not talking about my cockney accent), you might just really like me….
If y’all are anything like us, you wait until the last minute to plan holiday menus. Though fantasizing about our next group nosh ranks as one of our top ten club hobbies, we usually don’t have the foresight to try a new cookie recipe until halfway through lunch on National Macaroon Day (is that a thing? It’s probably a thing). And, if your resemblance to us continues, you’re probably also always angling for an invite to a stellar holiday party, replete with tropical mimosas and a lounge singer.
Well, my friends, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re scrambling for dishes for your Easter brunch or attending a fundraiser at George and Amal Clooney’s house, we’ve compiled a list of BTC recipes that pair beautifully with pastels. Find below links to brunch, bread, and more brunch–truly everything you’d ever need on an Easter Sunday, except for a glazed spiral ham stuffed with Easter eggs and winning lotto tickets.
I know y’all wanna come over.
I love the annual reminders of March: daffodils, March Madness (go Jayhawks!), my birthday, lions, lambs, ides . . . really, all the things. And, though I live in Hawaii now, I still remember and loathe how the beginning of March tells itself like a bad joke in most seasonal climates—emerging from February, we hope for sunshine and daisies and are instead greeted with more bracing cold and slush as far as the foot can step. One starts to wonder if winter will ever end until she spots spring’s first blooming bud, and—all of a sudden—life is technicolor again, like every musical moment with dancers twirling in public places, except you are the only one twirling and your neighbor’s giving you the spring-fever side eye….
In our continuing quest to find new vehicles for tzatziki sauce (fingers sadly don’t count) and also sponsor My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2: Back in the Habit of Taking Ouzo Shots, we present to you our Greek Turkey Burger. …