The best recipes often come with a story behind them. This week, looking for a nice basic red sauce, I came across the much-lauded recipe by Marcella Hazan that’s incredibly simple — so simple it’s surprised countless food bloggers with its deliciousness and depth. Food bloggers being who they are, this prompted them to tell their own stories of their experiences with this recipe, along with that of Hazan, who is credited with bringing authentic Italian food to American kitchens.
The writers’ tales, along with their telling of Hazan’s story, made making the dish all the more meaningful to me. (And Michael loved it even without hearing the story!)
Food and drink are much improved by backstories and memories. I think about the wine-loving journalist couple of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, who once wrote the Tastings column for the Wall Street Journal. One of their signature themes was “Open that Bottle Night” — a manufactured occasion (like all occasions, when you think about it) to open that special bottle of wine you’ve socked away for “a special occasion.” Enjoying the wine with friends, they contended, made an occasion.
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The past few weeks have been busy but I do have some good news to share. After much wrangling, I’ve managed to get the comment function to work on this site. It seems that the Disqus commenting system and/or the Facebook plug-in somehow conflicts with the software I’m using for the design, so it turned out that Disqus and Facebook had to go — at least for now.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve had comments actually working here, so I hope some visitors come out of the shadows and make themselves known.
Besides doing techie things, I’ve spent many cold days lately perfecting the making of vanilla pudding. For a while there, I had our free range eggs, grass fed butter and local raw milk to make it with. It was exquisite. I’ll share my recipe in the coming days — why I ever loved pudding from a box mix is beyond me.
Free Range Egg Yolks, courtesy of our hens
And there’s a larger topic I’ll be tackling — things I’ve discovered are as easy to make from scratch as they are to make from a box.
So, yes, there are recipes and techniques to come and it’s almost time for seed starting! This year, I’m trying some new things, and I’ll be sure to share the experience and the results as they happen.
They call it the “Tiny House Revolution” — the apparently growing movement to downsize your living space to maximize financial security, independence, simplicity and freedom.
I don’t have stats to prove this movement is growing, only a sense of how often I’m seeing this kind of thing in the news and a gauge of my own web traffic — terms like “Alternative Living Spaces” and “living in a school bus” are consistently among the top things people search for that bring them here.
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It’s a bit more lonely in my home office than in recent days. I didn’t even know I was missing anything, but after my husband found a lost Chihuahua just before Christmas, I found — and my whole family found — surprising pleasure in its presence.
We loved the sound of his little feet scurrying across the floor, the feel of his warm body snuggling onto our lap or beside us in bed, the sound of his plaintive whining when a favorite person would leave the house. We called him “Cookie,” because that was the incentive my husband used to lure him closer after he’d been hanging around his company’s business park for a few weeks.
We brought him home just before Christmas. He was skin and bones, all painful angles. He smelled. One of his legs was had gotten entangled in his collar, which resulted in a painful-looking abrasion. And, yet, we avowed big-dog people saw light and love in his eyes. We’re probably too soft-hearted for our own good. But what else could we do? Here was an obviously lost dog — a tiny thing with very little fur to protect it from the cold — that was clearly injured and hungry. Could we leave him to his fate? Obviously not.
After taking some pictures, we called all the local shelters, posted in every online place where local people hang out, and, finally, put up a flyer at the local convenience store at the center of town.
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