When I was growing up, I really liked to bake. Many afternoons after school, my sister and I would rush home to bake brownies, measuring and mixing with haste so as to eat as much chocolate as possible before our mother arrived home from work. What kid doesn’t love a fat, gooey, chocolate chip-laden, fudge-cluttered brownie with some real heft, some real acreage? I know I sure did, and so did my sister. I think though, on top of being just generally a big fan of eating, I’ve always also been a pretty big fan of making things. Of watching something become something else. I like the idea of getting some ingredients together, arranging them in a very particular way, and then waiting to see what happens.
At long last, the halcyon days of zucchini season are before us. Guess what that means.
I am going to buy all the zucchini. Then I am going to cook all the zucchini. And then -finally- I am going to eat all the zucchini.
Because of the whole “you’re going to stain your hands pink” rumor, I’ve always been pretty turned off to the idea of cooking with beets. And so, up until quite recently, I never had. When I did finally venture to purchase a pound at the market, I steamed them and then undertook to carefully peel them with my hands wrapped in plastic bags (I had no gloves). This technique was, to say the very least, not hugely effective.
By the time I got to the third or fourth beet, I threw caution to the wind and dug back in with my bare hands. Needless to say, when I was done, I was looking rather like Lady MacBeth — a look I’m not particularly keen on. Realizing that I had no idea how long this pink-handed phenomenon was slated to last, I immediately started to panic.
“Out, damned spot!” I said. Or something to that effect.
I sometimes think I’m very clever. More clever than the staff at Bon Appetit Magazine. Remember that recipe for pea pancakes that they featured in their May edition? I made them. Sort of. You see, lately I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts — a little bit disoriented and disconnected from things. That my beautiful green-speckled pancake plans never came to fruition is indicative of that trend.
Up until recently, I’ve been pretty smoothie-resistant. It’s not that I don’t like smoothies, but that I’ve just always had trouble wrapping my head around drinking my meal instead of eating it. I like delicious things as much as the next girl — perhaps even a bit more so — but I’ve also always just really relished the actual act of eating. I don’t necessarily want a breakfast that’s good to take on-the-go because I really do want to sit down and enjoy my food. I want to nosh and crunch and swoon.
The Walk For Hunger is complete! It was a truly perfect day full of so many good things — all the good things! But, as much as I’d like to tell you more about those things, right now my brain and body need very much to relax (and to shut off). As a consolation, here are a few photos from the day and a list of things I’ve been gawking on the internet this week. Enjoy!
Can a loaf of bread change your life?
Tomorrow, with 40,000 of my best friends, I participate in Project Bread’s 45th Annual Walk For Hunger, a 20 mile on-foot journey around the city of Boston. For families in Massachusetts who don’t have regular access to food, tomorrow is one of the most important days of the year. And, for them, a loaf of bread makes a big difference. Good news! It is not too late to donate! Please visit my fundraising page, click the link to sponsor my walk, and join Project Bread in its support of a wide variety of food-aid programs.
So go on over there and change somebody’s life. And then, when you’re done with that, come back over here and change your own.
This particular loaf of bread, which is only a very slight riff on Sarah’s recipe over at My New Roots, is transformative in its own right. When I think of bread, I think of something white and doughy, fluffy and warm — something tasty, but something I’m not able to eat. But this bread? It is stuffed full of good and good-for-you things. Not only is it vegan, it’s also yeast-free, sweet-free, and gluten-free. It’s a piece of
cake toast to put together, and it freezes really well if you want to save some for later (just be sure to slice it ahead of time). Warm up a hunk in the toaster and then top it with some coconut butter or smashed avocado.
You know how Santa Claus arrives in the middle of the night, delivers his merry heap of bounty, and then sneaks off again without a trace? I love that. It’s so easy to be fascinated by something that we can’t see — something that appears to be magical by simple virtue of its not having appeared at all.
You should know that this is not the case with the Fava Bean Fairy, who I saw with my very own eyes just a few days ago in the Whole Foods produce section. He was wearing a green collared shirt, a set of plastic food safety gloves, and he was schlepping those beautiful bulging pea pods from box to basket like nobody’s business. Notwithstanding his conspicuous, no-frills approach, I found his trick to be of the most magical I’ve seen in awhile.
When I was digging through the closet of my apartment a couple of weeks ago, I came across a basketball — covered in dirt and quite deflated — and decided that it was much in need of some love. That very day, I found myself purchasing a basketball pump, lacing up my sneakers, and taking myself down to the park to work on my jump shot for the first time in ten years. I’ve made trips to the park on similar terms almost every day since.
I should explain that, long ago, I was what one could call very, very into basketball. Obsessively so. All alone and for hours on end, I would shoot baskets in our driveway. Meanwhile, I would daydream about how enormously impressed all the other kids at school would be when I became the first nine-year-old girl to be recruited by the NBA.