Good morning, dear readership (I love using that word!). I’m up early working on a gougère recipe to bring to an Oscar party tonight (torn between beer & gruyere and paprika & parmesan, so I’m making them both!). These are the decisions that plague my life these days. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. I watch Ryan study for hours every day and think, that’s gonna be me in a few months. I found out I was accepted to grad school (a totally unbelievable thing) and I’ll start in the fall. So, my life will change again. I’m very excited, and also, you know, scared.
It’s a simple thing, sometimes, to be reminded of your hometown. We’re all susceptible to those waves of nostalgia: your favorite local band comes up on your iPod, the light angles in through the windows just so, and suddenly you’re closing your eyes and being transported, imagining the smell of fresh cherries on a summer day by the side of the Blue Star Highway. For me, food almost always does this, which is probably why I love making and eating it so much. There are so many senses to be engaged, and so much opportunity for reflection and joy.
Life has taken such a monumental turn for me these past few months. I have seen another continent and moved out of my hometown. I am currently unemployed and get to spend my days cooking, reading, walking, and googling cats on the internet. Life is beautiful.
So let me just make it clear that when I say I miss Ann Arbor, I don’t mean I’m unhappy here. Quite the opposite. There are, of course, plenty of things that are different enough to notice and take issue with, like the traffic (oh, the traffic). Suffice it to say I’ve been honked at and wanted to honk back more times in the past month than I ever have in my life. But let’s not talk about the traffic. It’s not like I miss Ann Arbor’s traffic.
If you’re anything like me, you love winter mostly for the food. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like the snow and even the cold (that’s the Michigander in me), but the food in winter just fills you up in a way that summer food doesn’t. It’s an excuse to eat for comfort. It’s too rich, too sweet, and too filling but somehow it’s better that way. The best dishes in winter have the capacity to warm you from the inside out, to satisfy your soul as well as your palate. And the colors are better. Warm oranges, rusty reds, deep evergreens. It’s like your favorite sweater, only you get to EAT IT.
I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I tend to overthink things. Well, as I’m sure was predicted by many, it took me ages to pick something to begin with on here. My first recipe! On my first food blog! I agonized over this decision. I’m big on tradition and celebrations, as anyone who has met me knows. I’m the girl who makes the same birthday cake every year for birthdays (because it’s the BIRTHDAY cake) and has an unflinching allegiance to the same Thanksgiving menu (cranberry sauce like THIS, not like that). In a world that changes and grows and zips along so merrily, so quickly, I do find it comforting to put stock in traditions. Gigo’s meatballs, Daddy’s scrambled eggs, Nonna’s plum pudding. These are recipes I cherish, brought into my life by people I cherish: and I definitely want to pass on some of my own recipes someday. Because I take all this cooking stuff so seriously, I knew I had to choose something for my FIRST recipe that was cherishable. Something I could look back on and be proud to say was my best work.