There’s a passage from Charlotte’s Web that plays in my brain each year, as the wind begins to shift and the pumpkin spiced novelty foods first rear their nutmeg-scented heads:
The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad, monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone,” they sang. “Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.” Continue reading
I spent a good portion of this summer eating potato salad—not because I particularly like potato salad, but because I made a enormous batch of Nonnie’s recipe for a party. And while people did eat it, they didn’t devour it in huge quantities—because I think even when potato salad is good, it’s still potato salad, you know?
We were left with, I can’t stress this enough, a simply gargantuan pile of potato salad, a slippery, starchy heap we dutifully chipped away at for the better part of two weeks. (No, the potato salad did not go bad; yes, it was perhaps not at its freshest by the end of its life.) Even months later, I’m still a little traumatized—and very much over even the idea of potato salad. (Partly because of how much I had to eat, and partly because my husband just will not stop quoting that Black Jeopardy sketch where T’Challah tells Karen to keep her bland-ass potato salad to herself, even though it aired in April. I truly hope he’s not equating me with Karen.)
I was raised on Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake—that is, a frozen cake base covered in smoothed-out ice cream, then decorated with completely extraneous, rock-hard icing. I thought it was delicious, even if it always left a trail of broken plastic utensils in its wake.
It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I learned people here have an entirely different conception of ice cream cake—that it’s not necessarily cake topped with a layer of ice cream, as the name would imply, but simply layers of ice cream in the shape of a cake (or maybe in the shape of a whale), separated by nubby little crunchy thingies that resembled nothing more than chocolate-flavored dirt. But like, good dirt. Continue reading
Even though I’ve got family in southern California, I’ve always felt that Los Angeles has an uncanny quality to it—something that makes the city feel like it isn’t quite real. Maybe it’s the lack of seasons, or the palm-tree-lined boulevards, or the general happy/healthy vibe (people are… smiling? They… don’t wish death upon every stranger they see?). Or maybe it’s because I once spent a week “taking meetings” out there—i.e. having five lunches at five different bougie restaurants—and at every single lunch, I kid you not, everyone at the table (except me) would order a Cobb salad.
Obviously, these are not actually teriyaki strips; they’re teriyaki chunks, because the butcher kindly offered to cut my flank steak into pieces for me, and I didn’t realize he’d chopped it into cubes instead of longer slices until it was too late. Quel dommage—or however you say that in Japanese, I guess. Continue reading
In uncertain times—when spring just doesn’t seem to stick; when our government is a dysfunctional, fourth-rate reality competition; when innocent-looking lettuce can literally kill you—there’s at least one thing we can rely on: cheese, glorious cheese. Cheese has no season; cheese knows no politics; cheese has no murder in its heart. (Unless you live in France.) Cheese is kind and comforting, in brightest day or darkest night, whether it’s a supporting character on your plate or the main event. Cheese, for lack of a better word, is good.
The crisp winter air, the invigorating scent of pine, the beauty of sunlight glinting off freshly-fallen snow—I am OVER IT. Done. I’m sick of bundling up every time I want to go farther than the front door, or making tea just so I have a mug to warm my hands on. Though I never thought I’d say it, I’m even sick of drowning my sorrows in comfort food.
Yet even just 48 hours away from the first (official) day of spring, winter refuses to relent. (It’s my fault; I knew I shouldn’t have murdered all those groundhogs.) The only way to fight this horrible reality, I suppose, is by soothing ourselves with sustenance that straddles the line between sturdy, cold-weather fare and delicate springtime meal.
You might not expect a soup made of potatoes and half-and-half to fulfill that particular criteria—but stay with me. Continue reading