September 24, 2019

Pudgy pidgeons out the window, rain in your teacup, and buttery toast sprinkled with cinnamon sugar (that goes all the way to the edges).  A few things that have been happening in our world


(September 2019 – The Bakeaway in New Orleans hosted by Joy the Baker)

Grateful – For this little cooking blog and all of the cool people I've met along the way.  Earlier this month, I spent some time in New Orleans.  A get-away of sorts, with some pretty great women, all of whom share a love of cooking.  The chance to leave social media behind for the better part of it; choosing sugary memories over Photoshopped images

While making Paris-Brest, I met two of the kindest souls, spreading goodness throughout the world at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  One was recovering after over a terrible break-up.  Her friend said: “I'll tag along to New Orleans, and keep you company.”

Over a five-course dinner at the Ponchetrain Hotel's Jack Rose, I loved the stories of interning at Bon Appetit and America's Test Kitchen.  I cheered at the bravery of another who was laid-off from her government job and decided to start a bakery.  Oh, and the sweetest (and chic) woman who, as it turns out, is the daughter-in-law of a very famous movie star.

Trivia – A recipe from America's Test Kitchen costs about $2000 to develop(!)

Saving Up – To go again next year.  There are so many things I'd still love to do, like visiting the WW II museum, taking a ghost tour, and eating at all of the Waffle Houses I didn't have time to visit.

Date Nights – At the pet hospital.  After moving, we've struggled to find a vet we like (outside of those at the hospital).  The only problem is, like any ER really, it can be a bit of a wait.  So last week, when we noticed Poppy's coughing/breathing was getting worse, we decided it was time to have it looked at.

The first night we went.  After three+ hours we lost all power (and hope), deciding to try again the next.

Night two went something like this:

“Kitty corralled?”  Check

“Snacks?”  Check

“Powered up?”  Check

“Mental health?”   About as good as it's going to get

“Here's hoping for the best.”

Smiling – at Poppy.  She purrs so loudly; nobody can ever hear what they need to

Diagnosis? – Feline Asthma

Wondering – We have medicine to get us started, but an inhaler is on our long-term horizon

Poppy – Septemeber 2019

Cooking shortlistDori Greenspan's Baked Apples, Ottolenghi's Lemony Lentil Soup, Chicken Tetrazzini, and a big pot of Gumbo.

ReadingThe Overstory for next October's book club

Excited forSpaghetti Saturdays.  We're officially starting them again in October. Indeed, there are challenges and a million potential pitfalls.  Especially with many new faces and a smaller space.  At the same time, life feels happier with community, and I'm convinced kindness grows exponentially.  It feels good to give it a try.

Related – Have you read The Art of Gathering?

Surprised – by my husband.  While I was away, he polished all of my great-grandma's silver(!)  A gift from my grandma, when I first married, so many years ago.  She even commissioned a special box to hold them all.

“But, I hadn't thought about it in such a long time.”

“They're far too special to be in storage.”

Mostly – It's been a quiet September.  I've been testing the waters about a side-project (or two) that may or may not come to fruition.   The process has felt like a welcome shift, and I've been losing myself in the best of ways

Thinking – this morning about a story I read once about a chef who loved to work.  He waltzed around his kitchen, serenading the vegetables, and juggling fruit.  Next to the deep freeze was a record player with Brahms spinning.  He'd work alone for days, with nary a thought about the outside world.  Until he'd notice an avocado was too soft, a tomato slightly bruised

With it came the realization that it had been several days since he'd even left the house.  And so: he'd wrap a trenchcoat around his apron, throw a hat over his head, and schlep over to the market to restock his pantry.  The neighborhood grocer, noting the chef's longer-than-usual absence, couldn't help but ask

“Where've ‘ya been?”

To which the chef would smile and offer the same answer: “On holiday.”

(September, 2019 – The Bakeaway in New Orleans hosted by Joy the Baker)

I don't propose that side-hustles are anything close to utopia, and of course, work is .. well, it's still work.   But to offer dreams a chance, amid life's everydays?  To juggle apples, and then some?

Let's just say .. I'm getting better at recognizing life's (many) gifts when I see them

Wishing – For you, a happy and peaceful rest of your week.  As always, sending big hugs and lots of love.  Thanks so much for being here.



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  • Reply Logan September 24, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Such a sweet post. I always smile at the way you weave stories about about the simple things into such rich descriptions of people. It makes me feel like your family and friends are neighbors

  • Reply Cait September 26, 2019 at 2:16 am

    Ali, I’ve read your blog for years and years now, and you write so beautifully, like I’ve always hoped to write, and your little piece about the chef just about made me cry. Its lovely, and touching. Just popping in to let you know.

  • Reply Emily September 28, 2019 at 5:52 am

    Thank you for sharing so honestly and generously. I have loved the last years of posts as you reflect on the huge changes in your life. Life, relationships, identity–all are so much more complicated than we sometimes assume.

  • Reply Elizabeth O September 29, 2019 at 5:54 am

    I just spent hours catching up on all your posts I missed… Starting from September 2018. A lot of good things have happened for you, and your documented reflections and recipes have been both astonishing and healing. Congratulations on your reconciliation and graduation!
    You are a gifted writer, and reading each post made me think of you, the power of taking small but decisive steps, and how much what we do makes a difference. I loved the Paula interviews and insights because they spoke to me and my own journey as an educator and yogini/mediator. Keep up the great work. You are loved and blessed. 🙂

  • Reply Margarita October 1, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Your writing feels like a hug from a dear friend, intimate, honest, and full of warmth. You were the very first blog I every signed up for and you are still my favorite.

  • Reply Carla October 3, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Your writing is a pleasure with bittersweet pangs. I read to the end and wanted to go straight back to the beginning.

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