A Pastry Pilgrimage to San Francisco

San-Francisco

 

Traveling with my family is not for the faint hearted. Nor is it for the sightseers, the hikers or the museum wanderers. Sure, we do a little of that when we explore a new place, but all those activities are the background, done partly out of obligation to the idea of the classic tourist.  They are “well we are in Florence so I suppose we should take a peek at the Uffizi” or ” well we are in Venice, so I suppose we should take a gondola ride.” ( I have a thing for Italy).

 

Traveling with the Cerquitellas is for the ever-voracious, the espresso sippers and those with a high threshold for teasing and tolerating a constant high pitched stream of chatter. There are a lot of girls in my family. And somehow, when we are all together, our voices all turn morph into the same high shriek while the males stare in abject horror at what their wives/girlfriends have turned into. Oh boys. Just wait till the Dutch Blitz cards come out.

 

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A few months ago my mom called to propose a Pastry Pilgrimage to  San Francisco, inspired by Bon Appetit’s August article. My older sister was working in LA in early December and we could all meet up for a quick jaunt to eat our way through San Francisco. DONE.

 

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First stop was b. patisserie.  Our hotel was out by the airport, so to get into the city we had to use a “Yuber” as my mother called it. Adorable but tiny, this bakery was filled with the crispiest, most gorgeous croissants I’ve ever seen. It was also overflowing with slim, yoga pants clad middle aged women. Why they all had nowhere else to be on a Friday morning I do not know. Were buttery confections the usual post-workout meal in San Francisco? We had decided to get a little to eat at a lot of places this weekend so we tried not to overdo it at our first place. One chocolate kouign amann and a gougère would certainly tide us over for a bit.

Nope. Mom insisted we get a passion fruit tart as well. So much for our plan.

 

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Then we walked. Walked and walked. I’m pretty certain we walked around 20 miles over the 3 days we traipsed around San Francisco. Wandering in and out of stores, poking around vintage kitchen ware stores, corner liquor stores and more gifty shops than I ever thought existed. Sharing a slice of toast at The Mill was a delicious and slightly pretentious experience. It isn’t normal to be condescended to while ordering toast at a coffee shop is it? Well, maybe if they are charging $4 for a slice of toast they can. The cafe was pretty and minimal with ultra cool customers and gorgeous bread. Now that I think of it, that entire aesthetic and character was a theme for San Francisco. Everywhere was artistically curated, snobby with impeccable gluten items.

 

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Our objective was The Mission District. Tartine to be exact. Tales of its bread and pastries are epic and that was our landmark of orientation to the rest of the city. Hearing of its ludicrious lines, we were prepared for a wait. However, 3:30 on a Friday proved to have a very small line. Score! Thinking of Tartine immediately brings to mind brown, blistered, crusty and flour specked loafs but, upon entering the bakery there was not a loaf to be found. Had we missed them all?! Was the entire trip for naught!?  Were we doomed to suffer through this banana cream pie with no hope of ending our afternoon with a bite of a crackling, warm, buttered baguette?

 

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Not to fear. As it turns out, Tartine brings out its famous loaves after 4:30 daily. Something about toast for breakfast and fresh bread for dinner. So we were just a bit early, which was fine as we made my sister wait in line for a couple loaves the next day.

 

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Saturday, we grabbed a hotel shuttle into downtown where Mom found a Ferrari store and practically ran there. Cause, you know she is always on the lookout for a luxury vehicle. Thankfully it was empty and shut down. Seems she was the only one looking for a Ferrari in San Francisco. We ended up at The Ferry Building where the weekly farmer’s market was set up. Any food lover must visit this mecca of gorgeous foodstuffs and quirky gift shops. Samples galore: cheese, burnt caramel, granola and ice cream. Everything “artisanal” and “hand crafted”. Everything impeccably packaged and lust worthy.

Breakfast was Blue Bottle coffee with a couple Craftsman and Wolves scones at their farmer’s market stands. We had stopped by Craftsman and Wolves location in the Mission the day before, but were too full to do more than ooh and ahh over their masterfully artistic baked sweets. These scones were small and just packed with flavor. We swooned especially over the thai curry coconut. Walking around food stands for hours certainly gives you an appetite so we soon needed a small lunch.

Knowing we’d never get in for dinner, we opted for a quick shared lunch at The Slanted Door. This is how we riff raff do fancy dining. We shared a vegetable spring roll and asian pear salad. Yes, we also shared a boozy cocktail and it was only noon. But, you know, YOLO. Perfect, perfect lunch.

 

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Afterwards, we were on a mission to find Lombard Street, our one tourist trap. This was due to a scene in our family movie, What’s Up Doc, having a car chase scene down the crooked street.  This meant we walked up, up, up. Which also meant when we finally reached the top and took the requisite photos, we took off our shoes and both walked sock footed for the next mile or so, downhill this time.

 

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More walking, through parks, beaches, wharfs and into old pier buildings brought us to West Coast Craft which was overflowing with gorgeously styled hipsters, weavings, pottery and an almost incredible number of overpriced aprons. A stressful cocktail experience at The Interval at Long Now combined with aching feet made me cranky. So we “Yuber-ed” it to meet my sister who was chomping on a fresh, warm loaf of bread on the corner outside Tartine.

Dinner was multiple sides, burrata and a pizza at Pizzeria Delifina. Simple, elegant and inviting we gabbed in between moans of pleasure. Afterwards, Mom needed her mandatory nightly treat and so we hopped into Dandelion Chocolate where all was laid out like a museum display.

 

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I was leaving Sunday afternoon and was so destined to lug around my suitcase on our travels the last day. My Tartine loaf safely tucked away inside comprised approximately 5 lbs of my bag’s total weight. Numerous times I dallied with the idea of tossing out items to lighten the load, but abandoning that glutenous loaf of crusty perfection was never even a fleeting option.

 

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Our breakfast was at the irresistibly charming 20th Century Cafe, which reminded us of our Eastern European past.  I wish I got had gotten a picture of the top of their seed and salt encrusted bagel. Gorgeous. You’ll have to just go yourself.  A couple coffees and savory bites enlivened our spirits to explore the surrounding neighborhoods. A million more gift stores, candy shoppes and incredibly overpriced clothing boutiques later, our appetites had returned.

 

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2 Sisters Used Books and Bar was an ideal final stop for me. Dark and cozy with a cushioned reading window, we sat snug at the lower bar. Presented with a cheese plate which included a surprise bundle of roasted garlic prompted all three of us to gasp in delight simultaneously. The three luxurious deviled eggs were sublime. Lounging, we sipped, nibbled, chatted and Instagramed.

 

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After many more hills and miles wrestling my bread laden luggage, it was time for me to grab a BART to the airport. A delightfully delicious trip all around. We Cerqs travel right.

 

 

Food Themed Gift Guide

If you are still in the throes of gift buying, here are a few ideas that are food related for the kid, bacon lover, art appreciator, game player and Do It Yourself-er.

 

Gift-Guide-2014

Kids book, Calendar, Coffee print, Foodie game, Coffee and espresso mug,
Camping dinners, DIY bacon, Food writing course, Tea kettle, Carry on cocktail kit,
Traveling coffee kit, Bitters kit, Uuni wood oven, Cutting board

Boot Stuffers

Ok, now that Thanksgiving has passed I give my permission for everyone to start with the Christmasey things. Caroling, twinkle lights, pine boughs and all manner of red and green. I’m sure you all waited until I gave my go ahead and I really appreciate that. One holiday at a time people.

Christmas is the one time during the year that all 7 members of my family get together. We are scattered across the country and have gained a few members in the last couple years, so this year will be particularly epic. I’m a very strict traditionalist, and so see myself as the Enforcer to make sure we continue with all the little things we do every year. For instance, instead of stockings we leave out winter boots on Christmas Eve, as an homage to our Hungarian history. On December 6th, Hungarian children leave out their boots for Szent Miklós to fill with treats.  Our boots are usually filled little knick-knacks, goodies, small makeup items and sometimes little clues to larger presents.

Below is a little Stocking/Boot Stuffer Guide, for food lovers obviously. Hope it gives you some inspiration! Merry happy!

 

Stocking-Stuffers-Gift-Guide

 Whetstone, Veggie Tattoos, Produce Sheets, Parchment and Lemon Wraps, Canned OctopusCheese Labels, Crack Pie Mix, Heirloom Seeds

Brussels and Apples

Brussels-and-Apples-salad

 

 

Lately, my favorite day of the week is Thursday.

 

Thursday means a new episode of Serial which I listen to on my bus ride to work in the morning. As it ends, with Sarah mysteriously hinting next week’s episode with her loaded “Next week… on Serial”, I literally shake my fist at the sky in frustration and suspense. Thursday morning also means that no one sits next to me on the bus…  Have you been listening to Serial? You need to listen and then talk to me about it. The storytelling is gripping and it is all the more intense knowing that the producers are still investigating and don’t really know how it is all going to turn out in the end. Though I wish I could binge listen to them all in a day, it is probably good for me to be forced to wait a week between installments. An exercise in patience, delayed gratification and fully digesting a chapter before moving on to the next. Rare in this age of Netflix and watching a season of a show in a day. Thursday also means a new Spilled Milk episode and a leisurely happy hour at Sun Liquor for Brandon’s “Friday ” night. Thursday means the work week is winding down, yet don’t worry about getting everything done because there is still tomorrow.

It is glorious to enjoy where you work everyday so you aren’t desperate for the light at the end of the tunnel, otherwise known as the weekend. The actual workday has more positives in it than just a midday meal. The other day, I didn’t quite have the time or desire to create anything elaborate to bring to work for lunch. I threw a handful of brussels sprouts, an apple and a corner of parmesan cheese in a bag and whipped up a simple vinaigrette to assemble at lunch time. Turns out, this was crispy, crunchy and autumnal with a nice savory essence from the dijon dressing. Super simple and it has got to be healthy since it has fruit AND vegetables right? Winning. Also, shaving parmesan on a microplane is super therapeutic. Delicate, gently falling tendrils mesmerize until you realize there is now a mountain of powdery cheese on your salad. Eh, there are worse things.

 

 

 Apple and Brussels Sprout Salad

 

Peel off the outer layer of 7-12 brussels sprouts, depending on how large you want your salad. Slice or use a mandoline to shred them into strips. Choose an apple that is crisp, not mushy or overly juicy or sweet. Dice and toss with your shredded sprouts. Mix a couple glugs of olive oil, a bit of lemon juice, a spoonful of Dijon, small squeeze of honey, salt and pepper till it emulsifies. I like to use a mason jar, screw on the lid and shake it like my life depended on it or I was Taylor Swift being judged. Pour your vinaigrette over your sprouts and apples and toss to combine it all. Top with a little salt and black pepper. Shave parmesan or another similar cheese on top. And thats lunch! I bet a side of some warm bread with a smathering of blue cheese would be a nice companion.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

 

Creamy-Curry-Cauliflower-soup

 

 

Soup season has arrived.

 

This, my second, Autumn in the Pac Northwest has been a bit more damp than the first one. Soggy, vibrant leaves are crushed underfoot and eventually create outlines, almost fossil-like imprints in the sidewalk. As long as I’ve got my rainboots on and a mug of something warm is within arm’s reach, I am totally on board with all of it.

I been working at my new job for a month now. Going to work everyday in a gorgeous cookbook store with incredible events, and working alongside smart, amusing and hardworking people has done wonders for my disposition. I’m spoiled and it has made the months and months of job searching, applications, interviews and almost-but-not-quite-what-we-are-looking-for’s worth it. Which makes it quite impossible to see this blustery fall as a negative.

It is dark by the time I get home now, and I’m often just a tad carsick from the 8 bus’s constant stop and go while overflowing with riders. They really need to get on top of things with that bus route. It is out of control. Anyway, though surrounded by cookbooks and constant food creativity, sometimes one is just too tired or overwhelmed to create anything gourmet for dinner. Most often, I just require an aromatic, flavorful dinner that induces warmth, comfort and satisfaction. Plus, my immersion blender is so fun to use and it makes my soups seem lavish. With a smooth,puréed soup you can pour that fancy flourish of golden olive oil on top which instantly elevates a simple soup to 11.

 

 

 Creamy Curry Cauliflower Soup

adapted from The Kitchn 

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Cut up a large head of cauliflower into florets, toss with olive oil, salt, black pepper and a couple dashes of cumin. Roast in the oven, stirring occasionally till lightly toasty and browned, about 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile heat up some olive oil in your soup pot and dice up a large sweet onion and 3-5 garlic cloves. Once the oil is hot, cook the onions with some salt until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Toss in the garlic and cook until slightly browned. When the cauliflower is done roasting, add it to the soup pot and stir together. Add about 5 cups of vegetable broth and stir to combine. Cover until it starts to simmer. Add a couple pinches of salt, and 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of coriander and any other of these types of spices that strike your fancy. Adjust these to your taste. Let the soup simmer for about 10-15 minutes or so to let the flavors all meld. Take off the heat and blend, using an immersion blender or carefully using a regular blender. Pour 1 cup of half/half or milk or coconut milk into the soup and stir to mix or re-blend to combine.  Return the soup to the stove and keep on low to keep it hot as you come back for seconds and thirds. Taste it to see if your seasonings need adjusting. Dish out into bowls and top with a curl of olive oil, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and fresh black pepper.

All soups need a warm, bready substance as a delivery system and my favorite with this is Trader Joe’s frozen garlic naan. Spread a bit of butter on top and toast in the oven for a couple minutes and you’ve reached absolute dinner perfection.

 

 

 

 

Salmon Salad

Salmon-Salad

 

Last Wednesday was my one year anniversary of living in Seattle. One year in and already on my second apartment and second job.  “It’s all happening!”

 

I’ve never cooked fish before moving here and what better place to start than the paradise known as the Pacific Northwest? I’ve always felt that salmon occupies such extremes. Done well, it is fantastic and over done, it is traumatic. Nervous to join the ranks of the monsters who overcook salmon, I just recently gathered courage enough to make some for dinner.

A few weekends ago I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference here in Seattle and one of the highlights of the entire weekend was the Bristol Bay Salmon table at the opening reception. I ate like 5 salmon cakes, each dunked in a pool of lemon dill aioli. Buoyed and inspired, I turned to Not Without Salt’s recipe for a simple salmon  and chickpea salad as a way to test the waters.  All the fish needed was seasoning with salt and pepper, a slathering of Dijon and about 20 minutes in the oven. I could do that! Reader, I did. And I jumped for joy when it came out just as it should, moist and flaky.

This salad was so simple and perfectly fresh and flavorful. I opted to toast the chickpeas to add some crunch. Oh, I also nixed the olives since they are gross. Capers gave me enough of a Mediterranean feel.

 

 

Salmon Salad with Cumin Toasted Chickpeas

- adapted from Not Without Salt’s Salmon and Chickpea Salad

 

Place your pretty in pink salmon fillets on a tray lined with parchment. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on top of the salmon and spread a healthy dose of Dijon on top. Bake in the preheated (350°F) for 20 minutes or until it is done.

While it bakes, chop up 1 small red onion, a handful of capers and some cherry tomatoes. Whisk up 1/4 cup of olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and one minced shallot to form a quick vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper and pour over the onions, capers and tomatoes. Let sit to absorb flavors.

Heat up canola oil in a skillet. Drain 1 can of chickpeas and add to the skillet once the oil is hot. Season with salt, pepper and a few dashes of cumin. Stir every so often, letting them pop and get crispy. Should take about 7-9 minutes or so. Once they are done, lay them out on a paper towel to drain and let cool.

Once the salmon is done and cooled a bit, break it up into smaller pieces. Add some chopped fresh herbs like dill, basil or parsley along with mixed greens to the bowl with the marinating onions, capers and tomatoes. Add the cooled chickpeas and salmon. Maybe a bit of feta if you are feeling it. Toss it together and eat!

As Ashley suggested, I took the leftovers to work as a sandwich and I did not regret it.

 

 

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T & C visit

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When I get the news that out of town friends are coming to visit, I immediately start planning their itinerary around consuming food and beverages. Great skill and deep thought go into these food themed tours to be sure to hit the requisite tourists spots as well as all the restaurants I save for special occasions with a few scenic views scattered about.

This was no different when Brandon’s brother and his really ridiculously good looking wife came to visit us. Tyler and Christiana, of T&C Photographie, have impeccable taste and an expert eye which meant they needed nothing less than the Luxe Brabby Tour of Seattle.

 

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Starting the morning with iced coffees from Analog, we then wandered down the hill to end up at Pike Place Market. Here we wandered a bit to see our favorite spots. Confession: I still don’t get the fish throwing guys… I don’t think I ever will. No trip to the market is complete without a refreshingly zesty Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Necessary since everyday in Seattle is 80 degrees and sunny.

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Continuing our traipsing, we wandered Pioneer Square and sat at The London Plane for lunch. I’ve been waiting to take Christina here since I first saw it, as its style and airiness is just her aesthetic. We shared a few small plates, though I think it was the bread and spreads that was the unanimous favorite. After lusting after the server’s aprons, I finally asked where they were from and subsequently have a new Christmas wish item. One Hedley and Bennett apron please!

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Needing to walk off our lunch a bit, we hiked home and drove to coffee at Slate, where the lovely Chelsea curated a tasting for us while I read my Cherry Bombe, as pictured above.

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Before dinner, we took T&C to Golden Gardens to show off the views Seattle offers.

 

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Essex not only consistently yields some of my favorite drinks in the city, their glassware is uniquely gorgeous. We slowly sipped our cocktails while munching on a few small plates. It is tricky, this Essex and Delancey thing since you want to eat everything at Essex but you know you need to save room for the star of the show next door.

 

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My favorite is always the white pizza topped with whatever the daily offerings are. Sadly, I again did not have any room for this perfect chocolate chip cookie so I was forced to carry it around and munch on it throughout the night. Utter torment.

 

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The next morning we brunched at Arabica , then road tripped down to Lincoln City, Oregon. The boys found some choice tunes from Brandon’s teenage years and for some reason found great pleasure in torturing us girls with its nonsense. Luckily we were treated to fantastical scenery that distracted us from the pain in our ears.

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T&C’s trip was way too short, and with so many restaurants in Seattle it is imperative that they return. But we look forward to visiting them in North Carolina this October!

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An Herbaceous Corn Salad

herb-and-corn-salsa

 

 

I whipped this up and had it in my mind that it was a salad, then I noticed a bag of tortilla chips on the counter and somehow the corn salad ended up perched on a chip and suddenly, it became a salsa.

I’m well aware that it is incredibly boring to talk about the weather, but just bear with me because we have been abused with a seemingly endless monotony of 85 degree weather with clear, blue skies and it is getting out of control. I was actually excited when there was a relatively cool, overcast day last week. Seattle is magical. It takes me to places I never thought I’d go, like craving cloudy skies.

During all this sunny, sweltering weather I’ve craved light, fresh and flavorful salads. Pairing this herby, corny salad with chips and an ice-cold gin and tonic (with extra lime!) is definitely what you should have for dinner.

 

 Herb and Corn Salad/Salsa

Shuck 4 ears of corn. Coat two in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil/Grill those 2 ears of corn until beautifully charred. They should get a nice dark brown, but don’t burn them for God’s sake. Check on them every few minutes and turn to make sure they brown evenly.

Cut off the kernels of the remaining two cob ears of corn. (Food 52’s tips on how to do this safely and cleanly here). Add kernels to a bowl. Dice up a about half a small red onion and a jalapeno into very small pieces. Add to the kernels. Chop up whatever fresh herbs strike your fancy. Here I used cilantro, flat leaf parsley, chives and a bit of mint. Whichever you prefer and however much you’d like. Add it all to the bowl and add some crumbles of cojita or queso fresco.

Mix up a quick vinaigrette with olive oil, lime juice, a dash of cumin, salt, pepper and thinly sliced shallots. Pour over the corn and herb mixture, stir to combine and let sit in the fridge until the charred corn is done to let the herbs wilt just a bit. Once the charred corn is done ( and cool enough to handle!), chop off those gorgeously tanned kernels and add to your bowl. Mix it all up and serve with tortilla chips and a chilled beverage.

 

I added a can of black beans and few handfuls of massaged kale to the leftovers and took it to work for a lunch that was the envy of all.

 

Practice makes … better

Lemon,-garlic-and-herbs

 

 

Though there are endless quotes and stories of people who achieve incredible things after a myriad of failings, it is still intimidating to begin or jump in to something new. Sure, these stories and quotes are inspirational and motivational for a moment, but what keeps you working, toiling, searching and plodding along in failure or mediocrity until you reach something akin to success? Obviously, it must be due mostly to some innate tenacity within the individual which is how they, the few, become lauded. I’m really not trying to say anything vital here, just thinking in writing and lately I’ve been asking myself why I get intimidated to begin something new.

“Well, I don’t know how to do that!” is what I tell myself. But that isn’t a good enough excuse not to begin to learn something! How are you  supposed to just KNOW something without any learning, experimenting, practicing and exploration?

“But I’m not talented enough!” Pfft, so damn what. Is something only fun, challenging and exciting if it comes out perfect and world changing? Sure, that is exciting, but it isn’t the point of creating and doing something you enjoy, to actually ENJOY it?

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For our 1 year anniversary, the spouse got me a little light so I wouldn’t have any more excuses not to practice food photography. For a while now, I’ve blamed the lighting and the grotesque countertops that populate our kitchen as the reason why I cannot possibly play with food, camera and photoshop. Sure those are real, but they are just stupid excuses because I know that the photos I take in this unpracticed state won’t look amazing. Which is why I don’t practice. WHERE IS THE LOGIC? Precisely. There is none in this argument.

As someone who prizes logic and sense above all, I shouldn’t let it continue. I love following food bloggers with incredible photography ( Cannelle et Vanille, Local Milk, Leela Cyd), which is inspirational but it also tends to shut me down since I assume the first photo I take won’t be as good as their most recent one. And why should it without the education and carefully practiced skill they have? Anyway, this entire rant, Gollum style, is just to say that I want to push myself to practice many different skills, projects and techniques in the future. And I want to post it here as a way to see the growth that will (hopefully) occur and to not let non-perfection damper practice.

The practice

 

 

I’ve been taking Skillshare classes on Indesign, hand lettering and food photography. While watching the hand lettering one, I almost fell into the another trap after seeing how incredible  Mary Kate McDevitt’s lettering was. Because obviously she came out of the womb with a freshly sharpened pencil and a perfectly calligraphied message, “Hello World”. But as I kept watching, she continued to erase, and start huge chunks of her project over if they didn’t look right. Her gorgeous final project was not a first draft, or a second or even a 10th. She erased, started over, traced and re-sketched continually. Her exquisitely whimsical end was the result not only of an official education and personal talent, but a dedication to her craft and the hard work it will take to get there. I’ve learned many fun things from that class, but I keep going back to that “lesson”.

 

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Another story that I keep going back to is Julia Child. Anyone who has turned on a stove to cook something probably looks to Julia, but I recently read “My Life in Paris” which just shocked me with how (relatively) late in life she officially learned how to cook. She started taking cooking classes at age 37 and it took 10 years of intense writing, cooking and experimenting to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Just think of that when you are like 23 and dramatically lamenting that you don’t know what to do with your life. Also, this quaintly illustrated book about her life looks delightful.

What are you too intimated to begin for lack of knowledge and experience? Lets both through nonsensical intimidation out the window and get to work.

“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake”

For July, the Kitchen Reader book club read “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake“.  

 

Lately I’ve been gravitating towards books about food whether that be day in the life’s,  memoirs or essays on women chefs. Before this, I would almost exclusively read novels. But since getting on this food book kick, I’ve stuck with non-fiction since that seems to be the most common type in the gastronomic genre.  The Kitchen Reader book club selected a novel for its July selection and I was intrigued. I went through a few different levels of interest while reading this book.

I know, never judge a book by its cover but you know what, I do. At least initially. That is what catches your eye and piques your interest. Or, at least it is supposed to. This cover paired with its cloying title immediately made me think it was going to be about some lovesick career woman who can’t find love when its right in front of her and wallows in lemon cake. Eye roll. Who wants to read that? As I sat down to read it, preparing my eyes for rolling, I discovered it wasn’t about this at all. The premise was quite interesting and I became curious. It took a bit to reel me in, but after actual things started to happen I was intrigued. Though I couldn’t help but be disgusted by the protagonist’s necessary diet of factory created food, I was a fan of the idea that she could taste the feelings of the people who created her meals. We all do that a bit right? A rushed plate of spaghetti and carefully prepared ravioli with perfectly crinkled edges will be completely different. I enjoyed this phenomenon being explored in a charmingly mysterious way.

However, I soon became quite frustrated. The story, while unpredictable, went to places that I didn’t feel I could follow. I wanted to keep her “power” and its origins more of a secret and some of the revelations seemed incoherent or quite frankly, kind of dumb. The explanations were hard to follow and Rose became harder and harder to understand. The non-culmination of her romantic feelings was not explained in any sort of satisfactory manner and I was just continually frustrated by the lack of communication and relation between all of the characters. I just couldn’t understand it or get behind it. Once Rose starts to cook for herself things picked up a bit, but again the explanations of her own feelings didn’t make sense to me. I’m not really one for poetry and some reviews I’ve read of this novel mentioned that it was like poetry. Maybe that’s why I liked the initial conceit, but not much else. I do wish I had some cake though…