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Summer Reading and a Snack

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Hiiiiii, I am back from my honeymoon and pale as ever. How is that possible when I spent 14 days basking in the Italian sun, you ask? Well first of all sunblock, because I have an Irish complexion and one must protect that shit or else, and second of all, I spent most of my honeymoon in the ideal state, which is to say curled up with a book, a glass of wine in hand, safe from the sun. I mean sure, occasionally I took my book to a lawn chair in front of some rolling Tuscan hills, but even in those circumstances I managed to fashion a hat for myself out of a sweater, or find an umbrella under which to hide. It was great. I ate so much pasta. I drank a million glasses of wine. I discovered my favorite new snack (more on that below). And finally, after two weeks of intensive research—by which I mean partaking in the above activities—I came up with a very official and super scientific list of fun books to read this summer. Do you need a great summer read or two? Do you consider “summer reads” to be books that are funny and entertaining but also sometimes depressing and possibly super upsetting? What about books about alcoholism? Good, these picks are for you! Read them while you eat some dip—inspired by a really great riff on papa al pomodoro I ate while on vacation—and drink Tram’s excellent summer cocktail. Do you have additional summer book recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments!  Read more

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Do you like macarons? Avocado toast? Matcha?

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Hello? Is there anybody out there? We apologize for our absence! Lucy and I have been up to our necks in writing, painting, and testing recipes for the book (also, hanging out this past weekend in Chicago—presumably to get some “work” done, but really just mainlining Gilmore Girls episodes on Netflix), but as soon as we knock this manuscript out we will be back with new recipes and embarrassing personal anecdotes in a few weeks.*

While we get our acts together, might we suggest you check out the nominees for Saveur’s 2015 Blog Awards? They assembled this list of the best and the brightest, whittled down from an impressive 50,000 submissions this year. Come vote for your favorites and discover a few new food blogs to follow. Voting is open until April 30th. Oh, and we were judges for the first round!

Warning: Completely irrelevant GG rants below the jump. Feel free to weigh in on the debate if you are also a big nerd. :)

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WWLCD?

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It’s a testament to the infectiousness of Colwin’s enthusiasm that her recipes seem appealing even though the food she described was often unappealing to the point of being categorically gross – and she knew it. Her favorite foods include mashed vegetable fritters, meatloaf, steamed puddings, and the jelly that surrounds cold leftover meat, spread on toast and eaten for breakfast. Her enthusiasm for fermented Chinese black beans is boundless, and in several of her recipes these salty, pungent beans are combined with cheese, or yams. “A cold steak sandwich is sort of disgusting, but it is also sort of wonderful,” she confesses, after specifying that this sandwich must include the hardened cold meat drippings, plus butter, because “this is a recipe for people whose cholesterol is too low.” And “Chicken salad has a certain glamour about it.” In a chapter titled “Kitchen Horrors,” she includes a recipe for something called Suffolk Pond Pudding, a suet-heavy British dish that a horrified guest describes as tasting “like lemon-flavored bacon fat.” “I ate almost the entire pudding myself,” she gleefully reports. It’s also refreshing to read a cookbook written by someone who unabashedly confesses to having made baked chicken and a particular creamed spinach casserole literally every time dinner guests came over — for years.

 

This essential weirdness translates to a sense of unlimited permission, which might be why Colwin is especially beloved to people who, like her, specialize in writing non-expert, enthusiastic reports from the front lines of cooking trial and error – in other words, food bloggers. Indeed, some of them see her less as influence than as a sort of spiritual ancestor.

-Friend of the blog Emily Gould on Laurie Colwin.

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Holiday Cheer

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I‘m not one for romantic Valentine’s Day celebrations. The first time I had a boyfriend on this holiday, in high school, I skipped the first half of the school day so I wouldn’t have to face some embarrassing display of V Day-related affection. When I finally did show up at school, an hour before it was over, the boy cornered me in the parking lot and gave me a love poem he had hand-written on a pink and red construction paper heart. I’m not proud to admit I broke up with him the next week.

I found my perfect Valentine’s Day boyfriend in Rob, who has never given me a gift or in any other way acted foolish on this sentimental, made-up holiday. Often he’s working and I watch figure skating in bed with my cat, eating both a donut and pancakes, because why not? This year, however, Rob has been bullied into buying me flowers by the people who are doing our wedding decorations (how do you tactfully say “no thanks,” when your wedding florist tells you to buy your girlfriend flowers?), so I figure I will do my part, too. By that I mean I plan to make myself a devil’s food cake from the Tartine cookbook, and when he arrives home from work late at night I will have saved him a slice. Was I going to make this cake anyway, for non-Valentine’s Day related purposes? Yes. Does he know that? Well, maybe he does now, I can never really tell how frequently he reads this blog. But whatever. As long as he doesn’t write me any love poems, and as long as he treats me like a divine goddess every day for eternity, I’ll be happy.