A sliced egg and avocado smørrebød plus some (rather big) news

March 30, 2013 § 56 Comments

egg avocado smorrebrod 2

I went a little insane this last week.  I went for a walk with the dog and didn’t need to wear a hat.  My face didn’t feel cold at all.  I knew intellectually that was possible, but I had actually kind of forgotten what that felt like.  And I was like, “SPRING!!!!!”

So then I decided we were going to celebrate both Passover and Easter – Joel’s background is Jewish and mine is Lutheran, so I figured we were allowed.  We (ok, really it’s me, but Joel goes along with it so well) are extremely attracted by events, holidays, and meals steeped in symbolism, and  both Passover and Easter are ideal for this.  In addition to planning big meals for each holiday, I also decided it would be best if we made all of our own matzoh and Easter candy homemade.  No problem, right?  Ha.  I feel like my every spare moment has been in the kitchen, which I don’t really mind.  But, then my advisor finally sent me comments back on one of my dissertation drafts, so I was supposed to be editing that too.  Oops.

But, so far, it’s all been totally worth it.  And as long as the lamb cake I’m currently baking comes out of the mold without its face falling apart, then I feel like we’re ready to rock and roll.

peeling boiled egghard boiled egg shells

It feels amazing to have my energy coming back because I’ve been pretty exhausted for the last couple months…Which brings me to our very big news.  It, as you may have already guessed, has everything to do with an entirely different sort of, shall we say, baking project, with buns in ovens, and all.  And I don’t mean the hot cross kind.

That is to say, come late September we’re expecting a new family member to join our little family!(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  We couldn’t be more thrilled.  Or terrified, of course. « Read the rest of this entry »

Some thoughts on diets and eating

March 2, 2013 § 41 Comments

shower feast

Shuffle shuffle shuffle, shplop, clump, clump, clump…(that’s the sound of me hauling in and climbing up on my soap box, actually no, let’s go with it being me setting up my 2 cents booth, and special for you, today only, there’s no charge!…)

So a study came out and suddenly everyone’s all abuzz with the Mediterranean Diet all over again.  Perhaps you’ve heard?

Which I suppose must be nice for the Mediterranean Diet and all, given it was probably feeling a little dusty and lonely and ignored from several years of being quite out of the spotlight.  And maybe, if things go well, it’ll get some people to eat a little extra olive oil and seafood.

But, here’s what I worry.  I worry that this is just going to add back one more way we measure ourselves and judge ourselves when it comes to what we eat.  It provides one more set of potential boxes to constantly fret about ticking off so that we can feel good about ourselves because we “were good” that day, and to feel bad about ourselves if we deviate from because we “were bad” that day.

This is actually my problem with all the diets I hear about these days be they “paleo,” “vegan,” “raw,” “4-hour body,” “bullet proof,” or what have you.  It’s not a problem with the diets themselves, actually, but a problem with how we – or, well, let’s personalize this, how I – respond to them emotionally.  They make me judge myself.  And if there’s one thing I don’t need extra help with, it’s judging myself.  I’m super good at that all on my own, thanks.

When I’m trying to adhere to one of these carefully delineated ways of eating it becomes a constant rating game, just like so much of the rest of life can feel.  When I’m getting praise at work or I’m on a run of eating no grains at all or something, inside I start jabbering, “I get a star for this, ooh that means I’m a good person. Must try to maintain stars at all costs”… and then I get worn out and feel bad about myself because I’m just trying to maintain my internal idea of how many stars I have, and then I do something “wrong,” like eat a scone or get a negative comment back from a journal I’ve submitted a paper to.  “I get a big black X for that, oh no! disaster!! despair!!!!!!  I must be a bad person.  I am a horrible person…”  And then I feel bad about myself.

Either way, it turns out, I feel bad about myself because I tie myself to my rating system of the moment (and I have a feeling I can’t possibly be the only one who does this, including with regards to food).  And with diets, this winds up making me feel frightened of my food.  And I’m quite certain that when you’re frightened of your food, it can’t really nourish you, no matter how many micronutrients it might contain. « Read the rest of this entry »

The best gift is the giving

December 4, 2012 § 12 Comments

Hi guys!  I’m still in Boston for work, but all the visiting of friends (not to mention our department holiday party last night) has left me with holiday gifts on my mind.  I’m not a particularly good gift giver.  As soon as I start trying to figure out what to give to someone specific, my mind goes blank.  Kind of like when someone asks what the word for (fill in the blank) is, and I immediately can’t remember even though I totally know it.

So, I love gift guides because they get my wheels turning, and now and then I’ll see something that makes me think of someone, and I get that blissful aha! moment.  And I know what to do.  Because, even though I’m not particularly good at giving gifts, I do enjoy it immensely.

Anyhow, with that in mind, I thought I’d put together my own little gift guide of things (mostly food related) I’ve seen here and there that I really love, and therefore am inclined to believe that at least a couple other people in the world might love as well.   Also!  A few of the things below are from the Food52 shop.  They’ve started to curate a collection of wonderful, high-quality products from artisan producers and make them available to home cooks through their website.  I am a big, make that HUGE, fan of collections of things that have been pre-assembled for me by people of remarkable taste.  It saves me a lot of aches and pains caused by the choice paradox.  You should go check them out particularly because they’re letting me share a promotion with you.  Woo!  Holiday promotions!  If you enter a code you can save an extra 10% on shop items.  The details of the promotion are at the end of the post.

And now, some things I love…


One of my best friends gave me these coasters for my birthday.  She knows me too well.  They’re wonderful and you should get them for someone too!

« Read the rest of this entry »

A little of my lately*

November 19, 2012 § 14 Comments

*to borrow a lovely phrase from Herriott Grace.

Well dear friends, in spite of promises to myself and others that I would take plenty of pictures on this trip, my camera has yet to be dragged out of my backpack.  Sometimes a camera feels like an extension of my eyes, honing in my gaze, but at other times I feel like it gets in the way of experiencing.  This time has felt like the latter.  But thank goodness for camera phones and spontaneous little snapshots!  I have a handful of those, so I thought I’d share a bit of what we’ve been doing, seeing, and of course, eating…

We flew into Spokane, Washington where we were welcomed by snow and Joel’s parents.  We hung out there for a bit, paying visits to family, friends, and also Dry Fly Distillery, a pioneer of microdistilling in Washington state.

From there we made the long drive to Portland, Oregon where mind-blowing comfort food and craft distilling are as easy to come by as a teacup at a ladies’ luncheon.  Finally, finally, I got to eat lefse wraps (mine was filled with homemade sausage, cabbage, and plum chutney, wow) at Viking Soul Food. Our friend Griff has been sending me pictures of this food cart for the past two years to make me jealous. « Read the rest of this entry »

One year

October 1, 2012 § 28 Comments

There are some important bits and pieces of news to be shared around here, friends.  First, I got bangs.  Whoa.  It’s been several days, but I still do a double take every time I see myself.  And I’m still trying to decide whether it is a good or bad double take.  Time will tell.  (Time will also grow my hair back out, so maybe it won’t tell.  I may be doomed to eternal ambiguity.  Yipes.)

I also saw the preview for the newest season of Downton Abbey.  Oh dear.  Now I won’t be able to sleep until I can watch the full season…and then once it’s on I won’t be able to sleep because I’ll be fretting too much about every one in the show!  Well, mostly I’m just over-invested in Lady Mary’s happiness.  She’s just awesome.  Though not quite as awesome as the Dowager Countess. But that goes without saying.

Oh, it’s also our one year wedding anniversary.  Woo!  Because we decided to go ahead and elope before our wedding, we’ve technically been married for two years and one month.  A month ago we were up in the Northwoods reuning with old friends and we mentioned that it was our anniversary.  “No,” they declared, “your anniversary is in October!”  And you know what, they were the ones who were right.

A marriage and a wedding are about two people, a couple, but they are also about more.  A wedding and a marriage are about love, hope, commitment, about a special occasion but also the day-to-day.  They are about the friends and family, the community, that is there witnessing and supporting the couple who weds.  We knew that then and still focus on that now.  We knew that well enough to be planning a wedding with our community, even as we decided to elope.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Honey Bee latte

September 25, 2012 § 26 Comments

My mother, it appears, is on a mission to get Joel – and me as well, really – thoroughly acquainted with the many wonderful places, resources, and activities available in our new stomping grounds.  We are accepting this mission with enthusiasm.  Two thumbs up for exploring the area!  Especially when it means, as it did this last weekend, going on a tour of some local farmer’s markets, farms, and the charming little town of Bayfield, Wisconsin.

My mom picked us up early Saturday morning in her zippy silver Honda.  It wasn’t exactly still dark, but it was early for most people’s version of a Saturday morning, and there was a frigid nip in the air.  We donned hats, and mittens, and puffy coats and piled into the car with Squid in tow.  We met up with a couple of friends at the bottom of the hill (have I mentioned Duluth is built on a hill? – like San Francisco in extra-miniature), and off we went! « Read the rest of this entry »

The Feast

August 29, 2012 § 4 Comments

Hello dears!  We rolled into Minnesota last night around midnight after approximately 5 bazillion hours of traveling.  But we’re here!  It’s amazing!  Now we have a lot of unloading to do.  Uffdah.

But, I had to stop in here quick to share a little bit more excitement.  Perhaps you remember the Feast of Nationalistic Proportions I hosted back at the very beginning of summer.  Perhaps you don’t.  Either way, I am thrilled to say that all this week, a series of articles I wrote about it are being featured over on Food52, one article each day. The brilliant folks at Food52, among their many fun and creative ideas, have been hosting a series called Big Feast.  And, my feast is this month’s feast (eee!  I’m so excited!!).  So, you should definitely go check them out to read all about the planning, cooking, and hosting process of the party.

The first article (from Monday) is: The Big Idea

The second (from yesterday) is: Creating a menu of Nationalistic Proportions

There will be another one going up today, and then another on Thursday, and then Friday.  (Yes, that is what one each day means.  You probably did not need me to explain that.  Forgive me, I’m addled from riding in a moving truck.).  So, go read, make, create, enjoy!

Update:  Oh look, here’s the third one!  Learning to love foraging.


August 23, 2012 § 10 Comments

Hello friends!  Hello from the land formerly known as our apartment and now known as Cardboard Boxopolis.  In other words, hello from here:

Ever since last weekend, the transition has been happening bit by bit.  Newspaper crumple by newspaper crumple, all of our belongings have been wrapped and sorted into boxes and bins.  Joel is disassembling the furniture pieces he has built to make them more transportable.  I’m carefully wrapping all the art in multiple protective layers because I’m anal about that.

Squid is watching the whole process with skepticism and trepidation.  You can just see the questions in her eyes as she watches us from the couch.  “Um, what’s going on here guys?  What are all these weird cuboidal creatures invading our house?  Why are you paying attention to them instead of rubbing my belly?”

By about 3pm each day, the whole thing makes her too nervous and she vacates her position on the couch and goes and curls up unhappily in her crate in our room.  We keep reassuring her that we’re not leaving her behind, and soon she’ll live next to real woods.  (Real woods!)  But, she doesn’t seem to understand all those words as well as she understands “treat” or “walk.”

Because my concept of spatial relationships and packing are not exactly the most effective or efficient, while on the other had I am extremely good at generating avoidance tactics that appear to the outside world as still being productive, I decided that I should take a whole evening off of packing yesterday to make food for the road trip. « Read the rest of this entry »

Cornmeal peach scones and something of a manifesto

August 1, 2012 § 45 Comments

Ok guys, hold onto your hats because this one came out a little unbidden.  In trying to talk about our big plans for what we’re doing next (soon!), I couldn’t help but go into some of the background thinking behind these plans, and it turned into something of a manifesto.  Now, I may be a philosophizer and a wax eloquenter, but I’m not usually one to write a manifesto.  A manifesto will nearly always rub at least someone the wrong way, and I have in general lived my life bending over backwards to try never to rub anyone the wrong way, to please everyone, to be safe.  

But I’m finally, finally starting to realize that it’s not worth it.  Not if it means you sacrifice the truth.  The tag line of this blog is “fitting real food into real life,” and, well, it wouldn’t be real life if I didn’t speak about my truths.  So, it may have turned out to be a bit manifesto-y, but hey! there’s a really good scone recipe waiting for you at the end (Seriously.  Really good.  Moist and tender on the inside with those perfectly crunchy golden edges that are the best part of a scone.).  Next time I’ll be back with a more normal, chirpy blog post, but for now, deep breath, here we go…

I brought these scones to a goodbye brunch at my office a few days ago.  We were celebrating and sending off three of our colleagues who are on to new things.  All three of them did great work and will truly be missed.  Though I wasn’t included in the goodbyes, it felt like the time for me to say goodbye to everyone as well.  We’re leaving.  We’re moving!

I’m not done with my dissertation yet.  Ha.  Quite the opposite.  What was once a wade through data up to my knees has become thrashing in data up over my head.  I’m doing a little egg beater kicking, a little elementary backstroke, working on finding the best way for me to swim through it.  But, it won’t be happening here.  Joel and I have decided we’re moving to Minnesota.  In less than a month.  Yikes!

We’ve been thinking and talking about it for a while now, and finally things conspired to remind us that these are our lives, and we need to live them in a way that is honest and real for us.  Now, I don’t mean anything against Boston at all.  It’s a really great city.  A great place.  But, it’s not our place.  And, in staying here, no matter how hard we try not to, neither of us can escape our programmed slide into the speedy rails of achievement orientation. « Read the rest of this entry »

The landscape here

July 9, 2012 § 27 Comments

Hei from Norway!  We’re still here for a few more days, but I wanted to pop by here and say hello and show you a little bit of where we are.

I don’t know how many people this is true for, but I know for myself, I rarely feel completely at home in my own skin.  Often, I get too busy trying to read others and to be what I think they may want me to be.  Or I get too caught up in worrying about the various “why’s” of my existence, especially the big one.  Why am I here it all?  Ah, the life of the questioner.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with personal at Five And Spice.