Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Seriously, what was I thinking?

Of course I wanted you to ask about that photo! I posted it, right? But then I have been paralyzed by a feeling simultaneously of not knowing where to start, and also of life barreling forward, into the fall and school and work, and away from the heavenly heavenified heaven-on-earth that was our trip abroad.

But let me interrupt myself to say this:

Over on family.com, I've got some new recipes posted, and I hope you'll visit me there, and even leave a comment if you have a mind to!

  • I posted this best-ever one-bean salad in honor of Anni's baby shower.
  • And this pizza, which is one of the recipes I have worked on the most and over the longest period of time. In fact, go there for the tomatillo salsa recipe alone.
  • And then there are these circle-of-comfort oatmeal cookies, along with my blahblahing about what an act of devotion it is to make them. What is wrong with me? I don't know.
But back to Europe. The short version: Michael's brother and his family have been in Lithuania for two years; my brother and his family live in Geneva; we hatched a plan a year ago to save up and go--and we did. To Paris for a week, where we met Michael's brother's family; and to Switzerland, where we hiked in the Alps with mine. In the Alps! Where we stayed in "family friendly" huts--even though "family friendly" turned out to mean only that you could hike to them in 11 hours but without an ice-axe or crampons. (Crampons! Ha ha.) Insanity in every amazing and unforgettable way. It was, to put it as simply as possible, the trip of a lifetime, and in two weeks we must have generated a couple hundred thousand memories. Can I share just a tiny few?

Birdy on one of the jasquillion carousels they rode in Paris. Gorgeous.

Name that Cathedral! Our Lady of Perpetual Amazement. Even an old atheist Jew like me is moved to tears by the majesty and devotion of such a beautiful piece of architecture.

A promise: skinny dip in a glacial lake, and your young nephews will never ever stop talking about it.

Heading up, up, up to the top of the world where one of our huts was perched.

And then looking down. Wowza.

Hut shoes.

I am dying a little from wishing we were still there. But so glad to have been.

Thank you, friends, for indulging me.



  1. Oh my Catherine, what a trip! A lifetime of memories no doubt. I am equally excited and scared of heading to Europe with the girls.

    Our trip will have to wait until we are out of diapers! There is no way I am taking miss screamy on that long of a flight either. ;)

    So happy for you guys though. It is definitely a dream of mine too.

  2. Wow! What amazing shots! Thanks so much for sharing with us a bit more about your fabulous trip. I'm so excited for your family that you were able to do this together. :)

  3. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Wowza is right! (Another one of your many fans since the babycenter days here...our boys and girls are about the same age.) So happy that you got to go. What a breathtaking view from that hut. Birdy looks like a young lady - I was just thinking that about my daughter today! Heading over to Family now to get that cookie recipe and my Catherine fix!

  4. ladidah2:14 PM

    oh my god! that is what the huts are like in the alps? i have always pictured a rickety little cabin made of branches.

  5. Oh my God, look at Birdy! Absolutely beautiful, and so grown up. I so look forward to taking my three on a trip like that, but we're definitely not there yet.

  6. Thanks for sharing those beautiful glimpses of your trip. How amazing.

    And thanks for both the pizza and tomatillo recipes. Tomatillos--lovely ones, big green, teeny yellow--were abundant with our CSA but I felt like I ruined them all summer, so I am excited to have a new recipe to try again. (Same with pizza, though I'm so twice-shy about it at this point, it might be a while before I get up the nerve to try again. My dough is always "like rubber cement," says my (honestly very supportive) husband, and we never end up with anything edible.

  7. Allison4:05 PM

    Ha ha -- I have always loved the absurdity of the word "crampons"!!!

    Like cramp + tampon, and why would you mix those words together for a word that has nothing to do with menstruation? And instead has to do with your feet and mountain climbing? And spikes? (Ah! Maybe *that* is the connection.)

    Anyway, the reason I'm commenting is to say that I'm so happy for you to have had the trip of a lifetime, it sound wonderful!

    Also: I made your Mexican lime-buttermilk chicken salad two times already and IT IS AMAZING!!

    I love it, and my 7-year-old was even heard to say to my 3-year-old, "Ben, try Mom's salad, it is SO GOOD."

    (Didn't induce Ben to try it, but who cares. More for me!)

    I love you, Catherine Newman, and I say that in the friendliest, non-stalkerest way possible!

  8. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Thanks for sharing a piece of your vacation. I now have a new life goal. A family vacation that includes that hut.

  9. Teafortwo9:27 PM

    Beautiful pictures! I especially like the photo of the skinny dip. I'm intrigued by Switzerland, mostly because one side of my family is Swiss/German. And I have friends who are Swiss. What majestic mountains! And, well, I just love Paris. I love everything about it. I was there two years ago this week. Maybe when Finn and Soren are older....

  10. Must go to that hut, when children are old enough not to fall off cliff...
    Thanks for sharing your tale, indeed makes one want to save up for the future!

  11. Anonymous1:28 AM

    How beautiful! The pictures and the writing. Thank you for sharing this with us. I look forward to one day taking the same trip too...

  12. Amazing! Your children are gorgeous and I'm sure they will remember that trip for a lifetime!
    Hope has been given to all those of us whose children seem ridiculously young to even imagine such a trip! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Micki1:02 PM

    Oh my gosh! I'm so happy for you that you're family was able to take this trip - like you said, the memories will last a lifetime.

    If at all possible, could you post a link to info about the huts? That picture just made my heart leap.

    Thanks so much for sharing your life and your recipes!

  14. dhogan1:44 PM

    What beautiful pix! yes! Please post more about the hut!

  15. dhogan1:45 PM

    What beautiful pix! yes! Please post more about the hut!

  16. Wow! What a trip! My mouth dropped open at the picture looking down from the hut. I can't wait to take my own kids.

  17. Karen T.11:58 PM

    Oh my, just stunning--the post and the pictures. So I've followed your story since your little ones were just babes and can I just say that the picture of Birdy on the carousel literally took my breath away...She is beautiful and oh so grown up now. Happy for you and your family that you had such an adventure.

  18. that makes me desperate to go...somewhere. Far, far away. Our first European adventure will be in the spring and I am now even more excited about it!

    And Birdy? She is BEYOND in that photo. Just gorgeous.

  19. Oh, so amazing! What a trip! How wonderful for you and your family. I love that view from the hut, gorgeous.

  20. Oh, how very very glad I am you came back. I mean, would you really want to hike EVERY DAY to another hut to eat alpine cheese, salami balls, and drink hot tea with that view- every day?

  21. I just read your oatmeal cookie column. You horrible woman, you always make me cry a little bit. And apparently I like it, because I scour the internet and printed media (and billboards and bumper stickers and tatoos) for your writing....

  22. ErinKer2:01 AM

    That photo of the montains and lake from the hut is mythic/haunting!

  23. Anonymous2:30 AM

    Wow! I lost track of you for what must've been a couple of years? You were writing Bringing Up Ben and Birdy..over on Parents.com (or something like that? I can't remember? Your book about your pregnancy with Birdy had just come out?) Anyway, the point is that picture of Birdy blew me away! Not only is she gorgeous....but she's a kid now. I last saw her as a toddler..3 maybe? Wow. Anyway, I'm so excited to have found your blog. I've missed your writing. I'm hoping there's hours worth of archives for me to read (though not tonight since I have to be up in 5 hours to drive my son to work!)
    a long time fan (well since before you were pregnant with Birdy which I hope to figure out how long ago that was when I'm doing the aforementioned reading of the archives),

  24. HI there - great to stop by here to see what's been happening. Exciting and inspiring!

    But now I'm desperately searching for your tomatillo salsa recipe over there at family.com and I can't find it!! And I have several pounds of freshly picked tomatillos waiting... Is it really there?

    Thanks a bunch!

  25. Where are the huts in Switzerland? I want to take my family there. Amazing.
    Glad to hear that you had a great time.

  26. Anonymous10:44 PM

    Am I the only one who doesn't know what a room full of "hut" shoes are for?

  27. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Marie, it's in the Pizza column from last week. Keep scrolling down past the dough recipe--she uses it as a pizza topping.

  28. Will go check the recipes out shortly! Oh my I felt a wee-bit sick thinking of hiking up to that hut with all the paraphenalia crap our family tends to lug with us going anywhere from the bathroom to a cross-country flight. But then the nausea was quickly replaced with the short-of-breath-view from the top. Please share more. I haven't had this much GI-respiratory delight to a description of a place and time since reading WFB during my early second pregnancy.

    And I also must comment that what I love almost as much as you is your commenters and fans. I find myself repeatedly chuckling over their gushings of you as I say- "I know it- me too" again and again!

    Happy fall- can't wait for the seasonal best of the recipes for autumnal evenings!

  29. Being at kilometre zero and at Notre Dame, did you get an chance to go to Shakespeare & Co? My daughters and I plan to go someday, it seems wonderful!

  30. I was just thinking last night, *did she ever tell us about that picture* and oh! How wonderful. I bet your children are at decent ages to take such a journey.

    So glad for you.
    (and here we thought you were at home making corn, lime, zucchini pasta!)

  31. Catherine- I am a longtime reader, first time commenter- we are spending a week in November in Paris with our 8, 5 and 2.5 year olds. Any great tips/recs/places you happened upon that wouldn't pop up on the sites I'm reading when googling 'fun stuff to do with kids in paris'?
    Love your work, it is inspiring both in my kitchen and my life!

  32. Cheryl4:46 PM

    Birdy looks so beautiful! Amazing how quickly they grow up, isn't it? I'm glad you got to make such a fantastic trip - your kids will treasure this experience forever!

    I'm an avid reader; currently more young adult books and cookbooks than anything else, simply because I teach junior high Reading and I love to cook. Occasionally I'll recommend something that strikes me right, usually for Ben since that's the age group I know best. But Birdy - may I recommend Jean Ferris' Love Among the Walnuts and Once Upon A Marigold? I love them; they're clever, sweet, and very entertaining. I just lent my copies to a friend's daughter, which is what reminded me to suggest them. And for you, check out The Herbfarm Cookbook - you will love it. It is so your style of cooking and eating!

  33. Anonymous11:08 AM

    I can't believe how grown up Birdy is! My Sophia is around 6 weeks older than Birdy, and I marvel at the transformaiton from chubby -cheeked cherub to young lady! sniff, sniff... enjoy!