Monday, May 06, 2013

A little of this, a little of that

Dear Ones, how patient you are.

Radio silence--and that after having to hear annoyingly about how my kids make their own lunch (and with panache, no less!) with little to no information about how children would get to this stage of culinary development. I'm sorry! This comes, you know (or should), after years of teaching them to cook--the kind of teaching where there are great, choking clouds of flour everywhere and Terrifying Knife Experiments, and lots of chaos and tedium. I'm sorry to have misled you. If your children are 2 and 4, then indeed, no, they won't be making their own Chopped-style lunch.

Speaking of: Can I brag? You know ChopChop, the scrappy little nonprofit kids cooking magazine that I'm the editor of? We won the James Beard Publication of the Year award! Can you even believe that? Did I have to crowd-source a cocktail dress on facebook? Yes I did. Did Birdy say, as I was leaving the house, "So. Wait. Sorry. Tell me again! It's just going to be, like, you guys and all the actors that have ever played James Bond?" If only! But I did get my picture taken with Ted Allen, the host of Chopped, to prove to the kids that it was not all lameness and drear.

Okay. Enough with the boasting (but thank you for indulging me).

I wanted to offer some links to things I am loving right now:

This book, which I tore through and couldn't stop reading, even though it's EPIC. And this book, which I am tearing through now, even though it's NOT LONG ENOUGH.

This game, which is like a cross between Puerto Rico and Agricola, but not as hard to learn as either of them. We are addicted to it.

But, for a non-gamer game, we are also loving this small, good-natured word game.

This origami documentary is so excellent.

Also--I've said it before but I'll say it again--this beer.

And this always useful and good cake.

I have two pieces up over at Brain, Child. This, that's new, and this, about Birdy's beloved Strawberry.

A recipe is coming soon. Thank you for bearing with me!


  1. I laughed (yes, out loud!) at that last paragraph of your new B,C essay. I guess you guys aren't bored too much at the dinner table.

  2. Allyson5:48 PM

    Your piece on Strawberry made me cry. My now 12-year-old daughter has a lamb named Bob (short for Baaahb) that she carried through life for the longest time. Even now, when we look at pictures of her as a baby or toddler, we always note how young Bob looks. I'm glad that I "know" someone who understands the tug of love/loss I feel when I see Bob now, and remember all the younger versions of my daughter.

  3. Congratulations about ChopChop! My daughter loves to make sesame crusted tofu, from what might have been the first issue.

    Also, a word game you'd like:

  4. Just tried the cake recipe. But, of course, can never leave a recipe alone - so I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne. Delicious.

    Also, may I recommend to not use flour to dust the pan? (Yes, it does take a minute longer.) But try just regular or butter-flavored pan and dust the pan with cocoa. No white top on the cake when it comes out of the oven.

  5. Congrats on the (big!) award for Chop Chop! We love it. My son is always thrilled when it comes in the mail, and he reads it cover to cover (and so do I).


  6. Yes, congrats on the Chop-Chop award!!

    I just read your Strawberry piece (on this, my son's 12th birthday!), and can't describe how it parallels our experiences with and feelings about my 10 year old daughter's special someone, Pinky. Pinky is a sweet little pink bear with white polka dots, a gift from my brother when she was born. Around age two, "he" became her favorite friend, and he was christened Polky...for the dots. He went EVERYWHERE with her until she was 9 and a half, when he suddenly disappeared during a hectic week. After several searches by all of and brother, too, and many tearful nights (mine after hugging hers away) a twin mercifully arrived in the mail - the one and only to be found - new and ready to be cherished. After some adjustment to Polky's "long-lost twin", Pinky became her new sidekick. She sometimes thinks he's Polky reincarnated. He carries so many memories and so much love...

    Thank you, Catherine, for getting it, and describing "stuff" like this so perfectly.

  7. I adored the Strawberry piece!
    happy spring to all the Ben & Birdy loved ones.

  8. The Strawberry essay made me cry, which lead to a confusing and bad explanation to my fiance. He's used to such things though. It made me feel better and nod my head in agreement so much. I have older kids who are off doing their own thing sometimes, and I have an 8-month-old as well. So I worry about freak accidents while the bigs are gone, and I'm guilty of the tumbling down the stairs fear, or the baby will just stop breathing, or things I can describe no better than just hoping he will continue to be here. It's nonstop. It's comforting to know there are others who might get it.

  9. Yea! You found a dress!

  10. Erin K.7:37 PM

    I haven't even had a chance to check out your links yet - but since I did notice the cake link - the cake that is the only cake that I can make that does not resemble a brick - Do you have a vanilla cake version???? My six year old would be SOOOOOOO happy. Thanks!!!

  11. Anonymous11:06 PM

    Yay! Thanks for the post and the links. (We make the cake all the time, btw.) And the reassuringly wry comments about your Chopped post, which - tho I loved it - also made me go, , just a little bit. I have little littles, so I'm technically off the hook, but I had anticipatory self-castigation, if you know what I mean. ("I bet my kids won't be like that. I just know this baby will only ever eat crackers and fruit for The Rest of His Life, eyeing all other foods with abiding and implacable suspicion.")

    And a thousand congrats on the James Beard award! That's HUGE! And so well deserved.

    And also, just to say it again and again, your kids are so damn fabulous. It makes my heart deeply glad to know they are out there in our world, being themselves so wonderfully well. You and Michael are doing a kickass job. And it's nice that you bring us along for the ride.

    xox's from CA

    1. Anonymous11:07 PM

      made me SIGH just a little bit, that should say ^^

  12. Does it sound weird to say that I'm so proud of you? As a long-time reader and fan, it just makes me so happy to read about your success! Also, could you be any more beautiful? Wow.

  13. James Beard award AND now Mark Bittman!!! Wow! But then again, we always knew you were amazing...

  14. Anonymous1:55 PM

    Love your recommendations - the origami movie is waiting to be watched on Netflix. Keep them coming!

  15. Exiting my comfort zone (lurking, for almost 12 years now) to tell you Congratulations for the award, and all the publishing that is going on, and to thank you for your writing. My children (13 Elliott 10 Annie 8 Julia) have grown up along your own and when I recommend your blog to others I claim you as a friend (I know that is bizarre; don't be afraid; I live far away from you). I really enjoyed both Brain Child essays, and also your essay in The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage (which I got from the library because you have an essay in it but read cover to cover and loved). Peace and Blessings.

  16. Hi! Its me here. You've got an awesome blog. Keep having a nice post. Have a great day..

  17. Anonymous5:43 PM

    Congratulations and you look so beautiful in that picture!

  18. I made your cake again for a birthday party last weekend. Thank you!

  19. Janelle11:28 PM

    Having grown up in Lancaster, PA, I have played my fair share of Dutch Blitz and never have I heard of the boy/girl component! I looked up the rules online and it's in there but that's now how we locals play it. I'm not even sure that the old-school cards have the pix of boys and girls on them. Informally polled some likewise Mennonite friends of mine and all agree that genderless is the traditional way!

  20. congrats on the award!!!! Ben has your smile.