We have lately entered the phase that I assume is a rite of passage for all parents, where at least part of our dinner a couple times a week is “whatever our toddler didn’t eat.” (This is especially because one of his favorite new phrases is “No-no,” which he uses often and with delight.) All things considered, it’s actually a fortunate turn of events for us, given that the things we feed B3–like, say, actual fresh veggies–tend to be way healthier than what we usually put in our bellies, and more often than not, happen to be pretty tasty, too. If you’re wondering if I ate more of Luke’s food than he did last weekend, I admit nothing.
As it turns out, one of the happier features of law school and, now, law firm life is the dependable occurrence of free lunches at least once a week–whether for a talk, or a deposition, or just inexplicably placed in a breakroom and abandoned for three hours (that’s okay, I’ll still eat it). As someone who will happily consume anything that’s offered to me for free, I am a big fan of this, and I have hardly met a catered work lunch that I did not like. (Which is a good thing, since I’ve been seeing a little bit more of work lately than I have for awhile!) That said, it makes for an extra delightful surprise when, in the vast landscape of half-sandwich platters, there manages to appear something new that I like so much that, free of the confines of fluorescent lights and conference rooms, I’d still happily search out on my own dime.
I spent the summer between high school and college working two jobs, one as a hostess at a Chinese restaurant and the other as a waitress at a T.G.I.Friday’s. Most of my time at T.G.I.Friday’s was spent (1) trying to raise my voice enough in the kitchen that they could hear me when I asked for more ranch, (2) forgetting to enter orders, or (3) eating breadsticks out of the breadstick bin. (I may have been the worst server they had.)
Two days after we moved to LA, we promptly left again on what would previously have been practically impossible (or at least, incredibly not enjoyable) from our former home, the quickest weekend trip back to B2’s home in Hawaii. We went for a wedding and for Halmunee-to-be’s first encounter with her grandbaby (whom she likes to call “her baby”). In 48 hours there, we ate our weight in homemade Korean food, I was shut down on every attempt to help around the house (okay, so I didn’t try that hard), and we did a lot of marveling at how gleeful it is to fly to Hawaii from the West Coast and to say goodbye to red-eye flights of East Coasts past. And we saw boars at the wedding! (They were not part of the procession.)
In the week or so since then, most of my time in LA so far has been something like this: learning about this thing called June gloom, adjusting euphorically to having an office with an actual window and actual sunlight in the afternoons after said June gloom, trying to buy out every single supermarket’s abundance of produce even though our Airbnb has very little in the way of kitchens, spending much more time on Google looking at traffic, and, most of all, gaping at the open, open spaces, and the endless expanse of blue sky overhead, which is as bright and all-encompassing and wrapped around you like a sunny blanket as the one in New York felt narrow and distant and shielded from you by high buildings. Of course, there’s plenty to miss about the home we left behind in New York, but I think it’s safe to say we really like it here so far. I get the sense we’ll like it even more when we move into our actual apartment (we found one! yippee!) this Saturday. It’s a happy relief.
Every once in a blue moon, usually when we’re just about to fall asleep, B2 likes to come up with ideas for things I should cook next. I use “ideas” loosely, because it’s mostly a sleepy, intentionally goofy dialogue that consists of “what about …” followed by a long pause and things like “… homemade hot pockets!” (to be fair, that would be delicious) or “something with cheese” or “pumpkin toast.” (When I asked what pumpkin toast would be, like toasted pumpkin bread or toast with pumpkin on it or toasted pumpkin or what, his answer was, “You know. Pumpkin. Toast. Pumpkin toast.” And then he fell asleep. Two weeks later, I showed him this and he said, with glee, “See? It was a good idea!”)
Hi friends! How was your weekend? We spent a fun one down in North Carolina at the wedding of one of Bowl #2’s college friends. This might just be me and the fact that I haven’t gone to that many yet, but I feel like I love weddings more and more with every one I go to, even when I’m a plus-one and I’ve never met the bride and groom. (But also there’s a 20% chance you’ll find me crying in my office to YouTube highlight reels of strangers’ weddings on any given afternoon. Just so you know what kind of constitution you’re dealing with.)
It’s a Pig & Quill baby shower!! I can’t remember when I first came across the sassy sunshine that is Emily’s blog, but it’s one of my oldest reads — Emily’s irreverent vivacity and passion for good eats make the Internet that much brighter, and on the days when she turns reflective, it’s the kind of writing that hits home, lingers, and inspires. Also, she knows how to enjoy her SPAM. I don’t know what else I could ask for from a blog. The best news is that Em is having a mini-Em in just a few weeks, and when the amazing Gina and Sherrie put together a virtual party to celebrate, I couldn’t wait to join in.
I’m a sucker for food with meaning. I associate food with all sorts of things — a means of gathering together, a mode for celebration, a medium of remembrance, a conduit for family traditions, all those grand words. I love it all. This means I probably end up ascribing too much significance to my food sometimes — wait no we have to get peanut M&Ms before we board because we always have peanut M&Ms on the plane! — but somehow, I just love how much food can mean to us, and how much power it carries beyond just sustenance.
This Taiwanese popcorn chicken is a case in point — I was so, so excited to recreate it for Food52 a few weeks ago, because it comes from such a special place and time. Bowl #2 and I first discovered its glory on a short weekend trip to Taipei a few years ago (a mini trip inside a big, big one I’ve mentioned a few times before) and after we first tried it, I dragged B2 all over Taipei to try every other Taiwanese fried chicken joint I could Google in the rest of our short days there. (Resulting in us getting lost on more than one occasion. And ending up in a deserted garage trying to describe our difficulties to a baffled Taiwanese man on a moped.)
Oh man. So here’s a thing about me — I am really, really clumsy. Like, if I were a candy bar, I’d be this one. And if I were an idiom, I’d be a bull in a china shop. Sometimes I think it amazes Bowl #2 — who does everything thoughtfully and deliberately and un-clumsily — how little sense I have of space and time and, you know, where my body is. (It amazes me too.)
And I’ve been on a roll lately! I don’t know if I’ve just been really out of it from a few long weeks at work, but I am a bull in the china shop of life these days. Yesterday I was slicing a chicken breast and overturned the cutting board into a sink full of dirty dishes. A few weeks ago, B2 had to play ceramics doctor on a beloved Akiko Graham plate after I broke it and almost had a heart attack, and this weekend I spilled an entire ink bottle all over the table, myself, and the floor in the middle of addressing our wedding invites. I don’t even know. But all’s well that ends well — thanks to B2’s magic, the plate is as good as new (can you even tell?!) and thanks to Jesus, the ink missed our wedding invites (and our white couch, ohmygosh) and our first batch of invites actually made it into the mail this morning! We finally mailed (some of) our invites! Small miracles.
(I don’t know what to say about the chicken. Or my ink-stained legs, which currently look diseased. But otherwise, miracles!)
Pinch dishes from The Fortynine Studio.
We had a mini impromptu Friendsgiving last weekend! Even in miniature, it was my first time putting together anything remotely like a Thanksgiving meal on my own, and it was so much fun. For the main, I braised an abundance of chicken legs using Jamie Oliver’s milk chicken recipe, which was life-changing and totally worth the hype, at least in my opinion (also, one day I will stop being scared and I will roast a whole chicken, I swear). For the salad we had mixed greens with ridiculously ripe Bosc pears and shaved Parmesan, drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil — simple and easy. But my favorite dishes — as it should be with Thanksgiving — were these sides.