stovetop, salad bowl, low oven

this morning, and through the afternoon, it was classic rock on the radio (in its best and worst iterations) me, and the kitchen: humming, hemming, hawing; bustling & burbling.

made a big batch of creamy red beans with onion–sliced– & garlic–minced– cooked down with anchovy & thyme; threw in hot sauce, red wine vinegar, and oodles of late-afternoon-sun-colored extra virgin olive oil–glassy golden green, sharp, and exuberantly, after a couple of quick folds, making the beans still creamier.

made a salad with leftover green beans–cooked last night with some thick-sliced white onion–and sardines, anchovy, italian parsley, cucumber, mint.

made a batch of maple & olive oil granola with almonds, candied ginger and prunes.

there is something so peaceful–restorative, even–about just you and your wooden spoon & spatula, your stovetop, your salad bowl, your oven on low.

the week will bring every iteration of beans–with flatbread, on salad, topped off with feta or cold roast chicken or carrot salad.

but for now they’re cooling in the big orange dutch oven, and the granola is waiting to be transferred to mason jars. that salad packed with oily fish and fresh herbs, on the other hand, is long gone.

fog linen work / @odetosunday / not without salt / kisses sweeter than wine / john laurie / age old tree



lately I’ve been working at a pseudo-european (spanish by way of spooky, soulful old new orleans, to be exact; untouched by time since about 1985) place. tiny, with tiny tables. unpretentious and unplugged. warm, with big cast-irons full of paella and small plates adorned with lettuce & shaved carrot garnishes–the latter just a swipe up the side of a hearty specimen with a mandolin, impassive, impressive, unassuming. sangria made with cheap jugs of wine steeped with honey and diluted with sparkling lemonade. sassy not classy.

so, hey, let’s all raise a glass of sangria–or, hell, whatever cheap wine you have handy–bust out the cocktail peanuts, and cheers to keeping it real, shall we?

furthermore: trying to “insinuate some resonance onto the plate with nothing but marrow and toast, butter and sugar”. Or, “Neon-orange Delicious over sweet-potato Righteous”.

@heavyslime / bon appetit

late May, New Orleans 

late may is humid. the air is dense with moisture & termite swarms.
did you know crows are huge? they’re the size of a small cat. their claws are reptilian.

eating leftovers resurrected with fried eggs. watching documentaries. reading essays by george orwell.

oh, and, welcome home.

constantin brancusi / oliver schwarzwald / ciccella / kleidersachen


lately, I’ve been into the quiet life. a glass of wine on the porch. reading about life on a northern farm with plenty of soft light and sprinkles. listening to the radio rather than absorbing all the white noise on a front page through stinging eyes; rather, letting it take on the appropriate medium, tuning in & out as need be.

lately, I’ve been buying swathes of leafy greens, leaving the kitchen door open to let in an early spring as I wash & dry and sauté them, and eating them with cold roast chicken and crusty bread. I’ve remembered cooking in new york, where I shopped at farmer’s markets and took long walks and braised all those pretty vegetables in copious amounts of olive oil–and that’s about it. and I relished the aloneness, the quietude, the simplicity of my small life in that big city.

lately, I’ve been contemplating the serenity of cats, and burying myself in books, and trying, mostly, to be as peaceful and full of grace and graciousness as possible.

molly yeh / paris review



lately, I’ve been reading Norman Mailer on writing, on America via Hollywood and its relationship with the con artist, the visual artist and everything in between; went to a thrift shop and bought a stack of old yellowed paperbacks to sing me to sleep.

I’ve been eating sautéed greens with fresh ricotta, and cold rice-noodle salads with herbs and radish and grilled octopus and feta and avocado.

I’ve been taking long walks in the evening, surrounded by balm and dusk and warm cooking smells.

I’ve been looking towards spring, and then summer, and beyond towards roadtrips–and just newness, exploration, journey, bloom. it’s the twilight of my twenties and I’m moving, onwards and forwards and upwards, finding my way out of a some sort of labyrinth, or closer to the same one’s center.

some things

some things just always taste better when someone else makes them. cookies, for instance. a modicum of effort involved, but they’re a quintessential treat. to which you want to be treated.

making cookies is quite gratifying, don’t get me wrong, but isn’t much of the gratification derived by the tactile process, the warm kitchen and the sweet smells, by sharing said cookies with your friends & neighbors? not, in fact, through eating the fruits of your labor and stowing away leftovers for the week to come?

and is it not still more gratifying to eat homemade cookies with no guilt-ridden obligation (read: guilt-ridden desire) to plow through the leftovers, much less deal with the whole ‘tactile process’ song & dance?

tuna salad. tuna salad is something that just tastes better when your mom makes it, or even when you buy it from a deli and eat it out of a plastic tub. is it just too simple to satisfy when tasked with making it oneself? am I, personally, possessing too snobbish a palate to ever achieve pure, unfettered, mayonnaisey tuna salad greatness? always throwing in some boiled potatoes or cannellini beans or a bevy of fresh herbs.

clearly it’s all tied up in a mess of nostalgia, tied to moms and simple pleasures and the freedom to let one’s mind wander while enjoying a tuna sandwich and some cookies, in a reverie of self-involvement. no strings-attached satisfaction. no worries about how the batch came out or the dishes or the leftovers. just, joy.

rose & crown / orangette

on lists

One of my favorite things in this life is finding others’ grocery lists abandoned in their shopping carts.


So, I suspect we are all now pretty well acquainted with Joan Didion’s effortless, graceful little packing list.

2 skirts
2 jerseys or leotards
1 pullover sweater
2 pair shoes
nightgown, robe, slippers

bag with:
toothbrush and paste
Basis soap, razor
face cream
baby oil

mohair throw
2 legal pads and pens
house key

I suspect part of a longstanding literary and aesthetic fascination with this, of all lists, stems from how elegantly tomboyish and pluckily gamine it is. How curated–how thoughtful. She is just the type to rely simply on jersey: so svelte and puckish.

That type of look is not what we should all aspire to; in fact, that is entirely against the point. The point is, a well-composed list gets to the heart of the matter. It speaks to the list-writer’s essence. Don’t aspire to Didion’s list, but to her list-writing skill.

What would a packing list entail for me?

red lipstick
blue jeans
black & white cotton tees
a pullover
a cardigan
a scarf
amber oil
a book
a magazine

Perhaps. Right now I want only for clogs and a matte nude lip and kohl-lined eyes. And blue jeans, amber oil, a hairbrush, cotton tees, a pullover.

My lists, as may be expected, are subject to change. Sometimes I live off avocado, cold roast chicken and apples and sometimes I cook; I make a big batch of ribollita and make a list including cranberry beans, thyme, garlic, carrots, kale, 2 cans whole peeled san marzano tomatoes to be crushed by hand, olive oil. Crusty bread for dunking into one’s soup.

That’s the thing about lists, and how & why they deal in essences: they streamline and concentrate the complex. They create a mood based on associations and presuppositions and sentimentalities.