I just took an OCD test on Buzzfeed, and apparently I’m 100% OCD. While this is not an accurate test by any measure – it was way too easy, I think everyone would score 100% on this one – it also isn’t totally untrue. I know I’m a bit OCD. It’s something I’ve become more and more aware of the older I get. Or, rather, the more and more I try to dig in to my own mind, the more I’m finding out about myself…if that makes sense at all.
This summer has been a strange one for me. It went by very fast (which, if you’ve been reading this blog, you will know is totally okay with me) with lots of ups and downs along the way. I’ve been trying to do a lot of self-evaluation, a lot of mental and emotional work on trying to figure out the reasons why I do (or don’t) do things. I was diagnosed in May with ADHD, which, as a 31-year-old woman who would NEVER be described as hyper active, was totally shocking. At first I just kind of stared at my therapist, wondering if I should laugh it off and immediately find a new therapist once this session was over. But then she explained why she thought this diagnosis was accurate – feelings of impulsivity to the point of fear, starting things and never finishing them, high creative highs followed by depressing lows, a sense of underachievement, chronic procrastination. Yup, all of the above. Read More
Our house doesn’t have air conditioning. Getting central air in to a house built in the 1700’s is near impossible, and it will certainly empty your pockets. Older New Englanders seem to take pride in the lack of AC, saying things like “You can’t hear the peepers with the windows closed”, or “don’t you want to smell the summertime?” – no, people. No. I want to be cool, I want to not sweat while doing nothing. I want to breath air without feeling like its filling my lungs with water. I want the summer to hurry up and finish its thing so I can move on to fall and crisp weather and cinnamon and nutmeg overload. Read More
I am pretty certain that I experience my first feelings of “love”, as you might put it, when I was three years old. My feelings went unreciprocated, seeing as they were directed at the cartoon character, Christopher Robin, from the Winnie the Pooh VHS I watched on repeat. I don't have too many memories of those feelings, only that I remembered liking his voice and his British accent, and his cute little blue shorts.
My second “crush” was on a boy named Mason from my preschool class. Why I picked him to be the object of my affection is still a mystery to me, considering I could not describe him to you today. Maybe he was nice to me, or maybe all of the other little four year olds in the class thought he was cute, so I followed along. He probably shared his crayons and didn't pee his pants at recess. Preschool standards are pretty high you know. Read More
Those of you that have been following along with me these past seventeen months know that I will take any excuse to host a party. It is one of the reasons I started this blog, and its certainly the reason our Table Sharing experience began. I will take any reason to gather friends and family, to share a meal and spend quality time together, to get away from the cell phones and computers and truly live in the moment that we have created.
This time of year beckons for these carefully crafted moments. It calls for me to light candles and stoke the hearth, to pour the wine and shake up some cocktails. I want hot food and stiff drinks, familiar faces and plenty of twinkling lights. There are candles in the windows and wool socks, friends that I have spent my whole life with and so much talk of babies. These nights always start with soft music and end in roars of - slightly inebriated - laughter. I wouldn't want it any other way. Read More
I am thankful.
I am thankful for my family.
I am thankful for my husband – for his unconditional love, for his strength and his humility, his integrity and his humor, his honesty and his quirkiness. I am thankful for sushi on Friday nights, for long drives on Sunday morning and for plans made about our future together. I am thankful for walks in the woods with our dog, thankful for the beautiful house that we live in, and the time we get to be husband and wife. I am thankful for his support in everything that I do, and I am so thankful that I get to spend the rest of my life with the best man I know. Read More
November arrived in a hurry. It seeped through the cracks in the wide floor boards, through the drafty window panes, and in between the field stone foundation. It quickly took up the spaces where October once stood, and replaced it with its cooler air and darker shadows. I lit more candles and put the heavy winter quilt on the bed. I have consumed more tea in the past few days than is socially acceptable – however, I think that all stemmed from our latest workshop. More on that later.
The sun began setting earlier and earlier, the evening glow beginning now right after lunch time it seems. I think this time of year can be hard for many people, as they begin and end their work days in the dark. November has always been one of my favorite months – perhaps my most favorite. I probably say that about every month, but you know how I love the shadows. I even try to love the dark mornings, when 5am wakes me by moonlight as I fumble around our lightless bedroom, picking any piece of remotely warm clothing up off the floor and silently throwing it on before I wake my husband or the dog. Lighting candles in the early morning, putting on the kettle and sipping strong, milky tea before the world seems to be awake. Yes, I love it. Read More
I have been betrayed by summer.
I think we used to love each other, even if it was for just a brief moment. The memories are still there like little paintings to prove it. As we grew, we made choices that caused the paintings to bleed, to trickle down as hot condensation fogged up their frames. We met again as adults and she told me that we would forget our differences, that we would weave new memories and paint new feelings for each other. That this friendship, this unbreakable history and mutual love would never leave - could never leave - because we needed each other.
She pulled me in with promises of a friendship rekindled, of quality time spent and of feelings repaired. We would have cool breezes and light rain showers, the sweetest fruit and the pretties sunsets. She told me we would never notice a day gone by, because we would have so much time. Time to make up on years lost, time to talk and laugh and cook and write and adventure. She promised to paint a new picture, and to never regret the paintings that started it all. Read More
A few weeks ago I was in a little sandwich shop in Rockport, Massachusetts. Its the kind of place that has been around forever. It used to be a general store of some sort, with one gas pump out front and a diners counter inside. Its an old red building, walking distance to the beach and it has picnic tables out front. These days the inside is more like a fine foods store. You can order a sandwich, grab a bag of sweet potato chips and some kombucha, find a spot at the counter or take it to go. Its a great place for picking up lunch on the way to the beach, or grabbing something to eat on your ride home. You can tell they get their regulars in there every day, but they also seem to get a lot of tourists too. Read More
Behind our house there is an old horse path that wanders through the woods, follows along a stream, over a bridge, and ends at a few old pastures. I walk Luke there often, allowing him to run off leash and explore nature - what would be, in another life - his natural habitat. He seems free out there, like he has known this path his whole life and is coming home to a familiar place.
When I am out there with him, I too feel like I am present in another life. As if the trees and meadows are welcoming me, saying my name in a greeting they have whispered for centuries. It is so quiet out there, and the only people I ever see are those on horseback. It is easy to forget the time, the day, the year, and be transported back in to a day gone by. A day that, perhaps if you believe in that sort of thing, I may have seen before. Read More
I sound like a broken record. I am entirely sick of hearing myself say it - "how does so much time pass?" - blah blah blah. Maybe I just need to accept that I am terrible with time management and move on. Own my laziness or lack of motivation or whatever distractions I seem to harness and not expect so much. I don't necessarily feel like a lazy person. I sometimes feel like I can't get enough done in a day - the hours just slip by. I am up with the sun most days, and can't sit idyl for very long, yet I manage to go almost a month without visiting this space. I want this to be my creative little getaway, to make this space my escape from reality and all of my responsibilities that wait in the real world - but I have quickly realized that having a food blog can just as easily turn in to an obligation. A good obligation, but one none the less. Read More
This spring a robin made a nest in our holly bush right next to our front door. I felt so badly every time I left the house, making her hurridly jump off her little blue eggs and dart away somewhere not to be seen. After the babies were born, all three in good health it seemed, she would let me know how angry she was at me for disturbing her sleeping newborns. She would perch herself across the street on a fence post and yell at me. Occasionally she would even fly over my head, squacking and screeching, pretending like she was going to dive at me and peck my nose or something. She never did, thankfully. That would have been quite traumatizing. I imagine that is how a new mother must feel when someone wakes her sleeping babe, like she wants to peck their eyes out. I know I would. Read More
Happy June, friends! I can't believe how quickly spring as flown by! We are almost to the full heat of summer here in New England. Our finicky spring weather is starting to subside, and the heavy, sticky, humidity is starting to creep in. Of course I have a million things I want to tell you, and I have FOUR posts ready to share with you - but first things first. Hoodsie Cups. They have quickly been bumped to the front of the line because yesterday they were shared on Food52's Small Batch column! Adding "Food52 contributor" to my resume was one big huge goal of mine when I started this blog (almost!) a year ago. I am so excited to now say that I can cross that one off the bucket list! So, here is the recipe - and next time, I will provide that yummy blueberry and violet tea cake with honeysuckle milky tea I have been promising! Read More
You know what I find pretty cool? This whole blogging world. I had no idea what to expect when I was starting this space – I figured maybe my mom would read it and the few friends I actually told about my little project. I never expected to make the connections and friendships that I have made over the past ten months. Its a pretty cool thing. Read More
"Awake! awake! for the summer wind
Hath bidden the blossoms unclose,
Hath opened the violet's soft blue eye,
And wakened the sleeping rose.
And lightly they wave on their slender stems
Fragrant, and fresh, and fair,
Waiting for us, as we singing come
To gather our honey-dew there.
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O'er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers!" - Louisa May Alcott, Flower Fables Read More
I have only been to Europe once. It was back in 2008 when I had an unexpected two weeks off of work (that whole nannying thing can be quite unpredictable at times) and nothing to do. It was at a time in my life where I had two thousand dollars and nothing to spend it on, because everything was still being taken care of for me by the family I was working for. Ah, to be 23 again. Anyway – I made a fairly last minute plan to see England and Paris. At that time – oh so long ago - I was single and young and I had a bunch of very fun British boys in my life who were willing to let an American girl come and stay with them for a couple of weeks. Not too shabby, eh? I had worked with them teaching skiing in Vermont, drinking way too many Goombay Smashes after work and walking in blizzards to eat as much sushi as we possibly could. I was introduced to cheese on toast (um, its just an open faced grilled cheese...but somehow, better) and cricket and just how charming (and sarcastic) British boys could be. When they went back across the pond we all kept in touch. It now feels like a lifetime ago, a lot happens in seven years, but I still think back on those days with so many smiles. Read More
I came out of hibernation like any other animal – groggy, aching, and ravenous. I searched through the cabinets, and raided the fridge. I pulled out anything that could possibly resemble a recipe. I found some frozen blueberries I picked last summer, a cup of sugar I managed to scrape from the bottom of my sugar jar, a couple “ends of the sticks” of butter I had in the fridge (anyone else do that?! Just me?) and one lemon that probably should have been tossed in to the compost bucket last week. I found some violet black tea I had made last spring (and by “made” I mean I threw some dried violets from by back yard in to some Earl Grey tea – pretty fancy, huh?) and added that to the pile of scavenged ingredients. I think I did a happy dance when I found that I had a full bottle of buttermilk that wasn't past its expiration date, and a jar of fluffy cake flour. Read More
One of my new years resolutions was to be more timely. Well, here is my untimely post, three weeks late. Ah, resolutions.
I wanted to get this post up at the first of the year, but alas, I am routinely late – tardiness runs deep in my veins. It is something I can't seem to change, no matter how many good intentions are set. Despite the delay, I am glad to be getting this post up. I am hoping to keep those of you that read this blog “in the loop” - to tell you that I haven't given up blogging, but that I am trying to regroup a bit at the start of this new year.
Bread and Barrow is six months old this January. When I first started thinking about writing a food and lifestyle blog, I gave it a full year to really decided how and why I wanted to do this. I went in to it thinking that I could document our region the way that so many other bloggers have done beautifully for theirs. I wanted to show readers just how great New England is – we might be small, but we are mighty. I wanted to bring you to our roots, to show you how we have every resource at our fingertips. I had plans to bring you to the mountains, to the sea, to the farms and to the woods. We were going to do clam bakes in the sands of Cape Cod, forage for shagbark hickory nuts and black walnuts along country roads, tap maple trees in the spring and make wild Maine blueberry cobbler in the summer. Read More
One of the things I love about this time of year are all of the holiday traditions. I think it is interesting that as Americans we tend to hold on to the history and heritage of our family's past. Because we are a nation built on immigration, so many different cultures have blended together and become one. I think that because as Americans we have built our country, our families, our religions based on the practices of other countries, we tend to identify ourselves not only as Americans, but as the ethnicity of the regions our ancestors once came from. If you were to ask a person who was born and raised in France what ethnicity they identified with, they would probably say that they identified themselves as French. However, if you were to ask an American what ethnicity they identified as, they would probably list their heritage by their ancestry that came over to America many years ago. Read More
My birthday was on Tuesday, and I have to say, I have always loved having a birthday in December. My whole life people have said, "Oh, I feel so bad for you that your birthday is so close to Christmas." But honestly, I have never once felt jipped out of anything. This time of year always feels so special - the shops are decorated, pretty lights are in the windows, Christmas music is on 24/7 (yay!) and people are generally in a cheerful mood. The hectic Christmas rush hasn't quite started, everyone is just beginning to enjoy the season. Sometimes it even snows! I love getting my birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper - a thing I think other December babies find annoying, but honestly I love it . Sure, I often get the old "this is your birthday AND Christmas present" thing, but hey - this time of year is tight for most people, so I understand that. Honestly at this point in my life I don't need anything - just have a cup of tea with me and take some time to actually have a conversation…that is the best present anyone could ask for. Read More
Merry December everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate lots of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie. We had a very different Thanksgiving this year. Normally my parents house is bustling with people - so full that my dad has made a plywood extension for the already eight foot dining room table. With four kids and their three spouses, aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins, my parents house used to get crazy. But this year everyone was spread about, doing different things. It was just Phil, my parents and myself for dinner - weird! It was kind of nice, we actually had conversations that started and ended - unlike those of holidays past where a conversation is started but quickly interrupted and never finished. We made very retro dishes this year (because my mother and I thought - hey! Why not? Its just us!) with baked sweet potato and whipped marshmallow topping, green bean casserole with fried shallots and sautéed mushrooms, port wine cranberry sauce and apple sausage stuffing. It was simple and classic American - but it was dang good! Read More