Peanut butter cookies, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and why cookie exchanges are the best

Before you even consider the fact that I stuffed my face yesterday with all manner of wonderful foods, I’ve been in a really, really sugar-focused mood lately. Like, give me cookies or give me death! (Although, to be honest, I’d also accept brownies.) And since one of my co-workers was celebrating the big 4-0 and specifically requested peanut butter cookies, I decided to double the recipe and treat myself.

The recipe that I’ve used for ages, from Land o’ Lakes, is great, but since aging into the next phase of my metabolism, I’ve modified it to include a bit of whole wheat pastry flour (health, am I right?). Then, I threw some chocolate ganache on it for kicks. And elegance. You know what I mean. Anyway, peanut butter cookies!

I finally finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks while I was eating raw cookie dough, and it was quite a read. So emotional, informative, and well-written. Check out the review, grab another cookie, and get reading.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and peanut butter cookies

And speaking of cookies, am I the only one interested in doing an old-fashioned cookie exchange? You know, the ones where everyone brings a bunch of cookies and then you take home a nice box of every kind of cookie you can imagine. Does this not sound like best party you’d ever go to? Okay, so let me know if you want in. I’m doing two this year: one in Chicago and one around the country. One in person, one not. YOU CAN PARTICIPATE NO MATTER WHAT. It’s amazing.

Donut cake, Broken Monsters, and what you should pay attention to this weekend

Folks, it is officially fall in Chicago. I will pause here for your appreciative applause.


And now, I present you with the ultimate guide for the first fall weekend in the Windy City, where just 48 hours ago, it was something like 85 degrees. I don’t know; I just live here.

First up: make a donut cake that pairs perfectly with spiked, warm cider, hot coffee, or some other warm and likely alcoholic beverage. It’s baked in a bundt tin, which I am usually strongly opposed to, but in this case, I’m really okay with. It’s full of nutmeg and cinnamon and buttermilk, and you’ll probably have no interest in leftovers, but just in case you do, they’re amazing and even more donut-y than I thought was possible. Y. u. m.

Second: read a spooky book about a supernatural murder mystery. Wow, you say, that sounds so specific. However will I find a book that fulfills those criteria? Oh, honey. I got you. Click here to read the review of Broken Monsters, and then realize that it’s the perfect book for this weekend.

Donut Cake and Broken Monsters

Lastly: pay attention to at least two things this weekend. One is, appropriately, also donut (or, in this case, doughnut) content. My friend from my high school journalism days has started a doughnut bakery in Pittsburgh called Fight Sized Doughnuts. If you live in Pittsburgh, as I know some of you do, run, don’t walk, to his website and give him a follow on Instagram. Tasty things await you.

You should also pay attention to Samin Nosrat (aka my girl Samin, my goddess of cooking, my imaginary best friend who I chat with even though she’s not there in the kitchen) and her brand-new Netflix show Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, which is based on her most illustrious cookbook that has been reviewed right here on Page & Plate. I started the first episode last night, and honestly, I had to stop because it was just way too exciting and wonderful and I started crying when she made pesto with a nonna.

Corn muffins, Hope Never Dies, and a whole lotta corn

The amount of corn that’s about to happen in this post is very high, both in literal corn amounts and a good, old fashioned corny read. And also some things that I am super excited about and am highly likely to make corny puns as a result.

Corn Muffins

But first! The muffins. The OG corn babies that provide our literal corn. The beautiful, golden nuggets of goodness. I mean, just look at how beautiful they look in the late-in-the-day sunlight on a beautiful, hand-made plate. They are delicious and good, and if you can get your hands on fresh corn, you should use it to make these gorgeous muffins before it’s too late! This is a scare tactic.

As long as you’re in the business of corn (and being depressed about current events), you should probably read Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer. A fictionalized and adorable alternate universe Joe Biden who probably treated Anita Hill better than his IRL equivalent narrates a murder mystery / drug bust that he heroically solves alongside (who else?) Barack Obama. It’s exactly the corny, dad joke-filled, over-dramatic book you expect, and it’s a delight.

Hope Never Dies and Corn Muffins

And now, a virtual drumroll to announce UPCOMING EVENTS, which is a huge and very exciting development in Page & Plate posts. I’m so excited to let you know that I have two very exciting events coming up in the Chicagoland area, and that you, yes, you! can register today for them.

Pie's NOT the Limit: Pumpkin Recipes for Everything from Appetizers to Dessert

This cooking demonstration AND wine tasting will take place at wineHouse Chicago in Lakeview. I’ll be making a bunch of pumpkin recipes that are not pie because I don’t like pie and that’s that. Join us to discover the many ways to use pumpkin and the wines that compliment those recipes.

Watercolor Cookie Workshop with CJB Creations

My dear friend CJB is an artist, creative, and all around talented human, and I’m so pumped to be offering a watercolor cookie workshop in which you’ll learn to paint on cookies! Mind. Blown. This class will take place at Shop 1021 in Logan Square. Best of all? While you’re learning to paint, you can enjoy small bites courtesy of moi.

Bacon fat brussels sprouts, The Third Plate, and nerding out

Remember that book I talked about last week? The non-fiction one that I couldn’t wait to put down Mr. Penumbra to read? Yeah. This is it.

The Third Plate and Bacon Fat Brussels Sprouts

Dan Barber, chef and restaurateur, is not a few face to me. And probably, if you’re reading this blog, he’s not new to you either. After being featured in one of my all-time favorite Netflix shows, Chef’s Table, Barber became more of a household name in a very small category: chefs focused on the future of food and what we can do to make our eating more sustainable at a fine dining level.

This book is all of that and more. And, coincidentally, did a lot in terms of making him seem less like a jerk and more like a hero, in my opinion. He travels the world to explore what it means to be responsible eaters and discovers more problems than solutions, which is both unfortunate and motivating. Anyway. Go read the review, and you can decide how nerdy you want to get with this.

Speaking of nerding out, let’s talk about how many versions of brussels sprouts I’ve made before finally getting to this recipe, which I think (actually, I know) is a total winner. Even the non-brussels sprouts converts (hi, Uncle Dave and Papa) will have a hard time turning them down when after they’ve been roasted in bacon fat.

Love War Stories, Apricot Almond Muffins, and Impending Seasonal Changes

I can't help but feel like summer is on a timer here. I mean sure, I'm as ready as anyone else to leave these 95-degree, 110% humidity-filled days behind, but am I the only one who starts to panic just a little when contemplating snow?

The good news is that not only do we have some time before boots and parkas rule the wardrobe, but the time in between now and then, popularly known as fall, is the best time to be a human who eats. Need proof? Get thee to a farmers' market and take in all of the beautiful produce that you thought was done growing. And if you're anything like me, you'll start to hyperventilate about all of the amazing food you want to cook with this fresh produce and how little time you have to cook it. My advice: don't worry. Take a deep breath. Then, go talk to your farmer and order in bulk. I came home last weekend with 20 pounds of tomatoes and 10 pounds of peaches from Mick Klug farm, and I couldn't be happier. 

Apricot Almond Muffins and Love War Stories

I spent the morning canning plain tomatoes, roasted tomatoes for pizza and pasta, and making crazy salsa that I promise I will post the recipe for, and I couldn't be happier. I feel a little less terrified at the prospect of winter, especially because I just made these gorgeous apricot almond muffins, which would be just as delicious with dried apricots. Probably. And they would definitely still match with Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez, which rocked my world. 

TLDR enjoy summer while it lasts, steal a little summer for your winter, and read the books I tell you to read. Cool. Happy Sunday eve!

Feminist Press provided a copy of Love War Stories to Page & Plate for the purpose of this independent review. 

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, Six Four, and Other Important Life Updates

As I think we all know, I have some obsessive tendencies when it comes to cooking. When I get into cooking or eating something, I get REALLY into it, and I have been known, occasionally, every so often, to go a tiny bit overboard. Most recently, I double whammied and obsessed over chocolate chip cookies and true crime.

My (most recent) deep dive into true crime got started with a crash course on the podcast My Favorite Murder. If you're not familiar and even the tiniest bit into true crime, run, don't walk. I know I'm a little late to the game here, but trust me, this is definitely a case of the better late than never. But alas, this blog isn't about podcasts, it's about books, and so, with MFM playing in my ears, I turned to my bookshelves for a true crime novel I had yet to read. 

I found it in Six Four, which won the Best Japanese Crime Fiction of the Year in 2003. While I thought it leaned a little more towards a political drama than crime fiction, it satisfied my craving for a gritty police novel with mystery, intrigue, and, yes, crime. I'm betting it'll someday become an HBO mini-series starring lots of cigarettes. You heard it here first. 

Six Four and Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simultaneously, I was also on the quest for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. And, with the help of my co-workers, who patiently taste-tested and gave feedback during my last week at work, I found it. This is a recipe worth memorizing, if I do say so myself. 

If you read that last paragraph carefully, you'll notice that I managed to sneak in a life update: I am officially two weeks into a brand new position about which I'm really excited. As of late July, I'm the Director of Admissions and Community Outreach at the GCE Lab School in Lincoln Park, Chicago. It's been a wild transition, which I'll use as a great excuse for not having posted in a while, and I'm just really, really pumped to be a part of this great new community of learners. If you're in Chicago, or know someone who is, get in touch and let me talk your ear off about this amazing school. 

I think that's it for now. More obsessions and updates to come. PEACE, LOVE, COOKIES.

Happy Cake Day: I Was Told There'd Be Cake and Blueberry Citrus Cake

If it wasn't already clear to you, I have a cake problem. I LOVE baking cakes (sometimes, when the time is right, and when the mood strikes me), but I am not the hugest cake fan. I will stare at a cake all day. I will watch videos of a cake being iced until my eyes roll back in my head and pop out of my skull. But give me an entire cake, and I'll make it through a bite or two before asking for a bag of chips.

I consider this lack of passionate love for cake to be one of my greatest character weaknesses, and I understand if this makes you as a reader suspicious of my validity as a baker. (Well, kind of.) BUT, to you skeptics, I offer this short, cake-related rebuttal: Today's blueberry citrus cake has not only grown on me in the last 48 hours, but made a huge splash at the office potluck that I had to bring it back in after I took it home because people FREAKED OUT. You know who you are. 

Just look at that beauty. It's no wonder people called it crack cake and made me sign a blood oath to bake it at their wedding. So cake lover or not, get your butt over to that recipe and whip up the cake critics are describing as "the best cake I've ever had" and "no, seriously, did you put cocaine in it?" Answer: no. I'm not that fun.

Speaking of fun though, if you read one book this week, please have it be I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. I think you'll snort with laughter and really enjoy it, but even if you don't, she might catch wind of the buzz and want to be my friend, which would really mean a lot to me. Thanks in advance.

I Was Told There'd Be Cake and Blueberry Citrus Cake

Just so much butter: summer berry galette and Butter: A Rich History

Today's post is all about my favorite ingredient: butter. 

I love butter. Not margarine. Not Oleo. Butter. Why do you think we went to Ireland? The butter. Why do you think I go to the store so often? Butter. Why do you think I force myself to run as often as I do? You guessed it: butter (also, bread, but that's for another post). I feel almost as passionate about butter as I do about salt, and for those of you who know me, you know what a statement that is for me to make. 

For Christmas, Colin bought my mom a book called Butter: A Rich History, and I immediately began plotting to steal it from her at the first chance I got. And then, last time I was home, I did, even though she wasn't finished reading it. Mom, if you're reading this, don't worry, I'll deliver it the next time I see you and then we can talk about butter. ANYWAY, this gem of a book was every bit as buttery, wonderful, and smart as I thought it would be. Case closed.

Butter: A Rich History and Summer Berry Galette

Like any good book about butter, cooking, or an ingredient, this one has a hefty recipe section at the back, filled with recipes that highlight and illustrate the magical properties of butter. I knew that if I didn't blog this book with a recipe involving at least a stick of butter, there would be questions about my integrity as a blogger, so here we are: more galette. This time, with a vodka-y riff on Alison Roman's pie crust recipe and summer berries, it's a summery sister to our savory friend from this winter. And it's good. Real good. So run off, grab some berries, and rejoice in butter. Which is how I'm going to sign off every post from now on.

Buckwheat Breadsticks, Florida, and Restraint

 

I'm not known for my restraint. Given the choice, I will always add more sprinkles, toss that extra bit of salt in, and buy that book that I quite possibly didn't really need. Luckily, there are some recipes where restraint isn't important. There are some recipes where it's more important to just go for it and dump those extra few sesame seeds (black or white) into that dough and trust that it'll end up delicious. The buckwheat breadsticks we're serving up this week is one of those recipes, and it was a huge hit at Friday's demo-catering event. (More about that in this month's newsletter, to which you can subscribe here.) (<--- self promotion) 

Florida and Buckwheat Breadsticks

 

There was little restraint shown for those breadsticks, but Lauren Groff, on the other hand, was practiced and cool when she wrote Florida, a collection of stories. And if you want to hear more about that, go read the review. I'm restraining myself from giving it all away.   
 

Cake Pops, Ready Player One, and Good Things from Good Things

Today's theme is how good things that come from other good things. Does that make sense? In other words, when you start with something good (like this cake) and then you make something out of it, it is also good (cake pops).

I am one of those people who staunchly believes that you should read the book before you see the movie. With the exception of The Princess Diaries and Game of Thrones (unpopular but certain opinion), I've never seen a movie adaptation of the book that was so much better than the book that it blew me away. And this post isn't going to change that, so if you're looking for an opportunity to tell me you told me so, head somewhere else. 

Ready Player One and Cake Pops

Colin and I saw Ready Player One the weekend we got back from Ireland at the tremendously charming Brew & View in the Vic Theater. I had not read the book, despite his numerous suggestions that I read the book, and I wasn't expecting much from the movie, but I ended up getting super into it. Then I read the book, and I was like "wow, no wonder that movie was so good! It came from such a good book! This will make a great blog post, and also the colors of the cake pops match perfectly with the cover! Fate!"

The end.

Which is more addicting: this tahini tea cake or Idiophone by Amy Fusselman?

The title of this blog post is a trick question because I honestly cannot figure out the answer. HAH. Got you! Got me? AH. I don't know! Which, by the way, is a great problem to have. And it means you should really bake this tea cake and pre-order this book

 WHAT A POWER COUPLE.&nbsp;

WHAT A POWER COUPLE. 

I mean, Idiophone (out in July from Coffeehouse Press!) was SO unexpected and wonderfully weird and artsy that I expected not to like it, but I actually REALLY loved it. I couldn't put it down. I finished it in about an hour. No, it's not super long, but still. An hour. On the train! While people were talking and being generally distracted. I think that really says something. 

And this bread. Cake. Whatever. Man. I took a bite and was underwhelmed. Then I took another one, and I was like "wow, this isn't nearly as bad as that first bite," and now here I am like half a loaf later, and I don't know if I like it, but I can't stop eating it and I definitely haven't brought any to work to share. I don't know, you guys! Help! Do I hate it? Do I love it? Am I just really, really selfish? Help a blogger out, make the cake, and leave a comment with your verdict.

Coffee House Press provided a copy of Idiophone to Page & Plate, LLC for the purposes of this independent review.

Herb Spiral Tart, The Female Persuasion, and Some Plugs

I KNOW. I missed a post last week. I was doing so well. I was on such a roll (that's foreshadowing for today's recipe by the way). BUT, I'm also not going to apologize because life gets busy, I'm not perfect, and I can't hold myself to unreasonable standards. I am zen, calm, and totally excited to share what I meant to share on Thursday with you TODAY, which is Tuesday.

Plugs of color are important in every day life (especially when it's summer), and that's why I'm so excited to show you today's recipe for herb spiral tart and the absolutely gorgeous cover for The Female Persuasionboth of which are excellent choices for summery days that feel like the depths of fall and kind of look like it too with all of this fog, hem hem CHICAGO, get it together.

In other plug news, I've been really into the newest section of the New York Times's daily newsletter, called What We're Reading, and so I'm going to hop on that band wagon and tell you what I'm consuming (therefore covering food, books, articles, television, etc., how clever) at the moment that I think you should consume too:

  • Laurnie Wilson's piece on Life After Anthony Bourdain, which hits hard and hits home. (And really, anything else on her blog, which is worth your subscription.)
  • Haley Bryant's piece on The Humanity in Data, a brilliant exploration of data, how we collect it, and what it means to us as humans in this moment. 
  • Surfing Merms, a new project by CJB, where feminist mermaids come to life.
  • Faces Places, a documentary on Netflix that made me cry for no reason other than it was very sweet and in French.

COOL. See ya Thursday. Promise.

Apricot Ginger Cake and The Reservoir Tapes

This week I did two things with incredibly impressive speed: bake a SUCCESSFUL and non-traumatic cake and breeze through Jon McGregor's upcoming book, The Reservoir Tapes.

The Reservoir Tapes and Apricot Ginger Cake

I was pretty pleased with myself -- not going to lie, mostly because I baked a cake without crying into the icing. As you may recall from my birthday cake, layer cakes are ... iffy at best for me for no other reason than I struggle with patience. It's fine. I'm learning. BUT with this cake, it went so smoothly I almost wondered if my guardian baking angel was like "GIRL, ENOUGH ALREADY" and swooped down to ice it for me. I think it was helpful for me to have company while baking / assembling in the form of Cait, the face of a fabulous style blog and Oeil Jewelry. Whatever the case, this cake turned out to be the best I've ever made, so go run and get the recipe. Another bonus, by the way? The ginger liqueur that gives this cake a kick of flavor was made by Chicago's own Koval Distillery. Win-win-win-win-cake.

I was surprised at how fast I made it through The Reservoir Tapes because I've been reading a lot of dark thrillers lately and thought I was going to take a bit of a break. After I opened the package from Catapult Books, I went to put this book on the bookshelf, looked up, and realized I had gotten halfway through. Yep. That good. Check out the review, then head over to pre-order it from Catapult.

Note: Catapult Books provided a pre-release copy of The Reservoir Tapes to Page & Plate for the purposes of this independent review.

Smoked Maple Scones, The Power, and Packing a Punch

When I walked out of the Savory Spice Shop in Lincoln Square after picking up the spice samples they had set aside for me, I was looking at two small-ish bags of sugar crystals thinking about what recipe I had that only needed a teaspoon of sugar and how that could possibly do this spice a justice. 

Smoked Maple Scones featuring Savory Spice Shop
 Here is a picture of me explaining to Colin that just because I am eating a scone with bacon in it does not mean I am a disappointment to vegetarians everywhere. There is an 80% chance that I was saying "I'm telling you..."

Here is a picture of me explaining to Colin that just because I am eating a scone with bacon in it does not mean I am a disappointment to vegetarians everywhere. There is an 80% chance that I was saying "I'm telling you..."

Because I am the patron saint of impatience, I opened the bags when I got to the car and took a sniff and was basically knocked on my butt by how powerful that little bag of sugar smelled. I mean WOW. And then, of course, I wanted to dump some in my coffee because whiskey, sugar, and coffee all sound like things that belong together, and again, lots of impatience. But I managed to resist the impulse, bake the sugar into smoked maple scones, and then promptly devoured those instead. See? It all worked out. And lemme tell you, that sugar packs a punch on those scones. They're like little left hooks that you want to eat for brunch. So cute! AND, I made a video so yeah, worth your time.

Also, I read The Power by Naomi Alderman on a train in Ireland and it was so engrossing that I basically didn't even care we were driving past castles. Almost. But still: it was a book that slams you with realness and then walks away into the distance to leave you with your thoughts. I'm not going to be like "feminist dystopian fiction is the new beach read!" but it kind of is.

Read the review, read the recipe, and check out the Savory Spice Shop. They have some seriously awesome spice blends that I'm dying for you to try, and they were kind enough to give me some for free, so look for more recipes with their stuff coming your way!

Smoked Maple Scones and The Power by Naomi Alderman

Grown Up Pop Tarts, Two Sides, Three Rivers, and Stuff You Know You Love

Before you start reading, just know that I'm very high on the fact that the sun is shining, it's almost Friday, and I've had a pretty great week. There will be lots of exclamation points and excitement. You've been warned...

OKAY. The first thing I'm excited about is today's book, Two Sides, Three Rivers by Sharon Dilworth. It is so very super special and extra exciting for me to review this book because Sharon was my thesis advisor throughout my senior year of college. Naturally, she not only helped me become a better writer, but also ended up counseling me on searching for jobs, navigating senior year, and recognizing the value in a nice, big glass of wine. She is one of my idols, in writing and in life, and all of that was totally reaffirmed by this collection of short stories. She is a brilliant writer, and I hope you order her book (published by Bridge & Tunnel Books, a Pittsburgh publishing house!) and enjoy it and marvel at her incredible talent.

Two Sides, Three Rivers and Grown Up Pop Tarts

I'm also excited (or just over-caffeinated, both are possible) about the grown up pop tarts that Colin and I made this week. I was not a lover of Pop-Tarts, but I can definitely get behind this adult version that could technically be called a hand pie. I guess. But isn't grown up pop tart so much more fun!? Yep! We're done here. 

These are two things you owe it to yourself to read about, trust me. And now, me and my giddiness are going for a nice long run around the City to burn off some of this energy.

Nutella Banana Bread, Friendship Bread, and Building Foundations

My understanding of buildings, construction, and even sandcastles is limited at best, but I've had a hand in too many failed cakes not to understand the importance of a solid foundation. (See the near disaster that was my birthday cake this year as exhibit one.) But today, we're all about those solid foundations.

 Just so much drool.

Just so much drool.

The recipe of the day is an updated take on Mammaw's classic, constant banana bread recipe: Nutella banana bread. DROOL FACE EMOJI. Also, real talk: Mammaw is a goddess, and if you had tried to tell me that this recipe could be improved simply by adding such an extra, millennial ingredient, I would have slapped you. But having eaten probably about half of this loaf since it came out of the oven, my stance has softened. Do stances soften? I don't even know, but the point stands: there's nothing wrong with building on the solid foundation of a classic recipe to make a sexy, updated fave.

I actually got the idea from today's book, Friendship Bread by Darien Gee. In the book, her characters use the original recipes to make a bunch of crazy loaves, and I was very about it. I was also about how everything really worked out for everyone in a way that was so relieving it was almost shocking. (I'm experiencing Game of Thrones again as Colin watches for the first time, and it's traumatizing me.) Check out the review, and let me know what you think! 

The moral of today's post is that as long as you have a good foundation, you can add Nutella for anything. Right? Right.

Page & Plate Note: Darien Gee provided a copy of Friendship Bread to me for the purposes of this independently written review. The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. Want to see your name and book here? Email me at pageandplateblog@gmail.com to talk shop!

Olive Oil Plum Cake, My Life in France, and Other Things to Bask In

Today's post is full of things so good they almost make me tear up because they're just so satisfying and wonderful. I realize that might sound crazy, but hear me out: olive oil plum cake and My Life in France.

 I mean, just. Wow.

I mean, just. Wow.

Julia Child is a true gem (which Colin says is something that nobody my age says anymore), and there is no greater proof of than this book. The only reason it took me more than a day to get through was because at some points I would become so emotionally involved with how desperately I wanted to be learning about food in France that my heart would start to physically ache and my eyes would tear up on their own accord. Then you have this cake, and when it's warm and right out of the oven, the plums are so soft and steamy that they're basically jam, and you take a bite and it's lemon-y (thanks to Old Town Oil), moist, and light, and everything is beautiful. (Oh, and also there is a video.)

I'm telling you guys. Recipe for a perfect Sunday right there.  

Speaking of perfect Sundays, last Sunday, I saw my fellow CMU graduate, Haley, who's working on a great project called Tense Humanity which will consist of "doodles, illustrator scribblings, and words re: tech, design, systems thinking, and their many relations." Check it out on Instagram or on Medium , and enjoy her beautiful brain!

Page & Plate Note: Old Town Oil gave me a sampler pack of olive oil and vinegar to use for recipe testing and the purposes of this review. Thanks, Old Town Oil!

Macarons, Infinite Jest, and Other Things TBD

I am about to make a post about a recipe I haven't yet perfected and a book I haven't finished. While some of you might be scratching your heads or picking up your phone to furiously text me about the indignity of it all, please, allow me to explain. 

macarons and infinite jest.JPG

Reading and cooking are alike in that they are two activities some people consider a chore and others consider a pleasant past time. (Then there are those of us weirdos who consider them plain out fun, but we don't need to go into that right now.) When doing something you love, or even remotely find tolerable, there are going to be times that you don't quite measure up to what you had imagined for yourself. For me, nothing perfectly encapsulates this battle more than Infinite Jest.

I have nothing against this book. I have nothing against David Foster Wallace. In fact, from what I've read of the book, I find it challenging and well-written. But for some reason, I cannot bring myself to chew through this book the way I have with so many others. But that's okay! Because taking my time with this one is fine. I'm allowed to say I'm still reading it, and I'm allowed to take ten years to read it if I want to (but I won't! I swear!). 

The other thing that's okay, as much as it pains me to admit, is that I have not yet made a perfect batch of macarons. I've made three batches that tasted delicious and ranged in looks from passable to plain yuck. Yes, my eye is twitching as I write this.

The point is that life is too short to worry about doing things perfectly and finishing every book you start in three days. Go forth, read what you want, and bake your best life.

Mushroom and Swiss Chard Galette, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and Packaging

First of all, longest post title ever. Whew. 

Second of all, let's talk about packaging! And no, I don't mean the typical explosion of bubble wrap or the lethally sharp plastic fasteners. I'm talking about the perfect pie crust. Or book cover. Don't you just love how my two topics of discussion meld so seamlessly together for discussion every single time? Me too. 

 So tasty, yet so sad. SO SAD.

So tasty, yet so sad. SO SAD.

I struggle with aesthetics, particularly in baked goods. Though I'm getting better with dishes I cook, baking is still a struggle. (For context, I will include a picture of my disastrous macarons from this weekend.) My inability to cope with these less than perfect desserts is also why Colin has put a moratorium on baked goods when I'm overtired. That is another story for another day.

This is just one of the reasons I love a good galette. All of its imperfections aren't even imperfections! They're part of what makes it rustic and quaint, all things that a galette must be to be more than a messy pie. Not to mention that they do a great job of hiding all of the ugly things inside of them (sorry, mushrooms).

I also struggle with judging things hastily, and I am definitely not improving in that department. But it always when something comes along and upturns all of your judgement on its head just to prove you wrong and remind you of your own shortcomings. This week, that something was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I recently really enjoyed thanks to the recommendation of a fellow book lover over beers at Old Town Ale House. 

galette and 7 husbands.jpg