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You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is certain — and when I say nothing, I mean nothing — I can com home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. — Julie Powell in Julie & Julia

I grew up watching The French Chef on television. I hear Julia’s voice telling me that whenever I flip something, I need to have the courage of my convictions. (I rarely do.) While I adore Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I actually get more use out of Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom.

A couple of years ago I wanted to make a nice, simple potato leek soup. I pulled out a giant Gourmet cookbook promising to have every recipe I might want to cook … except potato leek soup. In Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, it is one of the very first “master” recipes. It was perfect, and I use it often.

The simple recipes, made with quality ingredients, are often the best. They really taste like their ingredients, and yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Tonight’s meal wasn’t quite so simple — mushroom and cheese omelette, mashed potatoes, and steamed zucchini — but it reminded me how satisfying and pleasurable a thoughtfully cooked meal is and how much happier I am when I eat real food I have prepared myself from ingredients (i.e. not a frozen pizza). With that in mind, I am forming if not a plan then an intention to do more cooking from the shelves of cookbooks in my house, test out the Joule I received as a gift, and maybe finally get through some of my Rouxbe cooking classes.

I will keep you posted on how it goes.

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Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing. ~E.L. Doctorow

I have been doing a lot of thinking about writing publicly, as in resurrecting the blog.

Ever since (and maybe a bit before) I heard those words “president-elect Donald Trump” come out of my kitchen radio on that fateful day, I have felt less inclined to keep quiet and more like I have something to say.  Out loud.  And not just to the cat.

In the last couple of years, my eyes have been opened not only to the depth of misogyny and racism and intolerance of whomever might be the “them” of the moment still so prevalent and entrenched in this land of the free and home of the brave but also made me really angry about it.  It has also made me angry that I hadn’t realized just how safe and isolated my life is.  And how luxurious.

I have a house and a car, neither of which has been threatened or destroyed by wildfire or hurricane or tsunami or earthquake.  I have heat and electricity and drinkable hot and cold running water.  (Hot running water is my absolute most favorite modern luxury.  There aren’t too many things in life better than a nice, long, hot shower.)  I have plenty of clothes and food.  I have a tiny bit of money in the bank.

As I was becoming more angry, I was also becoming more grateful.  Every night, especially if it has been a difficult day and I am having trouble falling asleep, I make a gratitude list.  If job stress is keeping me awake, it can be difficult to be grateful that I am employed, but I can still be grateful that I don’t live in a war zone, and the roof is still attached to the house.

2018 has been a challenging year.  A number of major events which I knew were inevitable came about in fairly quick succession.  They were the kinds of things which I expected to be horribly devastating and had no idea how I would handle.  I didn’t always handle them well, and there were moments when I definitely wanted the world to stop so that I could get off, but I survived them all not too much the worse for wear.

I might write about those events.  I might just write about food and yarn and books and movies.  I might rant about the injustices of the world.  But I am pretty sure that I need to stop thinking about writing and start writing.

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