Monday, August 29, 2016

Never resist a generous impulse


How I came to acquire seven Korean cookbooks is a long and eerie story that I struggled -- and failed! --  to write about it in its full, bittersweet richness. I told Mark it was like I was trying to do a twisting flip and kept falling off the beam. Too many feelings, too much backstory, too complicated, taking way, way too long. I was driving myself nuts and we can’t have that, can we. 

Here, then, is the short version of the story of how I came to acquire seven Korean cookbooks: Someone who was very important to me when I was young died a month ago. Russell Miller dated my mother in the 1980s and he became a great friend of mine as well. An unforgettable man, Russell. Tart, candid, energetic, full of ideas, unlike anyone I’ve ever met. I still can’t believe that someone so vital could die. He called me “kiddo” and he believed in me a lot more than I believed in myself when I was 24. He gave me a piece of advice that I have thought of on a weekly basis ever since: Never resist a generous impulse. 

I learned of his death via Facebook. Has that happened to you yet? Coming across a post about an old friend’s death on social media amid pot belly pig videos and anti-Donald Trump rants?

A few days later, I received an email from Russell’s lawyer. Russell had left me a $1,000 bequest “to buy some books and bake something special.” 

I do not get remembered in wills every day. There’s something incredibly moving about receiving an unanticipated gift like that from beyond the grave, from someone who owed you nothing and expects nothing from you, someone who thought of you not just with affection, but with such precision. He knew me well.

It was like I had been touched by a magic wand. I can’t explain it better than that. I still feel like I’m living in this little bubble of grace.  It has nothing to do with the money. 

But there was money and I plan to spend it all as directed. Which brings me to my stack of brand-new Korean cookbooks. Korean food, which I love, has always seemed an impenetrable and forbidding cuisine to tackle at home. I was ready for a challenge and have been cooking industriously and happily ever since the beautiful books arrived. Why have I not posted about my Korean cooking adventures? See paragraph one. 

Over the last couple weeks we have eaten Korean meat loaf and Korean roast chicken, hand-torn noodle soup, two versions of fiery stir-fried pork belly (this one was really good), black bean paste noodles, pan-fried dumplings, and a spicy soft tofu stew. Last night I made kimchi fried rice, easy and unbelievably satisfying. Mark said, “You’ve really hit a sweet spot with the cooking, don’t you think?”



I do think. My fixation on Donald Trump has given way to a fixation on jjangmyeon. This is much healthier.

Here is the list of books I bought:

Eating Korean by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee
Dok Suni: Recipes from My Mother’s Korean Kitchen by Jenny Kwak
Koreatown by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard
Discovering Korean Cuisine ed. Allisa Park
Growing up in a Korean Kitchen by Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall
A Korean Mother’s Cooking Notes by Chang Sun-Young
Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking by Maangchi

It’s a motley collection, ranging from the hyper-masculine Koreatown to the Korean Mother’s Cooking Notes, a wonderful and eccentric little volume that includes recipes for baby food and instructions on the proper scrubbing of pots. 

I’m not going to write in detail about everything I’ve cooked so far, I’ll just try to do better going forward. I plan to stick with Korean for a while. These books are precious to me because of the way they came into my life and I want to do them justice. 

It was a beautiful cake until Owen and that tub of frosting got involved.
On another subject, I finally watched The Great British Baking Show, which I loved, of course. 

pretty much

Friday, August 05, 2016

Orange hair, red tomatoes, green rhubarb


Life, early August, 2016:

Wake up, coffee, read headlines to catch up on Donald Trump news that erupted overnight, check Talking Points Memo to see what they have to say on the Donald Trump news, then Politico, then Slate, then the National Review, then Twitter. After this, it’s time for Facebook to see which friend chose today to post an impassioned call for everyone to come together and vote for Hillary, no matter how we feel about her, because the alternative is unthinkable. A fight in the comments inevitably ensues, ignited by either a representative of the small number of Trump supporters in my universe or a progressive who announces that he/she will under no circumstances vote for Hillary to prevent Trump, that’s like choosing between Pol Pot and Hitler, he/she is voting for Jill Stein. These fights go on for dozens, even scores, of comments. By the time I’m done reading them, Trump has almost surely said or tweeted something new and amazing so I go back to the headlines and the circuit begins again. Round and round it goes. Soon it is time to start making dinner and I feel like I have just wasted a whole day because I have.

Sometimes I can successfully avoid the vortex, but this only happens if I go cold turkey, zero internet starting from the moment I get up. A productive, peaceful day is then possible unless, mid-afternoon, I decide to go to Whole Foods and there’s a line at the check-out counter. After I’ve studied what the person in front of me is buying and concluded yet again that I really can’t afford the 200 calories in an Ocho chocolate-coconut bar, I remember my phone is in my bag and . . .  he said what?

The rest of the day is lost.

The other salient feature of my life, early August, 2016: cherry tomatoes. We struggle to grow big tomatoes, but the cherry tomatoes are flooding the kitchen. I can’t keep up with the buggers. This week I made two dishes that employed cherry tomatoes to excellent, very different effect, and yet there are still several pounds of cherry tomatoes attracting fruit flies in a bowl on the counter and hanging off the bushes out back. Those bushes show no signs of knocking off. Hardly something to complain about, too much food. I’ll stop.

Here are the cherry tomato dishes, both of which I recommend. As it happens, both also contain kale. 

*Toasted bulgur bowl from Lukas Volger’s Bowl. I don’t hate or even dislike tabbouleh, but I could happily give it up for the rest of my life. Not quite salad, not quite starch. Watery. Insipid. Not Volger’s version! It’s a robust meal. Nutty, toasted bulgur fortified with kale and chickpeas and enriched with toasted almonds and garlicky tahini sauce. I made it even heartier with some feta. Try it. You’ll be pleased. It keeps, too, so you have healthy lunches for the next couple days. Recipe here.

*One-pot tomato and kale pasta. Many thanks to the publicist who sent me A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones. What a lovely surprise, coming home to find this handsome book full of vegetarian bowl recipes on my doorstep. Last night I tried Jones’s version of that one-pot pasta youve probably heard about. I’m talking about the pasta you make by putting uncooked spaghetti, sauce ingredients, and water in single pan and boiling for 8 minutes or so.






Cool, no? 

I may have actually tried this before, but I can’t remember. Too much cooking, getting old. It was easy and worked beautifully. The pasta and lemony tomato sauce marry in a wonderful way when they’re cooked together and the kale, which you add at the end, eliminated the need for a salad. Not that I would have made one anyway. I loved this and Mark did too. Recipe here.

The final noteworthy event in my August so far: I baked the ugliest cake ever. Our rhubarb patch is almost as fecund as our cherry tomato plants, but, alas, the rhubarb variety we grow is green. It tastes exactly the same as pink rhubarb but if it is true that we eat first with our eyes. . .


I think it is true.

The recipe comes from the irresistible Vintage Cakes and consists of a rich, yogurt batter that you top with hot rhubarb compote and bake.



This soft, tangy cake tasted fine, but not as fine as the Food52 rhubarb cake of a few weeks ago, which had the added advantage of hiding the color of the rhubarb. I will never dig up our rhubarb patch, which has been going strong for about 8 years now (I started with seeds), but I might have to plant some red rhubarb next year.

Friday, July 29, 2016

These happy almost-golden years

I would be insulted if I were Julia Roberts.
Our children have been gone for weeks and weeks. Mark and I flew down to Phoenix last weekend, like the peppy middle-aged couple enjoying their almost-golden years that I guess we are. Damn. I don’t like the sound of that one bit. But the reality isn’t bad at all.

So, Phoenix. It turns out to be a cheap destination in July. Can you guess why? We had two goals and accomplished them both with ease on our 30-hour vacation. Both were delightful experiences that I highly recommend should you ever find yourself in that hot and lunar city. 
Biancoverde
Goal #1: Eat at Pizzeria Bianco. I reported a story about pizza several years ago and the sources kept mentioning Chris Bianco in Phoenix as pioneer/guru/forerunner of American pizza. His pizza was reputedly amazing. Amazing pizza in Phoenix? This was like hearing that the best pulled pork can be found in Anchorage, or the best Thai food in America in Las Vegas. The latter is actually true, or used to be. But it’s bizarre.

We headed to Pizzeria Bianco straight from the airport. We went to the branch in an open-air mall. (There's another downtown.) The restaurant was pleasant, unfussy, and uncrowded, with flea market paintings and mismatched school chairs. It was surprisingly feminine for a pizzeria, but not at all precious. 

I hate describing pizza. I’ve been forced to do it in the past and finding new ways to say that pizza is delicious will drive a writer to verbal extremes that contradict the uncomplicated essence of the thing itself. Here’s a description of a Chris Bianco pizza from an Eater story: “the crust’s lip was full but not puffy, more Julia Roberts than Angelina Jolie, and the lacy mozzarella, butterscotch-tinged onions and hunks of fennel sausage showed a generous hand.”

The second part of the description is fine. The first part? Points for effort.

We returned the next day on our way back to the airport and ordered two more pizzas, including my favorite, the Rosa, an austere pie topped with Parmesan, red onions, rosemary, and pistachios. To quote from the Eater story again, there was an “intricate chemistry between the stinging red onion, the piney rosemary, and the earthy-sweet pistachios.” 

That works, though I think “intricate chemistry” is a stretch. It’s pizza! 

Freaking great pizza. 

Other than a donut, pizza was all I ate in Phoenix. Mark might have also eaten a banana.
Goal #2. Taliesen West. This was Frank Lloyd Wright’s live-work compound for the winter months, a magnificent network of stone buildings in an expanse of cacti, rattlesnakes, javelinas, and rock. There are a few pools and some Chinese pottery integrated into the design, as well as a small auditorium and screening room, but the angular structures were designed to meld with the stark, sere landscape. Gorgeous and strange. I know nothing about architecture but have always loved touring FLW buildings. Mark and I decided that a project for our dotage will be to take short trips to tour FLW sites in Wisconsin, Chicago, and Pennsylvania. At least one of them even offers a senior discount.

Incidentally, we stayed at the Phoenix Biltmore, a stunning hotel that Wright helped to design. Very affordable this time of year. We thought we’d go cool off in one of the many Biltmore swimming pools, only to discover that even pool water is hot in Phoenix in late July. So we sat in lounge chairs in the shade where I drank diet Coke, Mark drank frozen margaritas, and we read our books. 

It’s fun and peaceful being a couple without kids around. You forget. 

In other news, last night, I made this zesty pasta to deal with the cherry tomato bonanza in our backyard. It’s a delicious dish with the gutsy, swarthy flavors of mint, garlic, Pecorino and caramelized sweet tomato. Intense, but not overwhelming, more Robert De Niro than Al Pacino. . . 

Biltmore statuary

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Who are you and what have you done with Jennifer?

Nigella would call this "temple food."
Had I carefully read and considered the recipe for the dish pictured above I would never have made it.  I would have thought: vegan, steamed vegetables, grains, “clean,” no one will like it. 

But I didn’t carefully read or consider the recipe, made it, and as clever readers have already surmised from this set-up, we loved the dish. Mark finished and said, “Wow, what a great dinner.” 

To put that in context, the night before last Mark finished the dinner I had served, a Thai beef stir fry, and loutishly announced, “I give that a B.”

The recipe for this bowl comes from Bowl by Lukas Volger. Given my recent enthusiasm for bowls, the book caught my eye when I was at the library. 


Given my longtime enthusiasm for Laurie Colwin, this recipe caught my eye when I was idly flipping through the book:


The dish is simple: mixed grains topped by steamed vegetables, quick-pickled radishes, toasted walnuts, and a sauce that consists primarily of leaves.

Sounds dreadful, at least to me, but that sauce is improbably magical. Four ounces watercress, 1/2 cup leafy herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley), 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 clove garlic, the green part of a few scallions, and a pinch of salt go into a food processor or blender. Puree until satiny. I used arugula as I couldn’t find any watercress and added a little extra olive to make the sauce smoother. You could serve this powerhouse sauce on plain steamed vegetables and be very happy, but if you aren’t on a low-carb diet, I would go for the full-carb package. I’d never made mixed grains before, but I will be making them again: 2/3 cup medium grain white rice, 2/3 cup millet, 2/3 cup quinoa. Rinse, put in a pot with  3 1/2 cups water and a big pinch salt, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to bare minimum, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. It’s fluffier than quinoa or millet and has more protein and character than white rice. 

This is an early version of the recipe that appears on Volger’s blog. It’s a bit different from what you’ll find in the book, but not in any important way. (The sauce recipe I gave above reflects the changes in the book.) For topping I went with steamed broccoli, steamed yellow squash, and steamed sliced sweet potato, along with some quick-pickled radishes Volger provides a recipe for. I loved the sliced sweet potato, liked the broccoli, was indifferent to the squash and the radishes. Avocado would work well as would some zestier pickle. Good stuff.
so depressing

Thursday, July 21, 2016

This and that, part XVII


So much to talk about today. Topics: a pretty Japanese movie, unfrosted brown cakes, tomato-mayonnaise pie, turmeric lattes.

* The new film Our Little Sister follows the daily lives of four Japanese sisters sharing a rambling old house over the course of a year or so. Minor romantic complications arise, festivals, arguments, cherry blossoms, soccer games, tears, hugs. Plot-wise it’s not exactly, I don’t know, The Shallows. But the characters are lovely, their intertwined stories absorbing, the way the sisters take care of each other moving. A major theme running through the narrative is food. The sisters pile whitebait on toast, they cook seafood curry the way their mother taught them, but above all, they make, drink, give away, and talk about plum wine. The making of plum wine is beautifully rendered. We watch the sisters pick hard, green plums from their tree, prick them with a needle in unique designs, then place the plums in crocks that they store in a cellar with wine made by previous generations. I have so many unfinished projects going that I dread the appearance of a new one, but I hope I can make plum wine happen here next spring.

Mark found the film slow and overly delicate. I can’t say he’s entirely wrong. From my description you can probably tell whether you’d enjoy Our Little Sister or not. Obviously, I did. 

*Speaking of sisters, I told mine that I’d bring dessert to dinner the other night and while I intended to make a pie or layer cake, I ended up bringing an unfrosted, one-layer, brown cake. As always. You know the kind of cake I’m talking about. Marion Burros’ famous plum torte falls into that category, as do Marcella Hazan’s great walnut cake and Laurie Colwin’s nutmeg cake, to name but a few among thousands of unfrosted, one-layer, brown cakes. 

While the cake I brought was delicious, I felt vaguely sheepish about it. I realized that the unfrosted, one-layer, brown cake has become my lazy default dessert. I can tell myself I make these cakes because they are understated, elegant, vaguely European, but I know in my heart that these days I mostly make them because they are easy. The unfrosted, one-layer, brown cake has begun to feel like the home baker’s equivalent of an Eileen Fisher tunic: comfortable, neutral, tasteful, middle aged. Not that there’s anything wrong with Eileen Fisher tunics. There’s nothing wrong with unfrosted, one-layer, brown cakes, either. But what about the occasional trifle? Baked Alaska? Lemon meringue pie? 

I need to get out of this rut.

I’m not sure the previous paragraphs did anything to sell the Food52 rhubarb almond crumb cake, which is the unfrosted, one-layer, brown cake I brought to my sister’s. I’m sorry, because it was a winner. (Someone even described it as ambrosial.) It’s a basic butter cake with rhubarb folded in and a crunchy almond streusel topping.  You could use more fruit, you could change the fruit, you could change the nuts, you could swap out the almond extract for vanilla, you could experiment with different flours. If you have a crazy rhubarb patch like I do, bookmark this recipe. It’s a really handsome tunic. You can wear it anywhere.

*On July 4, 1996, nine days before we got married, I baked a tomato pie that Mark has talked about ever since. I know the date because it is written in the margins of Laurie Colwin’s More Home Cooking next to the recipe for tomato pie. It’s a bizarre recipe, involving a double biscuit crust with a filling that, in addition to cheese and tomatoes, includes a big dollop of mayonnaise. Mark loved this pie and wanted me to make it again immediately. I was displeased with this pie as it was very soupy. A cook doesn’t like serving a soupy pie. It feels like failure. 

not for company
This past Tuesday, six days after our 20th wedding anniversary, I made Mark a second tomato pie. I used a recipe in Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year that looked a lot like Colwin’s, but I hoped would be less soupy. Reichl’s recipe does away with the top biscuit crust, reduces the cheese, and quadruples the mayonnaise. If you lived through the low-fat mania of the 1980s, slathering that cup and a half of glistening mayonnaise over sliced tomatoes might give you palpitations. 

How was the pie? Very good. As good as it was fattening? Not in my opinion. Would I rather have pizza? Yes. Was it soupy? Yes. Did that bother me? Yes. Did Mark love the pie? Yes. The recipe is here. I followed Reichl’s instructions exactly, though skipped the “little flurry of chopped parsley” in the biscuit dough.

*We are living in the golden age of the experimental latte. I for one feel very lucky. I want to try them all. A couple of weeks ago I went to a restaurant that listed something called a misugaru latte on the menu. The waiter explained that misugaru was a kind of Korean cereal and convinced me not to order it. I’ve regretted listening to him ever since. One of these afternoons, I plan to drive into San Francisco and try a sweet potato latte. I was hoping that afternoon would be this one, but today’s blog post has taken too long to write, damn it.

Naturally, I was fascinated by the recipe for a turmeric-ginger latte in Tess Ward’s Naked Cookbook. I tried it yesterday. You toast some turmeric powder, ginger, and cinnamon in a little skillet, combine with steamed almond milk and an optional 1/2 teaspoon honey. I was suspicious of that meager “optional” 1/2 teaspoon honey and rightly so. The latte wasn’t even slightly sweet and I had to add a lot more honey to make it so. Unless you’re on a strict no-sugar diet, you should quadruple, maybe even octuple, the honey. A bigger problem with the latte, though, was the fact that the turmeric powder did not really dissolve. It settled thickly on the bottom of the cup so that as I got towards the end of the latte a bitter sludge of turmeric filled my mouth and guess what? It was yucky. A cheesecloth-lined sieve would solve this problem, but next time I’m going to try the Goop turmeric-ginger latte which looks more delicious anyway.


Goop is such an ugly word. Why did Gwyneth choose it? I don’t even like typing it.

blueberry mochi from Benkyodo in San Francisco

Thursday, July 14, 2016

When will there be good news?

talk about hideous
The news has been relentlessly hideous. I’d feel like a simp if I launched into a chipper post about marrow bones and broccoli soup without at least mentioning how wrong and unstable everything feels, and by “everything” I mean Turkey, Orlando, Donald Trump rallies, bickering about bathrooms, shootings of civilians by cops, shootings of cops by civilians, inflammatory rhetoric on both the right and left, irritating smugness in certain quarters, intolerable racism in others, the stupid, stupid politics of sushi, self-pity, self-righteousness, speeches full of empty pieties, speeches full of utter nonsense and nauseating bigotry. Everything.

And as I was writing this, Nice. 

The world is coming unglued. 

Like a lot of people, Ive been darkly obsessed with the news lately. Now, I shall proceed with the aforementioned chipper post about marrow bones and broccoli soup. 

*If you have only ever ordered marrow bones in restaurants, you need to try roasting them at home. Five bones made an easy, curiously luxurious meal for two and cost less than $5. I used the marrow bones prep method in Jennifer McLagan’s Bones: Soak the bones in water with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt for 24 hours. Change the water (and salt) every 6-8 hours. Pat bones dry. Salt and pepper. Roast on an oiled baking sheet at 450 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Serve with gremolata and crusty bread. Delicious.

*The same day I bought the marrow bones, I also bought beef cheeks, which were also unbelievably cheap. I’d never seen them in their uncooked state and they really do look cheeky -- round, plump, red. The meat requires the same long, slow cooking as short ribs or chuck, but is softer, the shreds finer, the flavor subtly different. I used the cheeks to make these terrific rich, dark barbacoa beef cheek tacos from Food52. I used a guajillo pepper instead of the ancho (no reason, that’s just what I had), forgot the peanut butter, and recommend patting dry the cheeks before searing. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written, including making the excellent pickled onion accompaniment. Highly recommend. 

*Since that meat extravaganza, it’s been all vegetarian food from Love & Lemons, a book I will own in a few days if the librarian thinks it looks damaged. I’m afraid to say that the book might, to a very discerning eye, look damaged. I would probably say it looks gently used but will not argue if asked to replace it. I should have been more careful.



While I don’t buy cookbooks anymore, I’d be happy to add this one to my collection. The dishes in Love & Lemons are great. I’ve liked everything I’ve tried, particularly the light, lovely chickpea- carrot ribbon tacos. I think of this as young people vegetarian food. Millennial vegetarian food. Love & Lemons is full of bowls, grains, nut milks, miso, lemon. Lots of mixing of raw and cooked ingredients, everything bright, breezy, and streamlined. I worked my way through the entire soup chapter of one of the Greens cookbooks (Baby Boomer/Gen X vegetarian) in the late 1990s and I would be chopping vegetables for hours to make one pot of soup. In Love & Lemons you cook a few vegetables quickly, puree them with nuts or miso or coconut milk, and you have dinner. Here’s the recipe for a  Love & Lemons broccoli-coconut soup that we liked a lotI used an onion instead of a leek and chicken stock instead of vegetable, but if you follow the recipe exactly, it’s vegan. I’ve got a super-easy cauliflower soup in the works for tonight, freeing me up to spend even more time reading about current events and muttering to myself.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Are we a melting pot -- or a bowl?

hippie food

Lord, I love a bowl. Rice bowl, quinoa bowl, ahi bowl, teriyaki zen bowl, any kind of nauseatingly trendy bowl, bring it on. I feel like a twit every time I use the term “bowl,” but the thing itself -- an assemblage of raw/cooked/pickled/creamy/crunchy/spicy/leafy ingredients with some kind of starch and unifying sauce in a single vessel -- I love unreservedly. I know Asians have been eating one-bowl meals forever, but when did bowls become a thing (to use another term that makes me feel like a twit), in the United States? 

I like to eat bowls in restaurants because they often feature the Asian flavors I most love. Just yesterday, Mark and I stopped for lunch at KoJa Kitchen on Clement Street in San Francisco, a windswept counter-service Korean-Japanese restaurant with a lot of delectable bowls full of rich meats and zesty sauces on the menu. I ended up ordering a so-called KoJa, which was a warm sandwich between crispy-crusted rice cakes, but I thought about getting a bowl.

All the dishes at KoJa Kitchen look like bowls even when they're not. The waffle fries at right are topped with barbecued beef, kimchi, mayonnaise, red sauce, and scallions -- totally a bowl!
But while I love restaurant bowls, the most exciting application of the bowl concept, I think, is at home.  What brought all this to mind was the roasted carrot and grain bowl I made last night from the new and very pretty vegetarian cookbook Love & Lemons.  
That's not a bowl on the cover, it's a salad.
This recipe was healthy, moderately easy, cheap, and damned good. Into a bowl (obviously) you put cooked millet, roasted carrots, roasted tofu, avocado, chopped almonds, and lettuce. Now, toss some chunked raw carrots, garlic, oil, tahini, lemon juice, and orange juice into a blender, pulverize, pour over your bowl, and go watch Broadchurch.

Did I mention that bowls are ideal for eating in front of the TV? 

It wasn’t the best bowl I’ve ever made. The best bowls I’ve ever made were from Ed Lee’s Smoke & Pickles, but then of course they were. Ed Lee is a restaurant chef and his bowls contain elaborate remoulade sauces and ingredients like salmon and pork belly. They are super-fattening and take forever to make, unlike that nice roasted carrot bowl.

I fell asleep last night inventing bowl recipes and spent a half hour this morning looking up bowl recipes online. Some of those recipes don’t meet my exacting definition of a bowl. What is my definition of a bowl? A bowl must contain some warm ingredients, and some cool. It needs a variety of textures, and some crunch is absolutely essential. Starches (rice, farro, quinoa) seem standard, though I could imagine a bowl without one. There should be a fatty treat in the bowl; if it’s a vegetarian bowl, that probably means cheese and/or nuts. There has to be a fantastically delicious sauce to bind everything together, of course, and a bowl must contain at least one vegetable. The vegetable is the whole point. There’s so much happening in a bowl, you don’t even realize you’re eating vegetables. If there’s no vegetable in the bowl, you might as well go have a burger. 


Speaking of burgers, happy 4th of July! Everyone is pretty grumpy about this country right now, including me, but what do I really have to complain about? Nothing. We’re not having bowls for dinner tonight. Two middle-aged people eating bowls in front of the TV on Independence Day seemed sad. We’re not having burgers either, though. Two middle-aged people grilling burgers on a deck in the fog all by themselves also seemed sad. So we’re having roasted marrow bones and peach ice cream in front of the TV, which seemed weird and fun. Now I have to go make it happen.

I'm on a quest for a great peach pie recipe. This wasn't it.