It's cool how the gingerbread is the exact same color as my dining room table.
I bought this table in 1993, when I was living in New York City and finally got tired of serving people dinner on my desk. (Maybe when I get tired of working at the dining room table I'll go buy a desk.) I rented a truck and drove to to a giant antiques store somewhere in New Jersey. Or Pennsylvania. I don't remember. Anyway, I came home with this handsome, sturdy table that seated ten people with all its leaves in, and was almost as big as my apartment. I had friends over all the time; for a hermit, I was very social. Then one morning I used the table as an ironing board without even putting a towel underneath whatever I was ironing. I am looking at the blistered patch of varnish as I type. Such a clever girl.
Not that long ago, my sister and I started using Queer Eye as a verb. We talk about Queer Eyeing our outfits, our hairstyles, our home decor. I assume the definition is obvious, but if not: to Queer Eye means to scrutinize some visual aspect of your life as if you were a gay man with excellent taste. Would he wear this Walgreen's faux-tortoise shell plastic barette? Would he put the Sponge Bob beach towel out for guests to dry their hands on? Would he keep that saggy purple t-shirt with a bleach spot? Et cetera. It's actually very helpful because the answers are so immediate and definite and they are almost always "no."
I recently Queer Eyed my dining room and know the table should go. At her birthday party last year, Isabel and her friends spilled red nail polish on it; the drop leaf at one end is held up with a magazine; there are grooves in the wood where someone wrote too hard with a ballpoint pen.
But I can't part with this table. It's okay to talk back to the Queer Eye. Having the conversation is what matters.
Enough about the table. Now, for the gingerbread. When Isabel was in kindergarten I made gingerbread for her snack after the first day of school, and I've done it every year since. Although I don't think she cares anymore, I did it today, her first day of 7th grade using a recipe from the L.L. Bean Book of New England Cookery, liberally adapted to the ingredients I had in the house. Dark corn syrup instead of molasses, brown sugar instead of white, three times the called-for ginger. If it's a big hit, I get credit.