Posts tagged ‘food’

9 for ’09

I didn’t manage 9 categories, but here are my top 9’s in 6 (9 upside-down) categories for 2009:

Memorable Meals

Eli’s first meat, a meatball at the Pasta Pomodoro in San Rafael, of all places: “Mama, I know it’s meat, and I want it.”
Jewish Quarter falafel with Lilya
Tony’s 40th birthday party at Beretta – burrata on pizza, mmmm…
Dinner with Libby and her family at Jamie’s Italian in Oxford
One lukewarm bottle of water at Legoland in England (where it does get hot but they still don’t have ice): the difference between surviving the day and passing out from heat stroke
Picnics by the pool
Cocktails & dessert at Aziza, any Monday night we had babysitting
Birthday parties for stuffies, with bowls of unsalted peanuts and eucalyptus leaves, hosted by Eli
Dinner and Christmas carol mash-up/singalong, with my parents, led by the boys

Best books

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
My Life in France by Julia Child
The King (poems) by Rebecca Wolff
Boy Alone: A Brother’s Memoir by Karl Taro Greenfield
This Lovely Life by Vicki Forman
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Lit by Mary Karr


Where the Wild Things Are – a terrific adaptation
Ponyo – Eli’s first movie theater movie since he graduated from the sling
Fantastic Mr. Fox – our first movie outing as a family
The Class (Entre Les Murs) – best new teaching movie
Who Does She Think She Is? – my favorite documentary of the year
Inglourious Basterds – actors, director, everyone at the top of their game
The Hurt Locker – the best war movie
(500) Days of Summer – best dance sequence of the year (and probably decade)
Sweet Land – my favorite love story of the year

2009 Memories and milestones

Eli and Mariah asleep, leaning their heads on each other, in the back of the car on the drive home from Pt. Reyes
Ben learning to ride his bike without training wheels
AWP in Chicago, meeting so many literary mamas, spending 4 days without the boys
Tony’s and my night away at Indian Springs Resort
Wine and snacks with Rob, Lilya, Liz and Ross while our boys played soccer in the courtyard of our Paris rental with one of the boys who lived in the building
An amazingly relaxing two night Big Basin camp-out (8 adults and 7 boys)
Eli learning to read
Ben playing soccer at school recess
Mama, PhD readings at Duke and the University of Richmond


Tate Modern + London Transit Museum
Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire in the Presidio
Musee de l’orangerie
Amish Abstrations quilt show at the De Young
Eli counting down to his weekly preschool art days
Seeing Maya Lin and Andy Goldsworthy installations at Storm King Art Center
Bidding on one of Tony’s dad‘s paintings in an online auction – and winning!
Ben learning how to weave


Eli: “I just want one more hug of you.”
Ben: “How is it that I am I?”
Eli: “I want some food.” Tony: “I’m making dinner.” Eli: “I want something more fastly.”
Ben imitating Yogi Bear: “Hey, Boo Boo!”
Eli rejecting a band-aid for his sore throat, “And anyway, the inside of my throat isn’t stickable!”
Ben: “I’m going to try something new!”
Eli: “Mama? Since you are two years older than Tony, why don’t you know more about LEGO?”
Ben to Eli, referring to us, “Ask one of the grown-ups.”
Eli to me: ” I love you cozier than my bed, curlier than your hair, and gooder than my oatmeal.”

May your 2010 be gooder than oatmeal, too.

Food Is Stories

It has been, by most objective measures, a lousy week. It announced itself with a dog bite on my Monday morning run, developed with Eli’s fever, peaked the night Tony and I spent at Eli’s bedside, putting cold washcloths on his head and wondering whether to take him into Urgent Care, and has now moved into the quiet dull rhythm of boredom and cabin fever that settles on a house when a family member has been sick a while. I did finally make the ultimately ill-advised decision to leave the house, only to back our garage-parked car into our driveway-parked car (another reason I want to sell one of our cars; it might be a bit harder now, though). But I have to say that if my child was going to choose any week to be sick and keep me anchored on the couch, stroking his head while he watched endless episodes of Oswald and Peep in the Big World, at least he chose the week that the New York Times Magazine published the food issue.

Click on over to the other blog to read the rest…

In other news…

I once tried to write an essay in which I compared my writing to the proverbially ignored third child, but the analogy didn’t seem to hold up and I shelved the piece. And now it’s out of date; I can’t claim that my writing isn’t getting much attention, and I’m grateful for that. But now this blog is becoming that third child — the independent oldest, left alone for long periods while I tend to its younger blog siblings.

At Learning to Eat, I’ve been giving my muffin tin a workout, and offer recipes for blueberry, banana, and vegan banana muffins, as well as pizza. Browse around and you’ll find a balanced meal or two (and the drink to accompany them).

At Mama, PhD, I’ve been invited to participate in a reading at UC Riverside, and posted a video of our recent event at the University of Richmond. So go check them out and I’ll try to update here over the weekend.

Feeding Moosie

A new member of the family joined us this Christmas. At the time, we thought he was just a simple stuffed animal, a soft, brown baby moose that accompanied a larger moose my sister’s family gave to Eli. But Moosie, as Eli quickly and logically named him, has taken on a larger role.

click on over to the other blog to read the rest…

A new book, a new blog…

Mama, PhD is just starting to make its way out in the world, and yet my attention is split between that and my new book project, Learning to Eat, which I’m co-editing with Mama, PhD contributor Lisa Harper.

As the book proposal makes the rounds, we’re blogging about feeding our kids. Right now, our summer travels have us writing about learning to eat in Hawaii, in Paris, and on airplanes, but eventually, we’ll get back to where it all started: the kitchen, the playground, the dinner table.

Come join the conversation!

Getting Porked

On a day when I’ve been feeling relieved to be finally solidly, unambivalently, and enthusiastically behind a presidential candidate, this made me laugh:

Yum, Yum

When Eli outgrew his crib, we moved him into a big-boy bed in a now shared room with Ben and I–for the first time in my life–got an office. One small room with a desk and, well, yes, a pull-out couch because it’s our guest room, too. But mostly it is my office, with a tall bookshelf stacked with my old grad student books (the ones I wasn’t so sick of that I sold back), and my favorite novels, and tons of anthologies, and one little picture book about food that never made it down to the kitchen, where it belongs. It’s a collection of Andy Warhol’s comments about food, illustrated with his drawings, and now everyday after his nap, Eli comes bombing down the hall with his blanket and his bear and his bunny and his two doggies and his ball (because ever since our trip east last month he is a dog, he says, who needs to sleep with a ball), and he pulls the book off the shelf and says, “Mama, let’s read Yum Yum!” So we do.

Some of the lines are profound:
“Progress is very important and exciting in everything except food.”

And some of them are not so profound:
“Tab is Tab, and no matter how rich you are, you can’t get a better one.”

Some are sweet truisms:
“It’s nice to have a little breakfast made for you.”

And some make excellent points:
“When you want an orange, you don’t want someone asking you, ‘An orange what?'”

This is my favorite line:
“I love the way the smell of each fruit gets into the rough wood of the crates and into the tissue-paper wrappings.”

And this is Eli’s:
My only regret was that I didn’t have an ice cream scoop in my pocket.

I don’t remember how the book came to us, but I’m glad we have it. As Eli says, “I’m great fond of this book!”


I’m not at all a proselytizer, generally, but apparently my efforts to eat a bit more seasonally have not gone unnoticed.

Exhibit A: A blueberry-pear tart a friend bought at a local shop and brought to share for lunch.
Ben’s reaction: “Blueberry tart?! What?! Blueberries aren’t in season!”

Exhibit B: Dinner at a friend’s house (the same friend, in fact), with pesto pizza.
Ben’s reaction: “Pesto?! Impossible! Basil doesn’t grow in the cold winter!”

Meanwhile, the cafe that Ben and Eli have set up outside our kitchen now sports a spiffy “USDA Organic” sign, which Ben found on the computer and printed out himself, and the boys now grow imaginary crops for the cafe in our living room. As of last night, their garden included carrots, potatoes, an olive tree, a caper bush, and a maple tree, for syrup. They also harvest their own cocoa beans. Of course.

Ten or Fewer

Last month’s Gourmet magazine reports that “one in five Americans live on a diet of ten foods or fewer. Among the most common choices? French fries, fried chicken, chocolate chip cookies, and Kraft macaroni and cheese.”

Hmm. I was a little surprised at first — ten foods or fewer! — but when it comes down to it, I don’t really have that many more in my weekly repertoire: pasta, almonds, broccoli, yogurt, milk, homemade granola, spinach/kale/chard (I’ll count that as one), fresh fruit, bread, chocolate. I definitely eat other things in a week — burritos, stir fried vegetables with tofu, cheese, tomatoes, white beans — but if I had to narrow it down to ten foods to subsist on, well, I think that’s my ten.

What’s your ten?

I Am Irritated

A new restaurant has opened in our neighborhood, and I want to like it, I really do. The menu is vegetarian, the food organically grown, sustainably harvested, locally sourced (wherever possible, of course). The restaurant uses environmentally friendly products. It’s a kid friendly-space with toys and large tables. They are trying to do the right thing, and it’s clearly hit a chord around here (of course it has) because the place is usually busy.


I cannot read the menu without wincing. Every item on the menu is an emotion, every dish a proclamation:

“I Am Sacred.” “I Am Joyful.” “I Am Triumphant.” “I Am Festive.” “I Am Bright-Eyed.” “I Am Sensational.” “I Am Prosperous.” “I Am Elated.” “I Am Plenty.” “I Am Charasmatic.” “I Am Precious.” “I Am Succulent.”

I Have To Stop!!!

I try to get past the names of the dishes and focus on the descriptions: the tabouli with hummus and spicy olive tapenade on pita sounds fine (“I Am Flourishing”), but it’s right there next to the “live sun burger” (“I Am Cheerful”) with macadamia cheddar cheese and I want my (veggie) burger cooked, thank you, and made with dairy cheese please, and then I see the basil hemp seed pesto (“I Am Sensational”) and although I know hemp is good for you, I’m not putting it in my pesto. The thought makes me cranky.

I will just never be the flax seed-eating, hemp-wearing person my zip code might suggest; in fact, I guess you can take the girl out of New York but you can’t take the New York out of the girl.