This place, supposedly still our home, feels very alien to me: boxes are everywhere, dust bunnies are forming and the available floor space is rapidly disappearing. There is, somewhere in this mess, sadness and a feeling of loss, but I suddenly feel rather numb to it all. Or maybe it's just gotten lost in the mess (or organized chaos, whichever you prefer) and I can't find it. All I know is that this process--folding dozens of shirts (who needs this many shirts?), organizing hangers by size (almost as bad as finding matching socks), wrapping dishes just so so that they do not break if jostled--is the most tedious of all processes. And keep in mind that this is said by somebody who once enjoyed the process of building a perfectly alphabetized bibliography.
It's clear to me now, in the second move that the Greek and I have managed together, that he is the one who excels at packing. He is much more methodical than I could ever be, much more experienced, perhaps because of years in the lab working with hazardous materials, with the art of wrapping jars of spices and of making do in the midst of chaos. I do, however, know that my skills will shine when we get to the other side; if he excels at taking things apart, I'm the one who thrives on putting them back together. There's a comfort in knowing that, with our combined skills, we have both sides of the move covered.
Since I'm not quite sure when I'll next manage to post (maybe from Vegas or New Mexico? The plan is to post lots of pictures and to write about my experiences while they're still fresh in my mind), I wanted to check in and share some of my favorite things of late.
First, the photo above: this is my take on a recipe from Cheryl Sternman Rule's Yogurt Culture, a book that, as the title promises, is devoted to all things yogurt. More than a cookbook, Yogurt Culture offers a look at the role that yogurt plays in different country's food cultures. It's a fascinating read and the recipes, all featuring yogurt, are unique and refreshing. We've made the stuffed peppers with labneh and pistachios, as well as the tomato, cucumber and avocado salad, which is basically all I've wanted to eat all summer.
In my quest to get rid of all the food I've bought even though I've known we were moving for a while now, I recently made Anna Jones' Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream (delicious), as well as a bundt-cake version of Melissa Clark's lemony olive oil banana bread via 101 Cookbooks. Even when moving, who said you can't or shouldn't eat well?
Even though I don't know how I can possibly fantasize about going anywhere right now, I still regularly find myself thinking about the trip to Mexico City that has yet to happen. If times were different, I might satisfy myself with Honeydew Seed Horchata or Zucchini Torte (still my favorite zucchini recipe of the past few years) or Fany Gerson's inspired Mexican Street-Corn Paletas, but not right now.
These days, it seems like everybody is writing cookbooks (Jennifer Aniston, Kristin Cavallari, Trisha Yearwood, every celebrity chef and then some). I don't know if this trend is old or new, but I recently discovered that even Salvador Dali wrote a cookbook. His book somehow strikes me as infinitely more interesting and readable than the others, though.
I have long lived in fear of earthquakes, which is perhaps why I found this article in The New Yorker about the Pacific Northwest and the promise of the big one to be so utterly terrifying. The fear factor aside, this is as fine as example as any that The New Yorker keeps delivering solid journalism with every issue.
The same can be said for The New Yorker's profile of the now ex-Greek finance minister Varoufakis. Love him or hate him (I myself think he's absurd, though his economic ideas are sound), this is not only a fascinating profile of a rising/fallen politician, but also of the internal workings of the European Union. That is, if Varoufakis, a consummate unreliable narrator, can be trusted.
Recently I've been seeing a ridiculous number of articles on the way women talk. I think The Washington Post summed things up nicely when it offered "13 [Tongue-in-Cheek] Tips on How To Speak While Female."
If you're looking for a good and intelligent food podcast, I highly recommend Linda Pellacio's "A Taste of the Past." The episodes on Roman food culture and Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts were a pleasure to listen to.
One thing I'm excited about on the other side is getting to spend more time in Philadelphia, which The Washington Post just named one of America's best food cities.
And, last but not least, although I'll soon be leaving, I discovered yesterday at work (Tuesday was supposed to be my last day, but this is simply how The Law works) that I'll probably be coming back in October for the trial that our firm will be dealing with then. This helps a lot with my California nostalgia since it means my goodbye, in a way, is only temporary. When I get back, I'm finally going to the 20th Century Cafe for a slice of Russian Honey Cake; this is a promise.