A Homemade Life

My path to the things that influence and affect my life is far more circuitous than straight. It has always been that way. You can see this in my colorful cornucopia of a resume, the now fading stamps in my passport and perhaps even in the topics of this blog, if you have been reading for longer than a week. This latest influence, that has struck a deep and buried nerve, came to me through GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle blog. A while ago she featured her favorite foodie blogs and as I am in the midst of embracing my own cooking inability and transforming it into something that can nurture this little family of three, I paid close attention. And what I found well, it may have changed everything.

Amongst the many gems of accomplished food blogs, something about Molly Wizenberg and Orangette caught my attention. As did her book, which I ordered immediately and have been devouring ever since. And today, in my forced day in bed gifted to me by my runny nosed toddler whose cold/flu has passed much more quickly than mine, I finished A Homemade Life.

One reviewer is right - you don't know whether to run into the kitchen and try to recreate the recipes like the cream-braised green cabbage or lie in bed and dream of these heavenly creations. I, well, I read the book, ear marked the recipes that seem doable (for me) and when ready, will give my first one a try.

But for me, the book hit a different kind of nerve. It hit the dad nerve. The part where my dad died too early, too soon. The part where I would have to get through my wedding day without him. The part where he was quirky and at times strange, but more full of life than anyone I have ever met. The part where he would buy diamond earrings for his girl at an estate sale and forget about them. The part where he served up sardines on saltines with diced onions and pepper to my 3rd grade friends and I wanted to crawl under the nearest large object and hide forever. The part where we had to eat his french toast and eggs and bacon on Thanksgiving morning because you have to stretch our stomachs for later on. The part where when I think of food, I think of my dad. The part where when I try to make food, I don't know how and he's not around to ask.

I have been dancing on the edge while reading Molly's book. That edge between the joy of remembering and the despair of loss, when tears can fall with effortless ease. That edge between wishing the past could have been different and actually accepting the present is here because of that past. That edge between staying small and embracing ones true greatness. She has both given me the kick in the ass to get over my "but I don't like to cook" attitude and the inspiration to simply start to write. To really write. And to put myself out there. And to just see what happens.

I may not ever be able to say that I love cooking and I certainly won't hold Molly's book responsible. But I am my father's daughter and I have to trust that in my gene's somewhere is the ability to at least like it. And just maybe, I can learn to make a mean chocolate cake.

By the way, Molly, if you ever read this, I bought an oven thermometer yesterday. It's still in my purse, but for now, that's exactly where I need it to be.

For more about Molly, her writing, her restaurant, visit her blog Orangette or follow her podcasts at Spilled Milk

1 comment:

wakako said...

Hi Alex,
I went to their restaurant in Seattle, Delancey and it as as lovely as her book... and I imagined if I tried her recipe from the book, perhaps it would taste like that...

I was one who enjoyed her book in bed:) I am sending warm thoughts to your kitchen. You might like "Fast Food" by Donna Hay. It's one of our favorites:)