Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valor, Victimhood, and Valentine's Day: How I Recommitted to Love

Valentine's day used to be my holiday. I was in love with love, and it was my high holy day. Yet over time, its origins became far more appropriate to the particulars of my love life than the Hallmark sentiments I once put so much stock in. A bloody massacre, the battle between faith and the many excellent, practical, visceral reasons to give up on belief. For most of my life, there was nothing more that I believed in than the power of love. I came of age in a haze of power ballads and Sailor Moon comic books and Libran sensibilities, a whole host of influences that left me certain in one thing and one thing only-- that romantic love had redemptive powers, than my lover would be my savior, that together we would transform one another from mere mortals into gods.
I was perfectly willing to martyr myself for this belief. I knew relationships took work, and work I was willing to do. I sacrificed over and over on the altar of love. I believed in the spell of infatuation, the mysticism of sex, the alchemy of marriage. I never met my Prince Valiant, though. Perhaps I was in the wrong places at the wrong times. Perhaps I was overconfident in my ability to kiss frogs into princes, not giving enough care to the quality of the frog in question, not being discerning enough about potential. I simply assumed that if you believed in it enough, love was a choice you could make, and that by sheer determination it would become the work of art, the spiritual revelation, the redemption it was meant to be put up with a myriad of disappointments, of offenses I was unprepared to navigate.

Whiskey Resolutions

January thinks it’s hot stuff with all its resolutions and determined energy, but I think February is a way better month for rebooting your life. After all, you’ve had a minute to get used to how the new year feels, to get a sense for the vibes, to really mellow after all the craziness of the holidays. You’ve got a better sense of what you want and need in the next twelve months. Plus what else are you going to do while it’s cold and rainy and that groundhog is convincing you that you’ll never see sunshine or warmth again? Resolutions are the perfect way to kick the last of winter’s ass so that you’ll be ready to hit the ground running into your new normal as soon as spring is here.
My dear friend Hannah Messinger of the blog Nothing But Delicious declared that she has but two resolutions for 2015: drink more whiskey, eat less kettle corn. I love her approach to resolutions. Simple, easy to stick to, and, true to her blog title, full of delicious. It got me thinking about what my whiskey resolutions are this year. Not just resolutions involving actual whiskey, but those in the spirit of the drink. Here’s the ten I intend to live by:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kitchen Intuition: Roasted cabbage

Do you think you can take one more column about cabbage? It is one heck of a cold season crop. My farmer keeps producing massive heads, and I continue coming up with delicious ways of cooking them when they show up in my CSA share with incredible frequency, all winter long.
What? A farm share pickup in the middle of winter, you ask? Yes, indeed. There are a few farms in the area that offer shares, on and off, year-round. I’m currently getting vast amounts of powerhouse greens every Wednesday from Tant Hill Farm at the Main Street Farmers Market. This past week, I got chard, carrots, kale, pak choi and a cabbage that was the size of a small child. (Well, maybe not quite that big, but there sure was a lot of it!)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kitchen Intuition: Curry

This week, I’m going to tackle a pretty big subject: curry. Most of us love it, but we’re also intimidated by it, because it can seem so complicated. But the truth is, curry doesn’t have to be mysterious. When you look at its basic components, you find that it’s really not hard to create your own.
I realize that there are a lot of very complicated curry recipes out there that result in some mind-blowing dishes, but not everyone has that kind of time (or access to all those spices!). So I’m just going to talk about the elements of curry and try to break them down to the point where it might be fun to experiment.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Whiskey-Swilling Women Are Killing Vodka Sales

[In which Emmie is quoted]

“We’re realizing women don’t have to be ghettoized into these female cocktail options like cosmos and appletinis,” Meghan O’Dea, a 28-year-old essayist and member of a drinking club called The Whiskey Women, told The Huffington Post. “We’re seeing a move toward gender-neutral drinking.”
“Women are tired of this coded language used about drinks that’s limited their personal expression and what they can enjoy,” said O’Dea, the Whiskey Women club member. “There’s an idea that women can’t handle the burn or don’t like the flavor of anything that doesn’t taste like a 5-year-old mixed it.”
Those attitudes are changing. O'Dea points to Olivia Pope, the leading character on ABC’s hit drama "Scandal,” as a sign of the shift. Pope, a strong female protagonist, is also an opinionated wine connoisseur, a trait that O'Dea says may empower other women to take more pride in their poison.
“Real-life women are consciously realizing that the beverages you enjoy have a lot to say about who you are as a woman,” O'Dea said. “Women are shying away from drinks that infantilize them.”

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kitchen Intuition: Fall in love with Brussels sprouts

There is a simple path to loving Brussels sprouts: Don’t. ever. boil. them. Never, ever, ever.
Those were the Brussels sprouts I grew up on, and they were an atrocity. My siblings and I were tortured with them on a regular basis every winter. They were smushy and stinky and bitter. But after I discovered how incredibly yummy Brussels sprouts can be, I wanted to find out why they used to be so awful. So I went digging around in some of my vintage cookbooks to see what advice they were offering the women in my mother’s and grandmother’s generations.
I checked in more than a dozen cookbooks, ranging in date of publication from 1887 to the 1980s, with classic titles that included "Fannie Farmer," "Joy of Cooking," "Betty Crocker" and "Good Housekeeping." And not a single cookbook contained a recipe for Brussels sprouts that didn’t involve boiling them.