If you're ever having a gloomy day, here's my reminder to you: there is a place, that exists, where books are free.


The solitude in this heavenly place is sweet balm to my soul, and the youthful time of year warms with its abundance my often shuddering heart. Every tree, every hedge is a nosegay of blossoms; and one would wish to be turned into a cockchafer, to float about in that sea of fragrance . . . 

and find in it all the nourishment one needs.

- Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

I'm waiting, albeit patiently, for that "youthful time of year."


On that same note, I'm just finishing Julia Child's My Life in France and it seems like perfect timing. I enjoyed the book from the beginning, but midway through her voice began to shine and I completely fell for her. She inspires me in culinary pursuits, of course, but also with her outlook on life—so intelligent and determined, yet silly and thoughtful.

Happy late Valentine's from Julia and Paul Child!

Scan from Child, Julia, and Alex Prud'homme. My Life in France. New York: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 2006. Pgs. 218–9. Print.

Valentine's Day was very relaxed here yesterday. Sam becomes nervous at checkout counters, so we ended up with both salmon and a bag of crab legs due to the shouting of the fishmonger. We steamed the crab and dipped it in garlicky butter, which was unbelievable—exactly what I remarked after each bite—and made salad, salmon, and pudding with whipped cream. We danced to records, and laughed; shared little gifts, and watched a couple episodes of Seinfeld. Then, we just chatted for a while, over glasses of water to counteract the (now empty) bottle of port. The whole evening seemed to me like something from a movie, but more flawed . . . and silly . . . and human.

(I don't usually take photos in absence of natural light, but I've been so impressed by life lately that I want to document everything. It's such a curious little thing, I think often, to be living.)


I've been baking a lot lately, sweating in my kitchen even though its snowing outside. The Chocolate Lavender Pie was for Lisa's birthday, and the Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones for a brunch that Amy hosted today. I'm feeling very thankful lately for some amazing women in my life.


Molly sent me a card with a Maira Kalman illustration on the front, which I can't get over. I love to see it there on the shelf every day, and it reminds me that Molly knows me so well and that's a good feeling. In the same corner of my apartment, I've been enjoying drinking miso soup in the mornings with its lightness and warmth—exactly what I want when it's still cold and dark out.


I first got the idea of this salad from Alice Waters, who has completely changed my idea of what exactly a salad is. I've been devouring The Art of Simple Food lately, reading it through like a novel. But Alice was a little vague about this recipe, only giving me the bones, so I turned to Ina Garten for the specifics.

• 1 Tbsp dijon
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
• 3/4 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 cup good olive oil
• 4 avocados
• 2 grapefruits

Whisk together first five ingredients for dressing and set aside. (At this point I quartered the recipe, cutting only enough fruit for one lunch serving: 1 avocado and 1/2 grapefruit.) 

Cut avocado in half, and then each half into four large slices. Lightly toss slices in dressing to avoid browning. Remove all pith from 1/2 grapefruit and cut each segment from the membrane. 

Arrange avocado and grapefruit on a plate, lightly drizzle with dressing, and serve.


Have I mentioned how much freedom I feel I've gained from having a vehicle? I only take advantage of it two or three times a month, but it makes things like a last-minute trip to Milwaukee possible, or at least more likely. The idea of an overnight popped into my head as I was getting into bed on a Thursday, so I messaged Sam, knowing he was a couple beers in and my chances were more likely. His exact reply: "This Saturday? Yes!"

Things we did and loved in Milwaukee:

WOODLAND PATTERN BOOK CENTER | beautiful books and broadsides (I was recommended this by a man on staff, with a "Here, you seem like you'd be interested in this," and it's wonderful.)
MITCHELL PARK CONSERVATORY | giant plants growing in giant domes
HONEYPIE | dinner and dessert
BURNHEARTS | Wisconsin beers and a neigborhoody vibe
AT RANDOM | an attempt at late night drinks (but they weren't open, hence the name)
ALTERRA ON THE LAKE | breakfast and coffee in a gorgeous space
MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM | closing and reopening of the Calatrava "wings" at noon
ANTIQUES ON SECOND | three floors of everything
KOPP'S FROZEN CUSTARD | uh . . . frozen custard


I want to transport you to this time, the smell of that tea, the sight of the winged bullet flying toward me while I worked, just a streak of red, and then its orange-beaked partner.

I want to apologize for the window panes and screens in the case of the last photos, but I'll stop myself. Because an easy alternative would have been a wall, and if that were so, I wouldn't have had any idea they were there beside me.

I want to thank you, universe—for windows.