Why, hello. It’s been a long time. I bet you thought I’d completely abandoned this little side hustle of mine, didn’t you?
Welp, I didn’t forget. Food blogging and all of the work that comes with it (taking photos, testing recipes, coming up with riveting stories like how I picked the hardware that lives on my kitchen cabinets) takes time. And, when the world blew up in a COVID-19 pandemic, I, like many other working moms out there, found myself in the midst of trying to juggle work, online schooling, cooking three meals a day, and generally wringing my hands about the state of the world. This blog just didn’t fit on my plate.
So, in the intervening months leading up to today, here’s what’s been going on with us.
I baked a lot of bread. A Lot. Of. Bread.
Like many home cooks stuck inside with nowhere to be, bread baking became the equivalent of watching paint dry. Every morning, I’d feed my starter from Miel Bakery twice a day, baking a loaf every two or three days using this recipe from King Arthur Flour. Rightly or wrongly, the bread became my bellwether for what kind of day I’d have. If my starter rose a loaf happily and my bread baked proudly, I’d be pleasant and cheerful, toasting my success with a nice thick slab of bread topped with a generous slather of slightly salted French butter. On the other hand, some days my starter would be overfed, overripe or gloomy, resulting in a disappointing flat pancake, I’d take out my frustrations on everyone around me, ending my day with a warm compress on my forehead with an episode of The Golden Girls to soothe my angry, COVID-19 panicked brain.
We said goodbye to London.
Late last year, we learned that my husband’s employer would be transferring back to the U.S. After 4 months in lockdown, we tearfully said our distanced goodbyes from the garage ramp of our apartment building and then flew back to the Washington, D.C. suburbs, where were were greeted at our old neighborhood with what can only be described as a hero’s welcome. My heart aches for the life we had in London, but I’m also grateful — incredibly so — that we were able to move back safely to our home in Falls Church, Virginia, where the kids spend their days roaming the neighborhood and breathing in fresh air.
I deep fried my feelings.
In London, I’d make a quick stop every now and then down to the pub to fill up my soul with a cold pint and some hot chips (fries), and, like so many of us, when the COVID-19 shutdown happened, I found myself missing all of these little nothings. After mourning the loss of normalcy, I picked myself up, wiped the cheese crumbs off my face, and started recreating little moments in my daily life. I wore lipstick every now and again. I put on my big girl pants (aka, pants with a button and a zipper). I cut and soaked potatoes, opened a window, and deep-fried batch after batch of my own chips. When they emerged from my pan, glistening with oil and possibility, I took a paper plate out to the balcony of our apartment and ate them with a frosty pint of beer.
We renovated (and are still renovating) our house.
While we were in London, we rented our house, and even though the house was in great shape when we came back, there was still a backlog of projects that need to be tackled. We added a patio, relocated doors, repainted the whole main floor, and updated three of the four bathrooms. And the projects continue — we’re still in the midst of a basement renovation to add bigger windows and another bedroom!
We added a new family member!
World, meet our newest family member — a mini goldendoodle named Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower! Born on the 75th anniversary of the cease fire declaration in World War II, the history buffs in our family christened him. His nickname is Ike, and we’re in love already. Every night I brush my feelings into this dog, and I have a LOT of feelings about COVID-19, the upcoming Presidential election, Black Lives Matter, and 2020 in general.
Lastly — thank YOU.
While I’ve been absent from making new posts during the COVID-19 pandemic, YOU — my faithful readers, have been digging into my archives, using my recipes, and still signing up for updates. In fact, during this time, my readership has actually GROWN and I have more e-mail subscribers than ever. I’d like to think that many of you stumbled upon my blog because you’re at home and looking for new ways to create fabulous meals for your family (as opposed to tearfully yell-fighting with the members of your household over who misplaced the takeout menu you wanted to order from tonight). I know that I’m probably straight up delusional about the hearty meals, the hand holding around the table, and the general merriment that’s happening in all the other homes around the world except ours. But let me live in that space, and tell you instead that I’m so thankful for all of you. Thank you for understanding, for being patient, and for sticking with me. I’ll be back to posting recipes soon, I promise.