On My Bookshelf: A Homemade Life

May 9, 2013

Yesterday Ben and I got on a plane headed for Seattle. When people ask about our Seattle plans, I usually insist that I plan on spending most of my time hanging out with Molly Wizenberg. In reality, I promise not to force our friendship, Molly.

Maybe you read Orangette. It's one of my very favorite blogs. I discovered it after reading Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life in 2010. To describe A Homemade Life superficially, well, I guess it's a food book-- there are even recipes in it. But it's also much more than a food book. For starters, Molly is a kickass writer with a knack for finding just the right words to describe those seemingly mundane (but actually terribly significant) moments in life. If I had this same knack, I'd be able to tell you why this book changed my life. I can, however, tell you that I fell a bit in love with the details of Molly's life as she weaves them around food: the story of her father and his potato salad; the food she cooked for a new boyfriend in France;  pickles and poached pears (probably not together, but maybe); a mother who takes making the perfect poundcake quite seriously.

The book reminds me that food can be the backdrop to our most significant experiences, and that a good life is about the simple things-- like a slow meal of the best seafood I've ever tasted eaten next to big, light-filled windows, loud joyful music in the background, and handsome men in striped aprons shaking cocktails in the background. Ben and I ate this meal last night at The Walrus and the Carpenter. (It turns out that I like oysters!) I think I'll remember it forever. I am grateful that more and more of my life is surrounded by really delicious food, and that Ben takes such joy in perfecting a slaw, trying a new recipe, or playing with different ingredients. It might make us sound like geriatrics, but I am recognizing that good food (and the process of cooking it) is the backdrop to the slow, rich life I aim to lead.

So yes, we got on a plane to take walks in Seattle, take a ferry to an island, and eat some good seafood. Tonight we'll eat pizza at Molly's restaurant, Delancey. I didn't bring A Homemade Life on the plane (though I recently re-read parts, and remembered how great it is), but instead brought David Sedaris' book Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls. I love the strange thoughts inside that man's head. (If you haven't listened to this recent interview Terry Gross did with him, you should. It's great.)

It's time for breakfast.


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