Here’s Charlie Haden with Silence. Beautiful.
Second of all, let me tell you about my lunch. I’m very excited about it. It was: a saltine cracker topped with brie, avocado, tomato, castelvetrano olives and lots of black pepper. I don’t usually eat lunch, but I’d been thinking about brie and avocado for a while now, and I had to try it. Everything tastes good on a saltine cracker.
Finally, I’ll admit that this birthday is a hard one. 45. The only good thing you can say about turning 45 is that it’s better than not turning 45. For some irrational reason, birthdays ending in five or zero are harder than any other birthdays. So I’ve been in a blue mood all week. And then one evening after dinner the boys and I walked to the store to buy ice cream novelties. I was feeling heavy and tired and discouraged. We walked through a big open space in town, and Malcolm said, “Mom! Sky Dive!!” He grabbed my hand and flung his other arm out. Slowly, I caught on, and stretched my arm out, and then he took Isaac’s hand and Isaac stretched his arm out. We were flying and buoyant and weightless in the sweet air of a perfect June evening. And I feel alright, I feel grateful for all of it, for everything.Our blackcurrant bush is bonkers. Full of fruit. You pick a bowlful in the morning, and it’s completely laden again in the evening. The berries seem to ripen as you pick them. So I boiled them for a long time with lots of sugar, and then pressed them through a sieve and ended up with a thick beautiful sauce. I added this to a custard one night and made ice cream. And yesterday I made a cake. I made a soft almond cake, and put a layer of blackcurrant sauce, fresh bing cherries and bittersweet chocolate chips. The whole thing is tart/sweet/soft and juicy. You have to eat it with a fork, though, cause it’s delightfully messy.
The secret to this cake is that it has a melted easter bunny on top. We bought Malcolm a white chocolate mint easter bunny, because he doesn’t really like chocolate, but he wasn’t too crazy about this, either. If you don’t happen to have a leftover white chocolate mint easter bunny, you can melt white chocolate and add a drop of peppermint essence. If you like, you could add a drop of peppermint essence to the cake itself as well.
Here’s Tom Waits with You Can Never Hold Back Spring
“No weaknesses at all.”
“No, would you rather have one weakness nobody could detect or no weaknesses at all?”
“Well I just don’t see why anybody would want a weakness if they could choose to have no weaknesses.”
“If you have a weakness and you wish to get rid of it, then you’re not yourself any more! Your weakness is part of who you are!”
These are the wise words of our Isaac, eight years old. At the beginning of the year when getting-to-know-you exercises abound, Isaac brought home a self-portrait with bright blue eyes, and on the bottom he wrote that his blue eyes and his heart murmur make him special. He’s got a heart murmur he won’t grow out of, and when they first diagnosed it, he thought it might be a defect, but now he’s embraced it as something that makes him different, something to be proud of. After all, there’s nobody on earth with a heart like Isaac’s! I love to think about Isaac thinking about these things. I love to think about him thinking about what makes a person a person, and thinking with such grounded generosity about the weakness that everybody on earth must inevitably have. Of course a weakness is a vulnerability, which is why we keep our weaknesses as secret as we can, and we hope that no one will detect it. Unless we love somebody, and then we open our hearts to them, and trust them with the knowledge of all or our weaknesses and foibles; we share our good and our bad. This takes great courage, but it turns weakness into strength, and Isaac does this better than anyone. He shares his remarkable thoughts, his uncommon contemplations, and his unguarded love with a warmth and wisdom that make him as strong as anyone I know.I have a terrible weakness for ice cream! We’ve been snowed in so many days that I’ve been baking through bag after bag of flour. On one day I made croissants and biscotti, both from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. We changed the biscotti recipe slightly, because Malcolm wanted to add almonds and chocolate. So we added some almond extract, too, and a pinch of cinnamon. They turned out nice! In order to coat one side of them with chocolate I devised the ingenious method of placing chocolate chips along one side when they’re returned to the oven for the final ten minute drying-out period, and then spreading the chocolate once it softened. I think I might have baked them slightly too long, because they were extra crumbly when I tried to slice them, but we put those crumbs to good use! We took any of the half-pieces and mangled pieces and tiny pieces, and we ground them up even further in a food processor with some bittersweet chocolate chips, and we added them to raspberry ice cream. (Wintertime raspberry ice cream, with framboise and raspberry jam rather than fresh raspberries). This turned out deeeeeeelicious!
Here’s The Weakest Part by Yo La Tengo.
I like songs about home, about where people are from and when they’re from. Like Mos Def’s Habitat.
When I think of home, my remembrance of my beginning
Laundromat helping ma dukes fold the bed linen
Chillin in front my building with my brother and them
Spending nights in Bushwick with my cousins and them
Wise town and Beat Street, federal relief
Slowly melting in the morning grits we used to eat
Sticking to your teeth and teeth is hard to keep
With every flavor Now & Later only a dime apiece
Old timers on the bench playing cards and thangs
Telling tales about they used to be involved in things
Start to drinking, talking loud, cussing up and showing out
On the phone, call the cops, pick’em up, move’em out
And it’s all too common to start wildin
I’m a pirate on an island seeking treasure known as silence
And it’s hard to find
Or Dungeon Family’s White Gutz
Sitting on 400 wides that’s what they love
Incense swingin from the mirror that’s what they love
Six course licked with the glaze that’s what they love
drive with the dealership tag that’s what they love
hairbone strayed on my shoulder that’s what they love
the smell of new leather in the cold that’s what they love
strawhat V-neck t’s that what they love
moonroof open blowing smoke that’s what they love
Romeo cologne every week that’s what they love
that’s what they love
Or K’naan’s My Old Home
My old home smelled of good birth
Boiled red beans, kernel oil and hand me down poetry
It’s brick white-washed walls widowed by first paint
The tin roof top humming songs of promise while time is
Locked into demonic rhythm with the leaves
The trees had to win
Hugging them, loving them a torturous love
It was over and done
The round cemented pot kept the rain drops cool
Neighbors and dwellers spatter in the pool
Kids playin football with his hand and sock
We had what we got, and it wasn’t a lot
So the subject of today’s Sunday Interactive Playlist is Where I’m From. It’s a song about the place and time that made you. The song doesn’t have to be about where you’re from, or even where the singer is from, just a song about somebody’s home.Two recipes in a row with pecan praline in them? Yes, indeed. I had some leftover, and I thought it would be good with chocolate chips. So I actually made even more, because it’s so completely easy to make. And then I combined it with oats and put it in cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are our natural anti-depressant, here at The Ordinary, and it’s been a long, cold winter!
Here’s a link to your interactive playlist. Add what you like! Or make a suggestion in the comments and I’ll add it through the week.