– Jodi –


I’ll be honest, Jodi’s not my favorite. She’s kind of an airhead and she talks a lot.

But she’s very conscientious about her role as a mother, and she loves her family and tries to give her boys the best life she can. And that scene where Kent gets triggered by the sound of popcorn brings up all the feels for me. I like that she’s supportive of him.

But if you tend to fixate on the things you don’t like about your body, or if you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get in shape and look good, maybe ease off on that, even if committing to a weekly workout with a group of friends is helpful for you. Give yourself a break every now and then.

Wear your hair in a braid, or an equivalent no-nonsense pulled-back style, and slip into your favorite cozy purple sweater. If you want to be stylish, and the weather permits, you can wear capris and cute little booties. (I’ll just stick to the sweater, thanks.) For more ideas check out the Pinterest page.

Jodi loves:

Chocolate Cake  Crispy Bass  Diamond  Eggplant Parmesan  Fried Eel  Golden Pumpkin  Pancakes  Pearl (1)  Prismatic Shard  Rabbit's Foot  Rhubarb Pie  Vegetable Medley

Click here for everything Jodi-related:



Linus’ Birthday (Year 2)

Linus’ birthday coincided with a big snowstorm. We went out in it after dark, just for a minute, to feel the flakes raining on our faces, drown ourselves in the silence, and appreciate the wonderful white. The evergreens looked like they had been frosted with a piping bag, and each little naked branch was traced over with a perfect white line. The ground reflected the ambient light, and everything glowed.

It’s also a tradition for my mom and me to go shopping at a local thrift store—we get about a hundred dollars’ worth each of cheap clothes, and it’s all right because it’s the most shopping either of us does every year. Thrifting is a little bit like digging through others’ garbage!

Blueberry_TartOh, and I had blueberry pop-tarts, which are not my favorite flavor but which are almost certainly Linus’.

Interpretation · Recipe

– Escargot –

Butter-soaked snails cooked to perfection.

Snail   Garlic

I’d like to share an ol’ cooking recipe my pappy used to make. It’s important the fish is FRESH. – Willy


Real escargot is surprisingly tasty, but that’s just because it happens to taste and feel exactly like mushrooms, and I’m going to run with that. And you can’t go wrong with garlic butter on just about anything. Together that adds up to something I’m excited to have any day of the year.

You could also use this as a wild card for any adventurous food from a cuisine that’s foreign to you. Maybe some nice roasted crickets or guinea pigs. Perhaps some fish preserved in lye. If your mother (or mother figure) would gasp in horror but you’re kind of excited to try it, that’s escargot.

I suppose you could actually make escargot, as a matter of fact, although I have no idea how to source snails. But check out the Wikipedia article (linked under the picture) for a list of delicious serving ideas. Boiled in white wine with bay leaves, celery, and onion? Simmered in red wine with mint, basil, and marjoram? Obviously I need to get into some other cultures’ snail habits.

Alternatively, I think any classically French food would do the job. Sole meunière? Bouillabaisse? Cassoulet? Ratatouille? Beef bourguignon? French onion soup? I mean, go nuts. If it sounds even vaguely French, Gus would probably be into it, and if it’s tasty he definitely would. Bon appetit!



Spirit’s Eve (Year 2)

It was a very appropriate but kind of a sad Spirit’s Eve this year. Someone Sophie knows passed away last week, and the funeral was this weekend.

I remember growing up thinking that funerals were scary and depressing, and wondering why anyone did them when all anyone wanted to do was just forget about their sadness and move on as quickly as possible.

Now, with more emotional maturity, I see that they are (or can be) kind of wonderful. Especially when you don’t know someone well, seeing a gathering of people who loved them and thought they were important is pretty awe-inspiring. You forget other people are people, you know? It’s too much detail, too much depth, to walk around every day conscious that everyone you pass is more than a paper cutout, but to lose ourselves in that sea of paper diminishes the richness of our lives.

It would be good to be more mindful of the whole lives that co-exist with us. Ideally it wouldn’t take a funeral to make us remember that.


Multigrain Pancakes at the Koffee Kup

The Koffee Kup restaurant in Stoughton is one of my favorite places. It’s adorable, and its menu is a great size—not overwhelming, but with an adequate selection—including à la carte stuff at super reasonable prices.

Sophie and I went there for the first time while we were house-hunting in the area. I ordered hashbrowns with my eggs and ham, and the waitress said, “Do you want cheese on it?”

“Ooh, yes please!”

“With onions too?”

“…Yes!?!” And that was the beginning of the love affair.

My current obsession is their Plate-Size Multigrain Pancake “with a hint of cinnamon.” It’s the best thing on the menu (or at least that’s how I feel this month), and actually WAY better than a traditional buttermilk pancake: fluffy, not very sweet (until you drench it in maple syrup), and hearty-tasting, with that hint of cinnamon rounding it out into something truly special. Jodi would be all over it. If you’re in the area, I recommend you check it out too.



– Summer Spangle –

A tropical bloom that thrives in the humid summer air. Has a sweet, tangy aroma.

What the heck is this? Well, since Caroline’s birthday is in the dead of winter, I’m going to go ahead and say that a Summer Spangle is anything—especially a flower, especially especially a tropical flower, but really anything—that evokes summer in a positive way for you.


Preliminary thoughts include:

  • Passionflowers
  • Birds of paradise
  • Zinnias
  • Protea
  • Tropical ginger
  • Hibiscus
  • Cosmos

A very extreme, well-to-do version would be to take a summer trip to the Caribbean or Hawaii. A tamer version would be to obtain cut flowers, or to visit a conservatory where these might be growing and blooming. Even if you just spend some time looking into growing these, that would count. (I’m a little obsessed with researching plants that don’t grow in my zone and brainstorming how I could make it work anyway.)

Find some way to bring summer into your life, even if just for half an hour, no matter what’s going on outside.

Otherwise—and this may or may not be part of it for you—anything that you consider “spangle” will count. Stargazing, bedazzled clothing, painting with a toothbrush or Jackson Pollock-style… be creative!

Summer Spangle


Friday Feast

This is Sophie’s and my favorite way to wrap up the week: charred broccoli and mac ‘n’ cheese. The broccoli is the best part, but some carbs help it feel solid, and cheese is comforting.

  • Cruciferous vegetable = Cauliflower
  • Pale cooked bits in a cheese sauce = Cheese Cauliflower
  • Charred bits = Void Mayonnaise

Even if this is your first time making all this, you can probably do it just as written. Then divide all the food equally between two large plates, and cozy up on the couch to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Or, you know, whatever. But Sophie and I think you should watch Mrs. Maisel.

If you’re the kind of person who buys broccoli crowns only, shame on you! The stalks only need a little peeling and they’re just as tasty as the rest of it, plus it’s cheaper. Cooks Illustrated informs me that some American cheese is actually cheese, contrary to popular belief. I’ve found that the sliced American cheese that isn’t individually wrapped—you know, the ones where you have to peel the slice off the next one down—is cheese. But you can check by reading the label. If it doesn’t say something horrifying like “imitation cheese food”, you’re good to go.

  • 1 bunch broccoli (2-3 stalks)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Half a lemon
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces American cheese (purchased in a block and grated, OR 4-5 slices, separated—NOT “Singles”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Ground cayenne to taste
  • 4 ounces finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 450°.

Trim the broccoli: cut off the crowns, break or cut them into florets, peel the stalks and cut them into 1/2″ rounds or batons. Line a baking sheet with foil and put the broccoli on. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Zest the lemon half over everything, then toss it with your hands to mix. (Save the lemon half!)

When the oven is ready, put the broccoli in and set a timer for 25 minutes.

Bring milk and water to boil in a medium saucepan, then add macaroni and cook over low heat 6-8 minutes. Add American cheese, mustard, and a pinch of cayenne, stirring until cheese is melted. Add cheddar cheese and stir to mix, then cover and turn off the heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Let the broccoli stay in the oven until it’s nice and charred (according to your tastes), maybe 25-35 minutes total. When it comes out, squeeze the lemon half over it, toss, and serve.


– Sandfish –

It tries to hide using camouflage.

This one looked so weird to me for such a long time that I figured it would be difficult to come up with ways to “do” Sandfish. But actually, a fish that tries to camouflage itself in the sand is a real thing—several real things, in fact, including flounder, sole, and halibut, all of which happen to be super tasty.


Mmm, done and done! I have wonderful memories of my grandparents serving baked flounder with lemon and butter and bread crumbs. The most famous flatfish dish, of course, is sole meunière, which I have never had but which is supposed to be amazingly delicious (although Dover sole is badly overfished).

But let’s get back to those bread crumbs. I think anything breaded or even battered can count as Sandfish (because it’s sandy… get it?), especially if it’s actually seafood. Shrimp tempura, breaded pan-fried catfish, fish sticks, popcorn chicken, coconut shrimp… the list goes on. Make it, buy it, get a chef friend to create it in exchange for a six-pack of good beer, or microwave a frozen version! Humanity’s obsession with breaded deep-fried objects is of long standing and well-documented, and we can all find a way to share in it.