Cooking, cooking. Once I started I just . . . kept going. For Midsummer Day we made the same breakfast we'd made for Father's Day (because that was good), and then I made a strawberry shortcake for dessert after dinner. I didn't split it in half the way the directions say to because I didn't have enough strawberries, so I just buttered the thing and piled the berries on. But this shortcake recipe is good, and I've had it so long I don't even know where I got it originally.
2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cubed
1 beaten egg
2/3 c. half-and-half
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine the egg and half-and-half, and add all at once to the dry ingredients, stirring with fork just to moisten. Spread dough in a buttered 8" round cake pan, building up the edges a bit. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from pan and cool slightly. Slice cake horizontally and spread butter on inside layer. Add sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.
Cooking: I have a plan, now. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but suddenly I remembered my old friend: Apples for Jam. This cookbook . . . oh, I fell for it hard. I've fallen for all of the Tessa Kiros cookbooks that I have, actually, but this one, for me, turns out to have been the most cookable. This is the one that is full of family food; the one with the gorgeous, evocative photography of bowls of soup and children's playthings; the one with the sweet, memory-laden, slightly windy creative writing (well, they all have that, but this one is about kid stuff); the one that helped me become a mother before I became a mother. It feels familiar and friendly and also like the greatest privilege to be reading it now, making food as I do every day for my child, who is still, at this point at least, eating everything I serve to her (until she is full and begins flinging it to the floor, and then hanging over the side of her high chair to watch the dog eat my fresh mozzarella . . . the meatballs that took me all afternoon . . . the fish that cost $8.99/lb., etc., while saying in her most I-am-adorable! voice, "Uuuuh-oh! Uh-oh Mommy!!! Uh-oh Mommy!!!" Pointing at the floor, dog licking franctically).
So Sunday I made the spaghetti and meatballs, and yesterday I made the fish parcels (with cod) and the lemon rice pudding with roasted (white) peaches, all from the book. It was all really good, though next time I'll use breadcrumbs and an egg in the meatballs (her recipe called for milk-soaked white bread, and I think that bread crumbs make more tender meatballs — I like them really soft and mushy, myself). Oh, and all of the brown sugar slid off my peaches and burned on the bottom of the pan, but oh well. Still lovely and fragrant (I used a vanilla bean and Meyer lemon and grated the nutmeg) good. I'm enjoying myself a lot, cooking, but wow, it is a LOT of work to cook this way with a one-year-old who no longer wants to sit still for any length of time. I'm trying to do as much as I can early in the day, or during naptime, but still, some things can't be done until dinnertime, and pre-dinnertime is still (and rather suddenly) proving to be kind of insane. I used to be able to have her in her high chair hanging out with me in the kitchen while I cooked, and lately she is not into it. She wants to — you know it! — go 'SIDE. AND NOW!
So, after yesterday I decided that I'm only cooking one thing a day, on these weekdays. Everything else must require nothing more than chopping up (cantaloupe, strawberries, steamed carrots, spinach, green salad, etc.) or come from the deli case at New Seasons (beet salad, caprese salad with those little mozzy balls, yum) in order for it to go on my table. I mean, that just makes sense anyway. I'm not sure why this is a Major Revelation but that just shows you how complicated I've been making everything.
Just as I got to the colorwork part of the light blue Fimma, I put it down. It suddenly felt too daunting in these evenings lazy, light-filled evenings. It's in hibernation. I started a pale pink Lottie cardigan, and I'm loving it. Easy-peasy and relaxing. Sometimes I think I should just forget anything that's not in garter stitch. When life gets a little hectic my GSB (Garter Stitch Barometer) alarms, and I must knit, robotlike, and then turn and knit again, and then turn and knit again (occasionally increasing at well-marked spots) and feel my breathing slow a bit. . . .
And two people — Erica, a long time ago, and recently Ms. Bibliosophy — suggested the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. Medieval Norway!!! I got the first book (The Wreath) and can't put it down. Thank you very much for the recommendation!
Oh, and by the way, I've been meaning to say this if I didn't before, I watched all of the Restoration Homes on YouTube through my television. There's a way to connect the devices through my TV; I'm really not even sure how to tell you to do it, honestly — the possibility just popped up on mine through TiVo, I think, and so I connected them. The picture quality is pretty bad but for some reason I didn't even care. And thank you also to those of you who have suggested things for further viewing, if possible (though we don't get to watch all of the shows, even on YouTube, here in the U.S.). I need to go back through your comments and check them out. If you feel like leaving a recommendation here (again) so they're all in one place, would you? Thank you!
Midsummer, already. She just turned twenty months old. A whirlwind of energy and emotion and curiosity and joy: Walking, running, yelling, laughing, crying, pointing, "talking," playing, freaking out, pulling it together, snoozing, cuddling, watering, hugging her animals so fiercely, staring at them lovingly and stroking their heads the way I do hers, kissing them throughout the day, or pressing her forehead to theirs and saying, "Mmmmmmmm." Lovable, kissable, squishable, sweet, dearest loving sweetest girl. I'm so proud of her.
P.S. By the way, all of the flowers on the table are from my wildflower cutting garden or my front yard. Very exciting for me!