“Dough is ready!” my mother would call to us. My sisters and I would drop whatever we were doing and rush into the kitchen—elbows out, prepared to claim our spot. The kitchen in our old yellow farmhouse was small but cozy: graying white tile, a white formica kitchen table, and a white refrigerator humming in the corner papered in school notices and birthday invitations and our art. We’d crowd in, kneeling on the mismatched chairs around the table. The focus of all this chaos: an oversized beige ceramic mixing bowl with a navy stripe around the top, filled with bread dough.Read More
I come from very emotionally demonstrative family. We say “love you” in place of “goodbye” on the telephone. We compliment each other; we rarely go upstairs to bed without a hug; we hold hands in public (let’s just say it’s a good thing my brown-haired, blue-eyed sisters and I all look very much like sisters). We dash off silly notes to each other. We throw out affection casually, without effort, like breathing. (With a dad who happily dresses in a Santa hat and Carhartts to take Christmas pictures with all the animals, how could you not?)Read More
My dad sits in a wooden rocking chair in front of the fireplace. He’s wearing a wool sweater, warming his toes in the heat of the fire, and cradling my youngest niece who sleeps quietly on his shoulder. Picture books are strewn across the window seats and floor of our big open living room, which looks out over the ponds and the pastures and forest beyond. Dusk is falling in soft shadowy shades across the farm. Over in the kitchen, I lean against the edge of the countertop with one of my sisters. My mom stands across from us, making pizza for dinner.Read More
Right on cue, winter has arrived. Thanksgiving day was bitingly cold. “They can’t hold a parade in this wind!'“ I thought as I woke up Thursday morning in New York City, struggling to take a quick jog along the Hudson River before starting our drive home to the farm. But of course they did, and of course people lined up with their folding chairs and thermoses of hot chocolate and unflaggingly high spirits because it is holiday season, exclamation point, and I take great comfort in their enthusiasm.Read More
Full disclosure: My birthday is March 20, and you’re welcome to bake me a cake if you like. I accept vanilla with seven-minute frosting, raspberry mousse layer cake, and anything with passionfruit.
As it is months away from the blessed event, you might say: “Po, really no need to be making birthday cake anything. Just stick with the calendar and lean into fall and bake pumpkin…everything.”Read More