What I'm loving: The warmth of just-tumbled clothes from the dryer. Today is unexpectedly chilly, with a gray drizzle that stops and starts, set against a similarly slate gray sky. I pull on my softest long-sleeved t-shirt, an old heather gray one that's worn around the cuffs and neck, emblazoned with the name of my college.
Warm bread is one of the nicest small comforts. I like everything about baking bread, from the yeasty smell as you mix it all together to the soft suppleness of the dough after its first rise. I like the way the surface is taut and elastic, and how it yields to your fingertips as you press it into a rectangle, pulling and pushing and prodding.
I'm sitting on the couch drinking a margarita. A margarita-ish, I should clarify: a slapdash approximation of the classic cocktail; a quick and dirty template you can stir together without worrying too much about ratios or jiggers or ounces. Thanks to a good friend with a keen sense for home bartending, I have the technique down pat. Squeeze one small lime and one medium orange into a glass over ice. (Strain it if you're fancy, but, I'm not.) Add a 2 second pour of triple sec and a 4 second pour of tequila. Bad day? 5 seconds of tequila. Really good, celebratory day? 6 seconds! Add a splash of seltzer. Stir. Drink. Repeat.
Do you like surprises? I'm not sure where I stand. Maybe the grand sort would do, the kind that sounds like "meet me at the airport, pack a passport, a bathing suit, something soft for bedtime, something slinky for cocktail hour, and a book". Or maybe the quiet, understated type? Flowers on your doorstep. A kiss dropped gently on your bare shoulder when you're standing talking to friends at the bar. A book from Amazon in your mailbox that you forgot you ordered.
The air above the stove is hot and thick with the scent of cumin and fish sauce. The wooden floor feels cool against my bare feet, which are sticky and rubbed red from wandering the city streets in sneakers and no socks (I know! Not wise. It was the consequence of rushing out the door. I also wore a tank top all day printed with the words tacos + tequila so clearly today wasn't tops, sartorially speaking). Wednesday is an unpredictable day. On this one, too many cherries were consumed (I can't learn my lesson here). I drank a decent amount of coconut seltzer and ginger kombucha. My skin stings with sunburn.
Less is more, they say. But listen, sometimes more is more. For example, one cookie would be less and two cookies would be more and you see where I'm going with this. Or, to put it another way, sparkling wine alone would be less but a measure of St-Germain and lemon juice and simple syrup and a sprig of mint and a splash of seltzer water topped with sparkling wine would be more.
I have a soft spot for soft foods. I like pudding, especially homemade chocolate pudding (and I'm sorry to say that I especially like the thin skin that forms on top as it cools. I realize that you might not feel the same way.) I like warm applesauce that you cook on the stove, particularly when you leave it a little chunky. I like how it tastes when you pour thick cold cream over it. I like silky hummus and the custard-y filling of eclairs and all manner of stews and soups.
I've been baking a lot of muffins lately. Simple and satisfying. A mere handful of ingredients, a few quick strokes with a spatula, and a quick scoop into a muffin pan. (Note: Using an ice cream scoop or this muffin scoop is a serious game changer for baking. It might seem silly to get a utensil only for the purpose of portioning batter, but it makes your muffins uniform in size so they bake evenly. And it's so much faster and neater than using a spoon!)
Well, LOOK AT THAT (I almost wrote shiver me timbers but thought better of it, as I'd like you all to continue reading, not consider me too weird. Oh wait. Shouldn't have mentioned that.), it's July 6 and I haven't written anything in a full month! Strike that. I've written things: Grocery lists. Descriptions of the protein content of flour (I work for a baking company, so that's normal.) Impromptu, funny letters to my sister with limericks inside. A wedding toast for another sister, who is getting married in a mere few days, and I'm preparing to weep constantly at the ceremony (I'm a bridesmaid so, waterproof mascara?).
Some days are like this: I take a bike ride. I feel happy and strong, legs pumping, pushing me forwards. The sun is out in full force, warming my face and five minutes in, I start to build up a sweat. The world slides by in one-block increments of colorful storefronts. There's potential everywhere: Restaurants to try (cafe tables spill out onto the sidewalks, people hug and sit down and order cocktails and steak and go about their evenings), movies to watch, gardens to explore, streets to walk down.