My birthday cake this year, from my sweet husband.
We were watching Iron Chef America. The battle was tilapia and the fish were presented swimming in tanks. The chefs scrambled to scoop as many as they could handle, rushing them over to their stations to begin “breaking them down.” The commentators chuckled over the chaos ensuing as the competitors struggled with their secret ingredient. Suddenly one of the fish wriggled free and began flopping across the floor, away, away, as the chef chased after. My breath caught and I hardly realized I was speaking aloud.
“He just wants to live.”
It was such an involuntary reaction that I wasn’t immediately sure what it meant or how to place it. I’m pretty sure Chris thought I was joking. I thought I might be joking too, but there was a kernel of truth to what I said that left me feeling unsettled.
If you live in New York City or delight in the world of food, there's a good chance you're familiar with the highly reputed Momofuku restaurants, including their Milk Bar confectionery. Momofuku's Milk Bar is headed by pasty chef Christina Tosi, who has made a name for herself and her shop by utilizing offbeat techniques (steeping cereal in milk, making an ingredient of breakfast bowl remnants) and quirky flavor combinations (chocolate chip cookies packed also with butterscotch, pretzels, and potato chips) to create treats that are shocking, stunning, and totally crave-worthy. Their Crack Pie is said to be as addictive as its namesake, and their cakes are something to swoon over. I know this because I’ve done so many a time—without ever having taken a bite.
It finally happened. George, our Meyer lemon tree, produced real, honest-to-goodness lemons!
When we last left off (nearly a year ago?!), I had done my best to pollenate George's flowers and we had three baby lemons that seemed to have stuck. They were small and hard and green.
Slowly they began to grow. I remember taking note of the point where they were about the size of golfballs, still green. After that, it seemed as though they never grew any larger--until I'd cup one in my hand and realize it was beginning to fill my palm. And then, all of a sudden, they were baseball-sized and turning yellow.
I’m not sure when or where it very first began, but sometime in the past few years I noticed a wondrous thing of beauty starting to appear on the appetizer table at social gatherings. It was warm and creamy and spicy, and it elicited publicly inappropriate yum-noises from yours truly. I’ve heard it go by many names, but I’m sure you’ll recognize it when I say: buffalo chicken dip.