FAILURES AND DISASTERS

How to Hardboil an Egg

It's okay.
I mean, it's really okay. 


I failed at making hardboiled eggs last night.
But it's okay. 


Hardboiled eggs are only the easiest thing in the world to make-- but somehow, I don't know, I didn't cook them for long enough, or the water wasn't actually boiling, or something. 
The point is, I couldn't even make a hardboiled egg. 

Stranger things have happened. 


For instance, remember when I told you about how I was trying to plant my own garden, a la Jorge Luis Borges? 
Well. 
A flower grew. 
Who knew? 
I am so proud. 
I never knew I could grow anything. 

But back to hardboiled eggs. 
I love Nora Ephron, and Nora wrote this marvelous essay about living in New York City in her mid-twenties, and starting out as a reporter, and how she would go to work all day, and then come home alone and cook herself a full meal, something that made her feel brave and plucky, unlike other girls who were probably just eating pathetic cartons of yogurt in front of the television. 

 
Of course, she acknowledges, it never occurred to her that cooking and then eating a meal meant for four was probably equally pathetic. 
I think about this every time I cook for myself.
So brave! So plucky! 


And then, sometimes, you can't even hardboil the egg. 
And then you really have to muster some courage. 

Anyways. 


Here Is How To Hardboil An Egg From Better Sources On the Internet Just So You Know

Instructions from SimplyRecipes.com


1. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a saucepan. Cover with at least an inch or two of cold water. The more eggs that are crowding the pan the more water you should have over the eggs. Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil.
Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water may help keep egg whites from running out if an egg does crack while cooking. Also some people find adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water helps prevent cracking as well as making the eggs easier to peel.

2. Turn off the heat, keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.
If you have the type of stove burner that doesn't retain any heat when turned off, you might want to lower the temp to low, simmer for a minute, and then turn it off.
Depending on how cooked you like your hard boiled eggs, the eggs should be done perfectly in 10-12 minutes. That said, depending on your altitude, the shape of the pan, the size of the eggs, the ratio of water to eggs, it can take a few minutes more. When you find a time that works for you, given your preferences, the types of eggs you buy, your pots, stove, and cooking environment, stick with it.
If I'm cooking a large batch of eggs, after 10 minutes I'll sacrifice one to check for doneness, by removing it with a spoon, running it under cold water, and cutting it open. If it's not done enough, I'll cook the other eggs a minute or two longer.
I also find that it is very hard to overcook eggs using this method. I can let the eggs sit, covered, for up to 15-18 minutes without the eggs getting overcooked. 

3. Strain out the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further. Or, if you are cooking a large batch of eggs, remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water.
The best way to store hard boiled eggs is in a covered container in the refrigerator. Eggs can release odors in the fridge which is why it helps to keep them covered.
They should be eaten within 5 days.

More soon. 
Ily. 
XOXO



Chia Seed Pudding

I go grocery shopping on Saturdays now. 
And I cook a lot on Sundays-- sometimes spiced sweet potatoes, always brown rice, once, a disgusting and heavy loaf of bread. 


Life is strange. 
I think about that a lot these days-- mostly because it's unbelievable that we are lucky enough to be alive at the same time-- but also how little control I have, really. 
Often I wonder, how it is that anyone gets so that they have work, babies, house and garden full of fireflies? 
Is it always just falling and falling into things and people?

I guess. 

I like making chia seed pudding on Sundays too-- it's so simple and luxurious-- like eating a sweet caviar, or frog eggs. 
I like it also, because when I was in New York, I would take the F train to Midtown, stop at the same quick breakfast spot and buy a banana and chia seed pudding and hope that the iced coffee would prevent me from sweating through my business casual. 
It was such a lonely, lonely summer. That’s the thing about loneliness --you think-- this is the worst it will ever be, and then, one day, you are lonelier. 
So I took the F, and listened to soul music the whole way there, and ate my chia pudding, surrounded by glass and iron and felt small but often good.  Usually, when the workday was over-- I would walk the long way home-- eat $3 Indian food and sit in a park. 
I wondered a lot about work. 
And how I don’t know how to add value to the world yet. 
And how I don't know how to get there.

I like to think it begins with going grocery shopping on Saturdays, cooking on Sundays. Eating pork-belly sliders and drinking vodka with your sister friends on Thursday night, and then going out on Friday and Saturday too. Or maybe staying in, tucking small children into bunk beds-- waking up early, walking. 
Maybe, after a time-- when the work is more done, and more years passed and everything more known, somehow maybe one day, you go home to a garden of fireflies. 
After just falling and falling and falling into jobs and people. 
And chia seed pudding. 
Ideally, hopefully, chia seed pudding is part of how you get there too. 


Chia Seed Pudding 
via TheHealthyFoodie.com 

1/4 chia seeds
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
maple syrup to taste

In a small bowl or half pint Mason type glass jar, add coconut, chia seeds, coconut milk, coconut water, and vanilla. Stir until very well combined. 
Place in refrigerator and allow to rest overnight. 
Eat. 

Black pudding

This morning, I walked in the London sun. 
And I felt brave. 
The sky was very high, and very clear. 
And I felt brave. 
Very alone, but very brave.


Lately, I've been haunted by this line from a Mary Oliver poem-- "Tell me," she says, "what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?" 

My one wild and precious life. 

Tell me. 

I'm trying to tell myself, trying to figure it out. 
All the time.
The next step, the next train, the next meal. 
It is so much. 
Sometimes the things I carry are so heavy on my shoulders. 
Abiola told me that there was nothing to be afraid of. 
Luca told me to just enjoy making the decisions.
Which is all simple and true and correct. 
But sometimes making all the decisions means you eat very weird British things like black pudding. 
And black pudding is actually fried congealed blood. 
I didn't know, so I ordered it. 
I ate fried congealed blood-- of my own accord.

Yet. 

It's really those moments-- the mistakes I make on my own, that are mine, that only I can correct, that make me feel brave.

The proof is literally in the pudding. 

So maybe right now I'm listening to too much Beyoncé, or wearing too much black, or am too trusting that I'll find the way, or even telling you too much. 

But fuck it. 

My one wild and precious life. 

I ate congealed blood. On accident-- but I ate it. 
And freakishly, I liked it. 

This morning, I walked in the London sun and I felt so alone. 
But I felt so brave. 

I felt flawless. 


Midnight Cheese


There's a line from the Joni Mitchell song "My Old Man" that I love, it goes "The bed is too big, the frying pan is too wide."


Baby, that's where I'm at.
Lately, when I can't sleep, I roll out of bed and stand in cold light of the refrigerator and eat hummus and chocolate and cheese in an attempt to fill up the night and the hollow spaces inside me.
Because at night, I easily get lost in the past and overwhelmed by the future, and food is so tactile and so real that something as simple as a snack brings me back to the present, which is also intimidating, but better, because there is chocolate to be had in the present. 
And chocolate is comforting. 
The famous food writer Ruth Reichl wrote a beautiful memoir called Comfort Me With Apples, which is a mostly perfect title, but if I were to write that food memoir right now it would be called Comfort Me With Chocolate. Or, Comfort Me With Cheese


Baby, if we're being totally honest, I just can't bring myself to really cook meals these days. 
The frying pan is too wide. 
So mostly I am eating eggs, hummus, beans out of a can and apples and coffee and beer. 
Which is simple and small and just fine. 


But this is really to say, I think about you all the time and I have a lot to say, I'm just figuring out how to say it right. 
I don't know. 
I'll bake you a cake soon and we can talk about that. 
But right now my frying pan is too wide, and I really just want to eat two kinds of cheese until I'm full enough and then go laugh and drink beer with my people. 
Because right now that feels nice and sweet and good. 

So. 
Cake soon. 
Meals again soon. 
But for now. 
I love you I love you I love you. 

xoxo
mary 



Excellent Midnight Cheeses:
Tillamook Sharp Cheddar: http://www.tillamook.com/
Cabot: http://www.cabotcheese.coop/
Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar: http://www.barbers1833.co.uk/