Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Homemade Life

Just before I left for Paris, I came across Molly Wizenberg's new book, "A Homemade Life". As if they all coordinated the intervention, 3 unrelated people recommended I take it with me on my trip. I love when that happens -- when just the right book or album is placed in your hands before a pivotal experience.

So I lugged her beautiful hardback book around France with me (even though I finished it on the third day if the trip). I couldn't bare the thought of leaving it behind and there was something comforting about seeing the book each night on my bedside table. I'd re-read whatever story I opened to just before I fell asleep. The stories in Molly's book are so funny, sweet and real that I felt that old familiar tug on my heartstrings each time I picked it up. The recipes that followed each of the stories were equally lovely and for a novice cook, seemed within my reach. I savored every tasty minute of that book.

Fast forward to 2 weeks later -- I arrive safely back at home, a battered copy of "A Homemade Life" in hand. One evening, during my routine walk around the neighborhood, I noticed a piece of paper in a store window advertising the new cookbook store in the neighborhood (Omnivore Books) and amazingly, advertising a book-signing and talk given by none other than Molly Wizenberg. I love life's synchronicity.

First of all, I just want to say that I LOVE Omnivore Books. I adore it. It is this magical house-turned-bookstore that is spilling over the edges with amazing books on food, cooking and agriculture. They sell lots of vintage titles too (think of the version of Betty Crocker's Cookbook that your grandma used). They also keep multi-colored, freshly-laid/gathered eggs at the counter for purchase. I just love that.

Anyway. Back to the story. So I arrived at Omnivore and to my pleasant surprise, it was packed! I wasn't the only one who was inspired by Molly's touching stories and recipes. Molly was just as I imagined -- a petite and graceful gal with a big smile and an eloquence I just knew I'd admire. She told us the story of how her writing, and ultimately this book, unfolded. She let us peek into her heart and told us the story of how she met her husband, Brandon, and how their love of food evolved as did their relationship with each other. I found myself grinning ear-to-ear the entire time. Later, she signed copies of our books and we each got a few minutes to chat with her. I brought her some fresh eucalyptus honey from the Noe Farmer's Market (my all-time favorite mixed with yogurt), and we had a lively debate about the best place for pain au chocolate in Paris. Molly and her hubby are opening a restaurant in Seattle (Delancey) in June so I hope that our paths will cross again someday soon (next time over pizza).

Later on Saturday, I took a stab at her "pickled carrots" recipe using the fresh spring carrots I picked up at the Farmer's Market that morning. I also tried her "stewed prunes and citrus" recipe, which has been a welcomed addition to my morning yogurt and honey.

So all that being said -- go buy and read her book! You can also check out her lovely blog - Orangette (which is truly the seed of all of this). And if your life and travels bring you to Seattle, go eat at Delancey. Sit and savor a wood-fired pizza and be grateful for that (and every) moment life delivers, right on time.

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