I’m terrible at winning contests. Can a person be terrible at winning contests? Put my name in a hat and 999 times of 1000 you won’t see it again.
Such is my sad story every Easter. I’m a sucker for the White House Easter Egg Roll… it’s just the cutest thing. And especially when Austin was small I just knew it would make his day if I could get us in. At 9, I’m fairly certain he’d kick the First Lady in the shins and challenge one of the poor secret service agents guarding the fence to a karate chop duel… but still I try.
… and every time, I’m unceremoniously rejected, forcing me to speculate that maybe it’s because I live in Maryland, or they just don’t like the letter H. There must be a conspiracy somewhere, right?
My two truths and a lie trump card is that as a junior in high school, I spent a full year traveling to rodeos across Oregon as the Coos County Fair & Rodeo Queen.
… I’ll wait while you compose yourself.
I know it sounds silly now, but it was a huge honor. I grew up a 4-H kid, and had been riding competitively since I was eight. In my small circle of horsey friends, the rodeo queen was practically a goddess. I dreamed of the moment I could compete for that crown, and never thought for a moment I’d win.
The competition includes a speech, an interview, and multiple riding tests… so it’s not easy. And my horse was never exactly a winner. A stout little reining pony built for driving cattle, we’d been together since she was two… and I was so proud of her. But she never quite fit in with the more polished and calm, and more-common-in-4-H, western pleasure winners. She was quick and scrappy… and despite her desperate hatred of parades (I understood) I think she was always meant to carry the queen.
She swept me through the competition with grace, and I managed to do her justice in the only way I knew how, by standing up in front of a whole lot of people and blathering on.
Great love can open your eyes and make the world seem new… and pasta and I, I’m not afraid to say it, we’re one of the greats.
Our love affair began at a young age… first with buttered noodles and mac & cheese, then gnocchi and lasagna. To this day, I can’t for the life of me understand why my father has never taken a liking to lasagna.
If there’s one thing that prevented us from making our own pasta in the past, it was the (totally misguided) feeling that we wouldn’t be able to do it without going out and spending a whole bunch of money on that KitchenAid attachment everyone seems to have. When push came to shove, we never could justify the cost (sort of like the ice cream maker I’m dying to buy…), no matter how much we wanted it.
We went way too long before we realized how silly it was to hang all of our pasta dreams on a silly piece of equipment — in reality, it’s easy to make pasta with nothing more than your own hands.
… and some pretty killer pasta, at that.
The attachment is still on the wish list, of course. But now, at least we know we can get by without it. And we definitely do.
All of the best food words come from Julia. I think of her every time I grab for a bottle of wine or get my hands all up in a pretty plated dish. She talks me through my most favorite moments in the kitchen, and she talks me through my least… but the words I find myself repeating most are, “…nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”
One of the most memorable meals we’ve ever had was made so in part by handmade pasta so perfect it needed nothing more than a bit of butter to blow our minds. We’ve talked about that meal at least once a week since, and we’ve dreamed about perfecting our own technique.
Handmade pasta is like handmade bread… it simply can’t be beat. The undertaking can feel daunting, and I’m not going to say it’s easy (anything that involves kneading probably shouldn’t be called easy) but it’s nowhere near the complicated process you’d think. And the reward is beyond compare…
We all have our little pleasures. Manicures, lunches out, fancy espresso… they’re the things that make the day to day just that much better (or more bearable). And it’s for exactly that reason that we’re willing to spend a good chunk of our hard-earned money on them.
For Mark and I, hands down, our little pleasure is food. When we’re able (and probably even when we’re not) the answer to where our money goes first is almost always food. Things like paper towels and cleaning supplies will drive me up a wall every time I have to replenish, but a nice bottle of wine, a creamy chunk of cheese, fresh herbs and spices… those, I can always justify.
Much to Jack White’s apparent dismay, the details of his tour rider leaked out last week — but since we love a man who loves good guac, we thought they were sort of charming.
After hearing the story on NPR, we mixed up a batch — a little skeptical about the lack of garlic, but excited nonetheless. And we almost ate the whole thing standing over the bowl. All the while musing over whether the crew treats it like a contest at each stop, keeping track of who can make it best.
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