Sweets and Desserts

The days were short in December, but it wasn’t really winter. I mean, we went ice skating at Bryant Park, which felt all wintery and quintessentially New York. . . but we checked our coats before hitting the oddly water-logged rink, and we skated in short sleeves.

This week, though, the reality of winter-time really set in: it’s dark, and it’s bitterly cold. In our 4th floor apartment, we are assaulted by dry heat 24 hours a day, and Kishmish had the first nosebleed of the season.  (Two of them, actually.)  Ah, winter! Read More


A few weeks before Christmas, we got a letter from Kishmish:

Dear, Mommy, and, Papay,
What, do you like for Chismis? That you think I can make. Think of something easy that I can make out ov paper like a book or a paper ball I think those are easy.
Love, Kishmish xoxo

There are so many things to say about this note! Like: why did the first line get all the punctuation? And: how cute is her spelling?  And most of all: Is this not the sweetest sentiment ever?

The girls are 6, and I guess this is the age when they start to care about celebrating things properly, and they are looking ahead to birthdays and holidays and special occasions in a different way than they did before. It’s sweet and new. . . and of course I tend to interpret it as another level of pressure on myself to do the right thing and not screw it up. Because not only were they enthusiastic about giving gifts to Mommy and Papa, they also wanted to make stuff for teachers, grandparents, friends….. Read More

I remember hearing this interview with Nigella Lawson last December on NPR — they must do it every year, because I heard another similar one this December, a week or so ago — in which she was talking about easy recipes for holiday entertaining, making the whole thing seem so effortless and awesome.  She got to this chocolate orange cake, and explained that chocolate-with-orange is just such a British flavor for the holiday season, and I was like, “Yes! Yes!”  I am not British, but somehow chocolate plus orange totally equals a special treat.

(Incidentally, if you follow the link, you’ll see that in that same interview she extolled the convenient virtues of peanut butter hummus, a snack so horrid-sounding that I had actually completely forgotten about all the other nice ideas she has for holiday food.)

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