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Vegetables

I’m as tired as anyone of people talking about how freaked out/cosmically grateful they are that it was 60 degrees this afternoon in New York City, and I don’t really want to contribute to that particular conversation, but, well, I can’t stop myself.

How in the world was it 60 degrees in New York today?

Yesterday, I stepped out for lunch and didn’t take my coat with me.  Today, I showed up to a meeting and was asked, “Can I take your coat?” And my reply was, “I didn’t wear one!”  I didn’t even have a coat!

This is not the place where I’m going to wonder about how little time the Adelie Penguins have left, or wish that it wasn’t so easy to see just how dramatic the Arctic sea ice downward trend is this year, or explain how I lie awake with worry about the High Elevation White Pines.  Should we be taking Kishmish and Pista to the Maldive Islands and to the glaciers of Alaska before both are impossible? Or should we be avoiding air travel completely? What is their world going to look like in 50 years — or even in 5 years?

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Lists of marriage advice just don’t go out of style, as this from Toure last month (I love that Toure is giving marriage advice!) proves.

I’m not going to jump into the marriage advice fray, but I’ll just recount two gems:

After getting married, Ankur’s father told me, “Never cook too little food.”  This was both advice and, I guess, a little of a warning.  Not a mean warning, but a warning like, “Seriously, it’s just silly not to cook enough food.”  And, of course, that’s not only true, it’s also exactly how I had learned to cook. Double the recipe! Make some extra, and freeze it! A lot of stuff tastes better the next day anyway! Read More

The other day, Kishmish came whining into the kitchen as I was making dinner, and her chief complaint started with, “Mommmmmyyyyy, how come you never. . . .”   Are there actually any good endings to that sentence?  “Mommy, how come you never let us play video games?” “Mommy, how come you never let us have anyone over to play after dinner?” Or, the version that often comes from tired little ones around here: “Mommy, how come you never let us do anything we want to?!”  Oh, Lord.

Can you imagine, then, how happy I was to hear this?  “Mommy, how come you never make those yummy things with dal on the inside? You know those triangles, and we dip them in ketchup?”  Hooray! My work here, as they say, is done!  It’s fair to say that, right, when your kids start asking for real food? (Except for the ketchup part. . . . ) Read More

I know there is this stereotype that kids growing up in New York are stressed-out, overscheduled, and forced to grow up too fast. My children, however, have no structured activities outside of school (a statement which, I realize, is almost nonsensical — “They only spend 6 hours each day in a structured environment.” Well, la-di-dah).  They’ve asked me to get them into piano, Brownies, gymnastics, swimming, and science classes (?), and I’ve resisted because if I cannot handle the scheduling, I just don’t see how they are going to handle it.

The one exception is Bharat Natyam class. We started last year, just to see how it would go, and that once-a-week class in classical Indian dance became something they looked forward to all week. The youngest kids in the class, Kishmish and Pista learned all the hand gestures and foot work along with the other kids, and though the 4:30 class felt late in the afternoon, it was doable.

But this year?  The class time was moved to 5:30 on Fridays!  Friday afternoons!  Can you imagine a time in the week where you are more tired, unfocused, and spent than on Friday afternoon?  I almost pulled them out of the class, thinking there was no way my children were going to be able to keep it together and behave in a way that wouldn’t make me ashamed from 5:30 to 6:30 on a Friday evening.

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What in the world just happened?  The last time I posted, it was early fall,
and my impression was that there was a lot of time to cook fall recipes,
prepare for Diwali, write about all my adventures with Diwali sweets and treats,
and then slowly descend into the cold, dark, sleepy, New York City winter we
all know is coming.

Instead, the last 10 days passed in a blur of sparklers, sweets of every type, a few batches of pumpkin waffles. . . .and a snowstorm! Where did that come from!  We barely missed having a white Diwali?! We were hoping the snow would melt for Halloween?!

So, I was too busy fast-forwarding through a season I usually love to take note of all the early fall cooking I thought would figure prominently in this blog.  Let’s just pretend it didn’t happen.  Let’s go back and talk about delicata squashes, which may not even be available any more here in New York (particular post-Nor’Easter!).  Just take note for next year, I guess.

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My husband and I are lucky to have jobs that allow us to work from home from time to time. On a few of those work-from-home days we are actually at home together, while the girls are at school.  It’s like we are in college!  Sitting on the couch, tapping on our laptops, taking calls on our little gadgety phones.  Doing office work at home is far from perfect, but it is a welcome break, especially if one of us has had a particularly hectic time of it getting the girls dressed and off to school.

We used to use these occasional work-from-home days to grab a nice lunch in the neighborhood, but we quickly realized that — at least in Jackson Heights — there is an inverse relationship between the quality of the meal and the time spent getting it.  Sure, you can go to Sapori d’Ischia for what might be the best and most reasonable priced lunch anywhere, but then you probably won’t get any more work done for the rest of the day. Which kind of takes you from “working from home” to ‘taking a holiday.”

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