"I'm going to London," I said, "... to see the Spice Girls Reunion Tour!" My friend's facial expression changed dramatically as I finished the sentence. "To what?!?" To see the Spice Girls, but obviously, to see London as well. The concert was technically in Wales, but before there were zigs and zags and ahs in Cardiff, there were empanadas, gold leaf lattes (!) and long walks saturated with sights in London.
A wee bit of a back story: In May, three friends and I flew to London, walked all over, sipped some lovely drinks, and ate some lovely bites. Then we drove to Bath, took in the sites and continued on to Cardiff, Wales, where we spiced up our lives! We took a lovely country drive back to London with a pitstop at Stone Henge and then had an evening and a morning for more London explorations. Our last stop was Spitalfields Market, where we found a delightful doughnut truck!
As hard as I laughed at my launch party, I also teared up because The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook was so long in the making (but so very short in the physical making). This book really does feel like a decade in the works, and sharing that experience with a room full of enthusiastic people meant the world to me. Thank you to everyone who made the event come to life, attended, and celebrated!
If the word for the table decor is "alive," then the word for the menu is "share." This menu is a compilation from my cookbook, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook. The heart and soul of this book is the notion of cooking and baking for others. Since gluten intolerances and celiacs is on the rise, these recipes are aimed at cooks, bakers and hosts who want to make the table as inclusive and sharable as possible. These are recipes for a Gluten Free Easter Brunch for everyone at the table to enjoy!
April 9th was the "pub date" set very early in the process of working with my publisher and editor. Like an expectant mother, I marked this date in the calendar of my mind. I said it out loud so many times, disbelieving the day would ever be real. There were times I thought of this date with excited reverence, other times with dread and fear. How would I ever meet the intense deadlines necessary for April 9th to be real?
I find so often with the slow, intentional labors of love, the pieces start to fall into place and exceed even my obsessive planning. This gathering centered around a bird. Beyond the decision to confit a bird (a first for me), I felt a different sort of reverence for this bird. I didn't just pick up a plasticized cut of meat from the neon-lit cooler. Our friend waited in the cold (this is one part of hunting I do not understand), hunted this bird, plucked its painterly feathers and [mostly] cleaned it (Josh, you could have been a bit more thorough, but we'll allow it). We foraged winter branches, berries and greens from our dog's happy place, which became a centerpiece backdrop for the pheasant feathers. We set the table, dimmed the lights, and the dining room felt pleasantly small and cozy as it brimmed with friends new and old and laughter.
Though I didn't make the trip to Punxsutawney this year, I did celebrate Groundhog Day in spirit. Punxsutawney Phil can be a controversial character when he sees his shadow and predicts more winter. I happen to like the snowy months (don't hate me), so I'm fine with that furball either way. However, if there's one friend of mine who would really like Phil (for the wrong reasons), it's my Julep girl.