Bipolar Disorder and Julia Child, My Therapist

Julia Child French Chef

My backpack of school books slumped, unopened, against my father’s La-Z-Boy. My Top-Siders sat pigeon-toed near the breezeway door, where I’d mindlessly stepped out of them. I curled up on the floor in front of the TV, my head tucked into the crook of my elbow so my mother couldn’t study my face for signs that it was happening. Outside, through the open windows, I could hear the neighborhood kids playing. The Jenningses. The Freeborns. The Medeiroses. Please don’t make me go outside, I begged my mother in my head. I just can’t do it. Outside always unsettled me. The bright sky, the backyard with a lawn like a crocheted green quilt, the street full of neighborhood kids. A 12-year-old’s rightful place terrified me, because it gave me no pleasure and reminded me just how troubled I was. Read more »

The Story of a (Pastured) Egg

I think it’s fair to say that I’m not a proselytizer. I don’t cram sustainability concepts, politics, or ideologies down anyone’s throat. Quite the contrary. I’m heinous at dinner parties. The minute I see someone starting to climb up on a soapbox of any kind, I look for the nearest bottle of Scotch (of which there are usually many) and a pack of matches. A little immolation always brightens up a dull evening out here in Connecticut.
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A Friend in Knead

Alas, bread has been less forgiving of me than even my high school girlfriend. During the last few sun-dappled months of senior year, she came to realize I was genetically predisposed to want to go to our prom with her brother rather than with her. Understandably steamed, she gave me an astonishingly icy shoulder for weeks. She softened eventually, in no short thanks to my inimitable charm and style tips, and we remained friends. But my relationship with bread? Forgive the pun, but it hasn’t been so cut-and-dried. From the very beginning of my cooking days, I’ve been inexplicably drawn to desserts and attracted to savories. On the other hand, baking creations of the yeasted kind terrified me. Then came Jim Lahey’s miraculous no-knead bread recipe and its breathless promise of perfect boules that swept the Internet and spawned two books. I was extraordinarily curious. I bought a copy, pulled out my Le Creuset, and baked. And baked some more, yet my boules look more like Middle Eastern flatbreads. It felt as if bread had a vendetta against me, as if it was punishing me for my dalliances with puff pastry, cakes, and cookies the size of coffee saucers. Read more »

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