on the gad

nuts!!

In coffee on September 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm

i don’t get much out of sightseeing because i’m too easily distracted by surface layers of recent going ons and personalities  to mine the historic depths landmarks have to offer. conversely, small fragments of sight and sound will trigger personal and even ancestral memories and i love to follow these trails of beginnings and belonging. buster’s hitching post up at the track is underneath a chestnut tree. today, a busted open shell had me remembering family walks in europe. crispy autumn air, pink woolen coat, my hand in a parent’s firm hand; either for comfort or to urge my lazy legs to keep moving. and, of course, i hadn’t left the house without a hanky in my pocket. those were horse chestnuts in the woods and dad would make up an absurd explanation for the name that we would all believe well into adulthood.

nuts

although i am allergic to all nuts, i always appreciate bakeries like crixa and fournee here in berkeley that offer up traditional european desserts with chestnut flour, hazelnuts, and almond crust or pastry cream. i might have to attempt hazelnut cakes from my swiss cooking book for my sister’s birthday next time because it meets her gluten & dairy-free requirements. i am not an emotional eater but i do notice myself stuffing my cheeks like an anxious squirrel when my bank account dwindles. as i ran in circles up at the top, small children of various nationalities, herded by their caretakers, flocked to the water fountain. they chortled and were merry, as children always are around water, and i overheard them discussing ‘habitat’. lower down the hill workmen were chewing up dangerous trees. good job.

firenze

coffee & dates

In coffee on September 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

i spent the month of august pretending to be outgoing and wrote about it, everyday. lots of pretty pictures to look at too:  http://brownsugarsocial.wordpress.com/. caught up with actual friends and made some new virtual friends. i also started an indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/publish-children-s-book. please feel free to move about the cabin and take a peek. cheery sun struggled to break through this late afternoon and we cheered every time it did. we were having an impromptu little jazzy cake & coffee gathering at the farmers’ market amidst all the invigorating greenery and summer fruits. i didn’t know actual dates were such a feminine ivory berry when they started out.

dates

mama

circus

boxes

rise

origins

In coffee on July 21, 2014 at 5:50 pm

duchess“do you like to cook?” he asks. i answer in the negative immediately. he needs to know i am not a feeder. “but i like to bake.” i admit. which makes him suck in his gut and titter nervously. we are not suited at all. cooking for me is like gardening: i so appreciate other people’s gorgeous dishes and lush gardens but lack the energy or expertise to produce anything too impressive on my own. my baking skills aren’t particularly expert either. i have merely built up a repertoire of seasonal bundt cake recipes over the years to suit almost any occasion and satisfy my sweet tooth. we have traced my interest in baking back to my very early years when we lived next to mrs. carlinni. she always had a tin of fresh baked cookies on hand. it was a particular kind of cookie i have never encountered elsewhere and i can still conjure up a taste memory fifty years later. it was a wavy, free-form, large thin melt-in-your-mouth kind of cookie with powdered sugar resting sweetly on top. mrs. carlinni also had a large wonderful doll with lacy skirts on her bedroom bureau. she let me visit it often because i had promised not to play with it. i think there was a mr. carlinni as well but he didn’t have cookies or dolls so he wasn’t my hero. on the day our moving truck came i was found hiding under their bed. i didn’t want to move away. years later, my dad brought me back for a visit with mrs. carlinni. i was too shy to talk to her anymore but i happily partook of her cookies.
cenci

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