It’s a rainy day. It has been damp and rainy and then gray and damp and now it’s raining again. It is the first day of fall, and a perfect day to make soup.
Potato leek soup came to mind. I had all of the ingredients!
When I heard it was going to be a rainy weekend, I went to the freezer to retrieve the end bits of whole chickens that I save along with gizzards and necks from whole chickens that I had roasted. I save all this to make bone broth with.
So this morning instead of getting out the Instant Pot, I did bone broth the old school way, in a big soup pot on the stove.
I took the gizzards, and necks, and two 1 quart containers of roasting pan juices and chicken carcasses and tossed it into my big Great Jones soup pot.
I mention the brand because I love Great Jones cookware. I discovered them a few years ago on the Today Show when they were just starting out, and I had some pots that I wanted to replace, so I tried a couple. Now, a few years have gone by and the majority of my cookware for every day stuff is from them. I will never, however, give up my love for vintage Dansk Kobenstyle Dutch ovens.
In the soup pot, along with the chicken carcasses and necks and gizzards, I added a few things. Salt, 2 cups of rosé wine, because that was what was open, a half dozen carrots, one onion, two bay leaves, and spices. I chose Shwarma seasoning and Za’atar. Don’t ask me how much I just threw a couple of dashes in. Then I added some more water so that the soup pot was about 2/3 full. The pot called “Big Deal” is 8 quarts.
I cooked everything together I guess about three hours. Then I allowed the broth to cool slightly, and I removed the carrots to their own bowl to be used in the next stage of the soup. I removed all of the bones and gizzards, leaving just the broth. I then skimmed the fat off of the top of the broth.
Then I rough chopped two red onions and tossed them in the pot with the skimmed broth. I had already sliced a bunch of fresh leeks and had them soaking in ice water to make sure all the sandy soil had lifted away. I drained the leeks and tossed them into the pot.
Next I took dozen small potatoes that I had harvested from my own garden a week ago, and quartered them. The potatoes went into the pot as well. I also have the carrots I had made the bone broth with. They were sliced smaller and added back.
The last step before the next cooking stage, was to add thyme and tarragon, which I have fresh and growing in my garden.
Everything cooked together another two hours.
I then got out my little Cuisinart immersion blender and emulsified everything in the pot as it was cooking. I kept the soup on low, stirring often, and let it cook down another hour.
It was now cooked down enough that I tasted it and I adjusted the salt and pepper and added a little more seasoning. I even added a very small cheese rind. Just to add another layer of flavor.
The soup tastes very good and this is my spin on potato leek soup. I have not added any cream. A lot of the recipes I consulted before creating my own don’t call for cream.
The soup will now cool and then it’ll be put away and after the flavors meld for a day or so, I will serve it for dinner.
This is a semi homemade kind of a cooking post. Languishing in the chest freezer. I found a random graham cracker crust. I had been thinking of making a pie because I had leftover cherries and a couple of apples that needed to be used.
So I decided that I was going to make my fruit pie with my graham cracker crust. I let the graham cracker crust thaw, and while I was doing that, I got the crumb topping and the fruit prepared for the filling.
A fruit pie is not rocket science. It is fruit, sugar, lemon, or lime juice, and a few tablespoons of flour, or some people use tapioca. And spices if you’re adding any. In fruit pies, I like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger.
First, I pitted all my black cherries. I will admit that is a bit labor intensive because I don’t have one of those handy little pitting machines. I added them to the bowl with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom. Not a lot of spices because it’s a summer pie not a fall pie — just enough to give it a delightful flavor profile.
Next, I peeled my apples and sliced them paper thin like I was going to make a Tarte Tatin. I added them to the cherries and the sugar and spices and added the juice of two small lemons. That’s what I had on hand I said that to the side.
For the crumble topping I used half a stick of unsalted butter, cubed, into little pieces, a handful of oatmeal, brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and flour. I used one of those fun pastry cutters to cut everything into a crumble status.
Oh, and I almost forgot. I had an oven preheating to 350°.
Pie assembly was very simple. I put the filling in the graham cracker crust. Next I patted in and slightly mounded the crumble topping over the filling.
**I assembled this pie on a baking sheet because I put pies on a baking sheet in the oven so if they bubble over, they don’t cause a huge oven mess**
My final step before the oven was using my silicone piecrust cover around the edge of the graham cracker crust, so nothing burned.
I baked my pie for about 50 minutes in my preheated oven, and the result was surprisingly delicious. I had never used a graham cracker crust before on a summer fruit pie. I actually like the way it turned out. I forgot to take a picture of the pie before I cut it last night so above is just a photo of a little slice.
I am sorry this is a little of this and dash of that recipe, but that’s kind of how I roll in the kitchen half of the time. But I am writing this down enough that I can repeat my happy pie accident.
The pie tasted great, and the graham cracker crust was a good complement to just a fruit pie. It also cut down the preparation time considerably since I didn’t make a crust from scratch.
There is a summer salad, that Wegman’s makes and it’s a corn and bean salad. For a store made salad it’s not bad, but it’s too sweet. And that is the thing with a lot of salads involving beans and even corn, sweet is added to the dressing and it just doesn’t taste right.
So I decided to try to make my own version of it because I had leftover ears of corn from the weekend.
First, I removed the corn from the cob with one of my paring knives. I stand the ears up in the bowl with one of those corn holders in the top to hold it because that way when I hold the holder, it keeps my hand away from the knife, and then I just shear off the kernels. After that, I broke the kernels up some because they don’t necessarily get broken up because they come off the cob almost in little strips.
Next, I chopped a sweet white onion. Not particularly huge just regular sized or medium. I added that to my bowl. After the sweet white onion, I chopped up a little more finely a small red onion. to the corn and onions I added a little Jane’s Crazy Salt, and gave it a toss.
I thought peppers would be a good addition to this salad so the next step is chopping up red sweet peppers. I happened to have a bag of those small seedless red peppers from the grocery store that I had used in another recipe so I cut a bunch of those into rings and added them.
The final ingredients before the dressing were two cans of beans, drained. What I had on hand were cannellini or white kidney beans and a can of pinto beans.
I’m sorry I didn’t write down the proportions of the vinaigrette, but what it was is easy. The juice of three fresh limes, olive oil, garlic powder, Jane’s Crazy Salt, olive oil, and a combination of balsamic and red vinegar. I just whisked all those ingredients together until I felt I had the right consistency. I didn’t want it to be too oily.
Then I mixed the salad all together with the dressing and chilled until dinner. It’s really good and the fact that it is not sweet like most commercially available I think makes it better.
So what do you do when you end up with two giant heads of celery less than a week? You make soup. I went through recipes for cream of celery soup and I didn’t really want something that delicate. I wanted something with a little bit of flavor, so I came up with my version. Yes, wing it soup.
I saved some of my celery for the salmon cakes I’m making on Friday, but the rest of it got a rough chop and tossed into one of my soup pots with about 3 tablespoons of butter, four cloves of garlic, also chopped, and rough chopped onions. I also added salt, thyme, a couple of bay leaves, and 1/3 cup of water. I put the lid on the pot and let the vegetables cook down a few minutes.
Normally cream of celery soup calls for leeks but when I went to Aldi this week they didn’t have any, so I used red onions and yellow onions specifically are used one big red onion and two regular yellow onions.
To the onions and garlic and celery, I next added two chopped up yellow Yukon Gold potatoes I had. I also peeled and chopped small a bunch of parsnips that arrived in my vegetable box from Lancaster this week. We use Doorstep Dairy if you’re interested and are in their delivery area.
I let all the vegetables kind of meld together and cooked down about another 15 minutes. Then I used a box and a half of prepackaged chicken stock. Each box is 32 ounces so in total, I added 48 ounces of chicken stock. Two that I added a dash of Herbes de Provence. I brought it all up to a boil, then reduced to low and covered, and let everything cook.
When the parsnips and potatoes were both soft, I removed the bay leaves, and I took out my Cuisinart hand blender and puréed everything. I then let it all cook down more. I did this part of the cooking on low heat, and I stirred fairly often, so nothing stuck to the bottom of the pan. This was probably about another 40 minutes.
Then I added half a cup of half-and-half, and a dash of curry powder. Not a spicy curry powder just Keen’s Traditional Curry Powder. I know that sounds weird to add, but it just struck me that it would make a good addition to the flavor profile and I was right. I love curry so I do add curry powders to a lot of recipes.
I then use my hand blender once again, and emulsified everything a little more. I served the soup with Italian breadsticks. I have always loved breadsticks, and people always forget about them.
Now you have my semi homemade recipe for cream of celery soup. I will note I rarely use heavy cream when I do a cream based soup because I don’t like the extra thick and heavy, which means I will use half-and-half, canned unsweetened coconut milk, or even buttermilk. I think this recipe could be done with any of the above, but I just happen to have half-and-half in, so that’s what I used.
I know people don’t like it when I say a dash of this or a dash of that, but it really just is depending on what your taste level is and if you’re unsure of some thing you can always add a little less at first because you can always add a little more later.
Good soup, even semi-homemade, does take a little bit of time, but the thing about soup is you can cook it while you’re doing other things. So if you work from home it doesn’t really interfere with life.
I have been working really hard to try to use and not be wasteful with food. That even includes with leftovers. Like a pasta sauce and ricotta that was the leftover last week became baked ziti.
Food prices are crazy and what’s even nuttier are what the stores are out of from week to week and it’s not even Covid anymore. And with high food prices, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat well, it just means sometimes you have to be a little more inventive and use what you have versus buying lots of new things. I have been shopping more at places like Aldi, because they have great prices and their products are not bad.
Anyway, this is an easy enough soup to make, so I thought I would share it with you, because it did turn out to be quite delicious. I will probably have more for lunch today since it’s damp and rainy.
It has been a week of cooking. Right now I have a chicken roasting in the oven, Julia Child style. Along with the roast chicken, I am making a salad with poppyseed dressing. I’m making at the way friend. I had many years ago named Liza used to make it. It was one of her favorite salads to serve. I am also serving a mash of potatoes, celeriac root, and parsnips with sautéed baby Bella mushrooms.
Earlier this week I made pierogis for the first time. I have mad respect for old Polish grandmothers everywhere. Those suckers are work! I used a New York Times recipe, and adjusted the potato filling to my taste – I added sautéed mushrooms.
A couple of days ago I found some fabulous old Coalport plates. You don’t see them all the time in the US they are a British china. Coalport china ceased operations and production in 1926. Coalport was eventually absorbed into Wedgewood in the 1960s. I love old plates, so I will use them. I pretty much use old plates every day no matter what, I’m not really a modern china person. And my mother always said if you have the plates use them, you can’t take them with you.
Today for dessert I am making something I made up. I am calling it pineapple upside down trifle. it’s a semi homemade kind of thing, and never underestimate the power of a simple dessert.
Here’s the recipe:
1 box Jell-O instant pudding mix. Today I’m using banana, but you can also use vanilla. Make according to directions with whole milk and put to the side.
1 package of ladyfingers or one store-bought poundcake. I just got a Sara Lee that’s always still in the freezer section and let it thaw on the refrigerator.package of ladyfingers or one store-bought poundcake. I just got a Saralee that’s always still in the freezer section and let it thaw on the refrigerator.
1 cleaned, cored, sliced into small pieces fresh pineapple. I found a smaller one at the store, not huge one.
A couple tablespoons of brown sugar and butter.
I am making my trifle in a vintage Copco Enamelware Bowl. I’m not putting this into the oven. I’m just putting it into the refrigerator. I really like this bowl. I found that a few months ago. It’s stamped Michael Lax for Copco of Switzerland. It was a total deal and I purchased it well below what you would see these bowls going for on EBay or Etsy.
I sautéed the pineapple in a couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter with brown sugar until they were caramelized. When they were cool enough to handle, I started to put my trifle together.
Trifle is really simple. It’s layered pudding and cake with fruit. Never underestimate the appeal of this desert. If you want to you can top it with a little whipped cream but you don’t have to.
Groceries have gotten so ridiculously expensive. I’m back to shopping specials and patronizing stores with a better dollar value like Aldi. I am also trying to not waste food and use leftovers creatively.
Last Thursday a houseguest arrived. Thursday evening I made a roast pork Friday evening I made chicken cacciatore.
The thing about recipes with sauces is sometimes the sauces grow – like a stew you always end up with more gravy than stew at the end. That is the same thing with the chicken cacciatore. It left me with proper leftovers in two rectangular containers, plus a quart container of a beautiful tomato sauce. That was the result of the cacciatore. It has no chicken in it, but it’s tomatoes and onion and garlic and bell peppers which can be converted perfectly to a base for chili.
But you have to adapt the sauce, so I started with another onion in the bottom of my Dutch oven. Two that I had chili, spices, salt, and cumin. I sautéed the onion, a smidge and then I added a bag of frozen corn not frozen corn and sauce, just plain old frozen kernel corn. Is that is cooking I had a small jar of diced up Goya pimentos in my Lazy Susan, so I drained them and tossed them in as well
After the corn and onion and pimentos, cook and take on the hue of Mexican Street corn because of the spices, my next add is 2 drained cans of red kidney beans. These are 15 ounce cans and the brand is Dakotas from Aldi and they’re very good beans.
After I added the beans and give it a stir, I added the roast pork cubed into bite-size pieces and give everything a stir and let it cook on low for a few minutes.
Finally, I add in the tomato sauce from the cacciatore, and stir in more chili powder and about 3 teaspoons of the Dona Isabel panca hot pepper I keep on hand. It comes in a small glass jar and it’s basically kind of saucy and thick. It stays in your refrigerator along time after opening so I had a jar that was open.
The chili now cooks on low until dinner time. I will give everything a stir every now and again to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of my vintage Dansk Dutch oven.
Leftovers can be fun they don’t just have to be what it was originally and it doesn’t take much imagination to turn one thing into something else.
If you do something special with leftovers, leave me a comment and tell me what you make!
About two years ago my friend David randomly (and finally) gave me his grandmother’s poundcake recipe. I hadn’t made it yet until today, and finally did so as I was thinking about him this morning.
We lost David this year to a tragic, and senseless accident caused by a stranger. He was literally hit by a car as a pedestrian. It was a particularly hard lost process, because this was one of my oldest friends. He was also just a tremendous human being, and one of those genuinely good people you feel very fortunate to have known.
I always think of David around Christmas, because we used to go for decades with our parents to the same Christmas party on Christmas Eve. We would congregate in the host’s library away from all the adults and hang out.
We also went to JDA and SDA together, AKA Junior and Senior Dancing Assemblies for those of you Who did not grow up in the Main Line area. I always wondered if they ever found the remains of old stale pretzels we shoved down the heating grates at Merion Tribute House in the lobby. We shared many laughs there as Mrs. Farber in her gold lamé evening gowns, and her aqua net shellacked hair tried to civilize all of us. Mostly for all of us, it was like a bloodsport, trying to make her blow her stack at every dance we went to.
We always stayed friends, losing a connection for a year or two here or there as we grew up and lives took us to different states and locations per-Internet/social media. But as friends, we always found our way back to each other. When social media came around, it made it much easier to stay connected and we would talk or message more often. And then there was the one time he finally sent me his grandmother’s pound cake recipe. She made it with currants and walnuts, which makes it in my mind a perfect Christmas cake.
I did not have any currants left after baking, so I substituted this raisin mix I get from Nuts.com. I also did add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. It’s a straightforward recipe and it is not super sweet which I kind of like because Christmas cookies are so sugary.
I will admit, I was laughing when I was making the pound cake because it is a little bit labor-intensive given the nature of the batter. And I was laughing, because as I am creaming the butter, I’m getting stuff everywhere as I’m adding the sugar, then the eggs, and so on, and so forth. And my friend David was one of the neatest people I ever met, so I really was laughing.
I think in the end, it did not take quite two hours to bake this cake at 325°, but it did take probably an hour and a half and a few minutes.
It’s a wonderfully old-school buttery pound cake. For me, the 2 cups of eggs amounted to 9 raw eggs. Yes, you break them into a measuring cup.
Anyway, I don’t know if I will be posting more before Christmas or not. It’s been a weird year, and I hope you all enjoy your Christmas holiday with your loved ones and friends and family.
We also have our first fire in the woodstove tonight, and it is the perfect evening for it!
On Thursday evening, we made a rare venture into Philadelphia to see Nigella Lawson at the Kimmel Center. We don’t often go into Philadelphia these days, as it is somewhat of hot mess. And yes we saw that last night, and the sidewalk was actually torn up right in front of the Kimmel Center.
An Evening with Nigella Lawson was originally scheduled for November 10th at the Miller Theater, and was moved to the Perelman Theater inside the Kimmel. The Miller (formerly the Merriam) is under renovation. I am actually glad they moved it to the Kimmel, and the space is gorgeous and so clean! And my friend and food blogger Marilyn was two rows behind us!! Marilyn is the genius behind Philly Grub.
It was an amazing experience and some very amusing people watching. In front of us to the left was a woman who literally massaged the top of her companion or husband’s head the entire time. In front of my friend to the left of her there was a person who took off their socks and shoes and put their bare feet up on the seat in front of them!
Overall, it was not a bad audience at all, and we had super nice people immediately around us.
Nigella Lawson is warm and personable. Friendly, funny, self deprecating in the most amusing and human way. I have seen other personalities whom I admire “live”, and seriously I walked away thinking how truly nice I think she is. Of course part of it is I am sure is the fact I am an Anglophile.
I took notes while Nigella was speaking. I wish it had been recorded! She is as lovely in person as we see on our television screens. And I don’t mean just beautiful, because she is drop dead gorgeous. I also mean lovely as in the nice person you meet whom you want to have over to your house for dinner.
To follow are the notes I took as she was speaking. You will note her program wasn’t a cooking demonstration, it was also the woman outside the kitchen. And she is not a classically trained chef, like Ina Garten whom I also admire and follow, she’s one of us just elevated. She’s a home cook.
Michael Klein from The Philadelphia Inquirer was the moderator. He was excellent. He and Nigella had terrific chemistry and rapport. Michael’s manner also helped make this a memorable event. Not that any of us should be surprised if you have followed his columns for years.
So here are my Nigella Notes:
When she was 9 she wrote a play on the meaning of existence. Terrapins were the characters.
At 10 she penned a self-described “very bad” murder mystery.
Originally Nigella thought she would be a novelist.
She spoke about finding her voice in writing. Nigella’s voice evolved from writing about food. I guess that goes along with something that one of my friends and writing mentors who is a retired journalist has always has said to me which is “write what you know.“
Writing – find your own voice. Nigella touched on that again. She also noted her experience when writing about food that people are more connected, almost nicer. As a blogger I can appreciate that, because when I post a recipe everybody loves it and no one complains. But if I write about a politician or politics/political issues, the keyboard warriors salute (and charge.)
Funny little Nigella notes include how she feels about fruit bowls- she doesn’t mix her fruit. Every kind of fruit has their own bowl.
Regarding her first book How to Eat– wasn’t sure at first if she would have recipes. She wasn’t sure she knew how to write about food.
“Life is full of unexpected turns.”
Nigella remarked how inspiration comes to us in odd ways, as we “lurch” through life.
She found it fortunate in her work as a journalist to live through her words.
Nigella started with TV at 38 or 40. She had two small kids, a husband who had cancer. His name was John Diamond, and he was also a journalist. He was 47 when he died. On a rather personal note, this resonated with me because my sister became a widow at 43, when my brother in law, then 49, died of a swift moving cancer. So I respect what Nigella went through and was dealing with back then.
Nigella spoke about what her terms were back then in order to do TV. If she could do TV, she wanted to do it from home but unscripted. Wanted to speak naturally. And with two small children and an ill spouse, it was an early work from home arrangement, and good for her for getting that.
I always have loved Nigella programs because she is relaxed and has fun in her kitchen. Her own dishes and pans, and not everything is perfect, much like our own kitchens. And one of my favorite parts of her shows is when she would go into her kitchen late at night for a snack. It’s so human and real.
Oh did I mention her pink boots?? Seriously an important note, they were truly fabulous!
When asked about writing her books, she prefers to do her books as they evolve, not as a “churning out machine.”
This: a cookbook from the ingredients she loved that was an essay, reflecting on ideas, then recipes to follow.
Home cooking because of COVID seems to have inspired this book in part.
This book, Cook Eat, Repeat are essays with recipes, like a companion piece to How to Eat. For that reason, on my own book shelves, these books are together.
On making or creating a book with food- the feeling of creating something.
The practical can make you feel you achieved something- the dizzying feel of achieving from the blank page.
Cooking for one in book because of COVID but she’s done it before. But cooking for one is important- you can concentrate on process of cooking and learn.
Lockdown caused her to spend more time on Twitter. Also notes recipes for one are important. I agree. I have always cooked for myself, even when it was just me.
Nigella hates the term “guilty pleasures.” It “blinks to snobbery” as in liking the “right” things and being afraid to say that you like something.
Essentially she remarked the hell with you shouldn’t be eating something, just try it. Life is too short. Don’t be counterproductive. Guilty pleasures with food doesn’t really work. Feel grateful not guilty.
When asked about things that she can’t live without or would prefer not to live without, there was bread and butter. “Life would be poorer.” She says she definitely needs lemons and salt in life. She remarked about a chips sandwich and referred to it as an English delicacy. As near as I can grasp it, this would be a sandwich of french fries or chips in between two slices of bread with butter.
She loves English mustard. Coleman’s, specifically. I always have Coleman’s dry mustard in my spice rack, and when I can get the actual jarred mustard I do. It has a bite. I use Colemans mustard in deviled eggs along with curry powder.
Now she and Michael Klein chatted about “brown food.” She said she wants to write about not just bright food and color. Not everything has to be high octane in your face. Or Instagram worthy. There is a need in life for the quiet bits. Food might not always blow your mind, sometimes it has a quiet kind of dignity, comfort. Lasts longer. “ A stew doesn’t shout for you to come to the table, it whispers.” (I loved that description.)
Quiet food, comfort food, has equally rich rewards.
It’s not all about the “shouty look at me.” Not everyone needs to be the same. (Amen. I wasn’t destined to live in a beige, beige world for one.)
We evolve our ideas, but your cooking evolves the way your life currently is. “I bumble away” referring to being a home cook. The more you cook the more you know.
“If you can’t deal with a cracked cake in life, life is going to be more difficult.”
What do you want to eat ? People have different palettes.
Recipes express the nature of cooking. Recipes express the nature of the chef.
Then she and Michael took a few questions from the audience. We were all asked to write a question down and basically put it in a little wicker basket when we were checking into the event.
The event actually went over the time allotted, and I could have listened to her for a couple of hours more. It was delightful. It was such a nice change from the obnoxious world we’ve been living in recently.
This was a really cool experience, and well I didn’t particularly enjoy the City of Philadelphia because it’s just so dirty and the streets and the sidewalks are such a hot mess these days, but the Kimmel Center was really nice.
Writer and blogger Julie Powell has died. At 49, from a heart attack. I am actually truly sad about this. She was unique and I loved her writing style.
You also have to understand, Julie Powell and I never met in person. We were Facebook/Twitter peeps, and we did (do) actually have real people we share in common. So we were connected in that way.
I was a huge fan of her book, Julie & Julia which became a movie of the same name that I have also watched so many times.
I also was a reader of her blog. I could identify with the dead end jobs in NYC, as I had a couple of those there. I could also identify with trying to discover who I was and wish people wouldn’t look at me strangely or whatever when I say I am a blogger. Ironically, we started blogging at the same time. It was new, and people weren’t doing it. Our subject matter was different, I am not saying I am as good a blogger, writer, or anything like that, I just remember the early days of blogging…and Twitter.
Her blog was real, and sometimes raw, much like her social media musings. The blogging AFTER her original blog became a book ran from 2005 – 2010. (/http://juliepowell.blogspot.com/). I read that too. As an early person on the blogoshpere, I followed and read a lot of people. This was something not everyone was doing back then, and it certainly wasn’t the purview of mommy bloggers and more, like the people with the seemingly perfect lives and headshots and photoshoot photos taken solely for social media.
Because of Julie, I figured I would try Julia Child recipes. I figured why not? You see, although a lot of Julia Child’s recipes aren’t that complicated, her recipes can be intimidating. But through Julie Powell, I learned Julia Child. Shall we say, this is the woman who humanized Julia Child?
Julie Powell was found more on Twitter than Facebook. She didn’t really seem to be especially enamored of the Metaverse, and often said so. All these years later, I still enjoyed her musings even in first 140 characters or less, and then 280 characters or less. She could be insightful, outrageous, funny, sad, self-deprecating, and always her own fearless voice.
And Julie liked to cook. I think that is cool. So many people have these giant, glorious kitchens and most are just for show. They don’t even get their ovens dirty. When she was blogging from her apartment with it’s teeny tiny shrinky dink 4 burner stove a lot of that time, so was I. I had the same stove, only mine was white. I even had similar steel wire shelves for storage. And the same apartment sized refrigerator. Honestly, I produced some amazing meals in my shrinky dink kitchen, and she was luckier than I, because she had a gas stove.
Through her online musings we learned of her own human frailties, and I so admired her courage to be honest. I especially respected her ability to say she was feeling anxiety and depression. As a woman, that’s hard. Society may say they wish every woman everywhere to be utterly themselves, an original, but really they don’t want to see it. The reality of a woman being herself often makes others too uncomfortable.
I can speak from personal experience there.
My readers and even my friends might think they know all about me, but they don’t. I have learned the hard way that women still can’t be too honest about how they are feeling, especially on social media. We are supposed to have these picture postcard lives and perfect families, and more. You post a no makeup photo or express you are sick of certain things and it’s voila! Instant social media and more irritation. I often wondered if Julie would get the “I can’t believe you posted/wrote that.” messages and phone calls. Sometimes people post just to vent, ya know? It’s not all about you out there, it’s about them in that moment, not necessarily requiring attention or a comment.
Her second book after Julie and Julia was Cleaving. I think that was a book harder for people to read because it was a deeper journey into her world and marriage.
She recently had COVID. She wrote about it on Twitter. And today I noticed how god damned cruel and awful people are being. There should be a special place in hell for their literal inhumanity.
I am really sick of how people think they can be on social media. Cheering that someone is dead? And then of course, they call themselves “Christians.” She was a human being.
When you write whether as a blogger, a regular writer, reporter, or just a person, people are only O.K. with what you write if it matches THEIR comfort level. That is another reason WHY I admired Julie Powell. She spoke her truth, even if it did not make you 100% comfortable. She had a particular grace and honesty. Even if I was only part of her virtual world for a few years, I am glad I was there.