Taking over the world, one apron at a time...


If it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck...

How come it's not a duck?!

It's been a couple of strange months. Perplexing, Busy, Emotional, and rolling by like a freight train with bad brakes. I recently managed to open up some time in my otherwise packed schedule, presumably, to sew. I needed some free time to welcome creative energy back into my life. Think that's how it's gone down..?
MMnMMn, Nope.
Instead I have been reckless with my time, hemorrhaging money and ignoring my better judgement. It hasn't been all bad though. I have spent time (and half of my paycheck) wandering through Anthropologie also known as Apromiseofabetterlifethanyoursheadquarters.
I managed to clock some serious hours at Coffee Commissary drinking my favorite Ethiopian pour over and eating my new favorite breakfast from the Egg Slut truck (Pancake Tacos!). I wrote half a dozen unfinished blog posts while leafing through countless food related magazines.

I spent an entire day making a brisket for friends, just for fun. Elliott and I spent a glorious warm, sunny afternoon inside and baking together and I elected to spend some of that precious time with someone that made me laugh.
The thing I wrestled with the most engaging in these fun-but-less-than-responsible-because-I-should-be-taking-care-of-fifty-other-things activities is that very little in life ever turns out the way you think it should. The big conundrum is what to do about it. Ideally we are able to roll with the punches, gracefully. Turn lemons into lemonade. Shake it off. Get back on the horse. Shift gears, etc. And though I am capable of seamlessly shifting gears in a standard transmission, in my life it's a little more.....shall we say.. grind-y and lurch-y.

In the last two months very little has turned out the way I thought it should, whether it was in relation to what I identify as my Home, to recipes or to my personal relationships, there have been some pleasant surprises and inevitably there was a disappointment or two.  In some instances I needed only to shift my perspective a little bit and others I had to let go completely.

Kenny Rogers sang it best, "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run". And while the country crooner was right, his poker turn life lesson serenade did little to clarify HOW you know. I don't like to give up on things. More specifically people. As a result I am often busy trying to find a way to make something work rather than trust my gut and leave it alone. I have stayed in toxic relationships too long on account of this habit and I've been fortunate to have had some of my most rewarding friendships because of it, too.

Invariably in budding relationships there is a moment where you begin to suspect that a person or a situation is not what you thought it was going to be.
What do you do.
Do you stick around for a while and see if you can find a way to figure it out or do you fold 'em and walk away? What if with a little more time spent, peeling back someone's layers, you are rewarded with getting to know an amazing, entertaining, complex person that makes your life feel richer. What if you invest precious time and energy into something that was never meant to be, resulting in a bit more emotional baggage than you had before.

The same catch-22 exists in the kitchen. I have been experiencing this first hand because I have spent my spare moments chopping, braising, sauteing and baking.

Instead of frolicking about in the sun on a surprisingly warm February day, Elliott and I spent it inside and in front of the oven. We attempted a recipe from a girl whose whole blog is dedicated to The Attempt. And whether she succeeds, fails or gets drunk, she posts it. She reminds me that while not everything turns out the way the picture illustrates, all is not lost, it can even be more fun or just plain funny. Inspired by this concept and a whole bunch of borrowed-from-the-neighbor's-tree oranges, we tried our hand at an Orange Cake. Somewhere in our collaborative baking effort we took a wrong turn and our orange cake didn't turn out like we expected. Much more dry than any cake should be, I was about to give up before it dawned on me that this "cake" seemed more like cornbread. So I spread a little butter on it and drizzled it with honey and changed my 'tude. Our cornbread-cake was not so bad after all.

photo courtesy of F For Food

Next up was a Buttery Crab Bread Pudding recipe that I saw in Food and Wine magazine that included a picture I salivated all over. My lactose challenged digestive system gave a preemptive groan in response. I immediately bought a box of Lactaids, tied on my on my apron and attempted to make it for myself and my friend- the one who made me laugh.

The bread pudding didn't look like I expected. I followed the recipe directions, they seemed off. I made adjustments, more crab here, less butter there, a touch of lemon zest and then into the oven. After the proposed baking time the bread pudding still looked too wet. I left it in longer. After twenty more minutes it still didn't look like the picture promised. I left it in longer. At 10:45, close to an hour past the suggested baking time, I was marginally more satisfied with it's appearance but more importantly I was pretty sure I was going to starve to death so I took it out and served it up.

I'd killed it.


I'd ruined the bread pudding because it didn't look like I thought it should. It had potential, it could have been sublime if I'd let go of what I thought it should have been and let it be what it was supposed to be. But I'll never really know for sure.

As for my friend, that too went from something to something completely different than I expected. This time instead of trying to fix it I just had to let go. Things aren't always going to be what I think they should be and that's life. That's why I've got Kenny Rogers in my ipod, a sewing studio beckoning my return, a B.F.F. or two to have Girltime with and this no fail recipe to cushion the blow.

Gin and Juice.

  • 2 1/2 oz. Death's Door Gin
  • 1 Large Pink Grapefruit
  • 1 Small Borrowed-From-The-Neighbor's-Tree Orange
  • 1/2 Lemon

Find a big glass.
Add a few ice cubes, juice the fruit directly into the glass, pour gin on top. Watch Beetlejuice.
The End.
Maggie Mae