Hello on this sunny April (!) Wednesday. Yesterday: I went for a long walk and listened a Bon Appetit podcast from a few weeks ago plus an episode of my Daily; I took my daughter to the living room for a Telehealth doctor’s appointment (she’s fine, just recovering from an injury); My 18-year-old is in a book club at school and the teacher picked The Executioner’s Song for this month’s selection — what it lacks in the uplifting department, it makes up for in the time-killing department, i.e. it’s 1000+ pages; There was plain yogurt in the fridge about to go bad, so I baked a yogurt-y corn bread that wasn’t special enough to link to. That’s it for me: Here’s your daily PPP…
Project: Marion Cunningham’s Yeasted Waffles
We’ve creped and we’ve pancaked, so it was only a matter of time before we waffled. With a special twist this time! These are the famous savory yeasted waffles from Marion Cunningham (of Fannie Farmer fame) that I’ve been meaning to make for years and that were absolutely worthy of the few remaining yeast packets I have left in the bunker pantry. I wrote about them in my Wednesday food dispatch over at Cup of Jo today. Check it out.
Pantry: Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut & Turmeric
Along the same theme of “Famous Recipes You’ve Been Meaning to Make Forever,” might I suggest the Alison Roman famous stew? If you don’t subscribe to NYT Cooking, you can definitely find it by way of the google machine. This photo is from a few months ago — we used light coconut milk instead of full-fat and it was delicious. BTW, Have you noticed an uptick in people making more of these famous signature recipes? It’s almost like people are cooking from some kind of bucket list — Sarah Keiffer’s pan-banged chocolate chip cookies, Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, Marcella’s Bolognese, and of course, our pork ragu!
Purpose: If We Can Name it, We Can Manage It
My M.O. for the past three weeks has been to keep moving and maintain as much structure in my day as possible. A huge part of my therapy has been writing this daily dispatch, so thank you to everyone who has shown up and expressed gratitude, whether that’s in the form of “Thank you” or an instagrammed pound cake. It catches up to you, though, this uneasiness, and I know I can’t outrun it. Yesterday, I read a story in Harvard Business Review called “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief,” and it really resonated with me. Especially this advice from David Kessler:
Our mind begins to show us images. My parents getting sick. We see the worst scenarios. That’s our minds being protective. Our goal is not to ignore those images or to try to make them go away — your mind won’t let you do that and it can be painful to try and force it. The goal is to find balance in the things you’re thinking. If you feel the worst image taking shape, make yourself think of the best image.
I realized I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends about this last part, about picturing “the best image” as a way to cope. My friend Christine told me she’s going to throw a massive graduation party for her son (a high school senior) and invite all the coaches and teachers and “just envisioning that is a nice distraction.” My friend Joanna pictures going to her favorite local restaurant and “tipping 200%.” My image is dropping Phoebe off at college in September, ironic, considering in some ways I’ve been dreading that moment for the last 18 years. Anyway, I suggest reading the whole story if you haven’t already. Lots of really helpful information in there.
Stay safe. Stay home.
The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at email@example.com.
Thank you so much for this. It is just so comforting to read it, and know I can look forward to it each day. It’s more solid than an instagram post and for that, I’m very grateful.
You’re so welcome. Thank you for reading and commenting.
I look forward to your post everyday. Thank you for sharing your recipes and comforting insight. And I just realized I could have just agreed with the comment before mine:)
Thank you and our attempt at your blondies turned out delicious.
mmmm… I finally just made your Pork Ragu on Monday! Perfect for working from home – started at lunch and then babysit the oven – although the smell wafting from my oven made me hungry all afternoon. Need to find my next big project – Bolognese maybe?
I made the pork ragu last week too — after owning the first DALS cookbook so long that my copy is falling apart. We were recently gifted a Dutch oven and I’m trying all the recipes I’ve missed! This one was incredible….thank you!
I love, love, love these waffles, if I can remember to mix them up the night before. Ha! That stew is going on my list. It looks so good. Thank you for this series. I look forward to checking it everyday!
Excellent reminder about the yeasted waffles. They are so amazing! We’ve been doing a lot of baking here. It’s therapeutic, in part because it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We can make it, clean up after it, and eat it. Ta-dah! There! We did something. And also because it smells good and pulls everybody from all their separate corners and nooks, google hang-outs and group chats, back to the kitchen for snack and a chat. It reminds us we still have things to talk about. My 15 y.o daughter and I have been perfecting our scones, which don’t really take much perfecting given we’re using the King Arthur Flour recipe (https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/scones-recipe), and we’ve found an afternoon tea tradition has developed around them. We all look forward to a cuppa, a scone, and a visit around 3:00 pm, before we squirrel ourselves away for one last push on the work and school duties. Our apricot ginger variety just went into the oven.
I haven’t been here in a while and came back looking for the chicken stew recipe from your Tumultuous Tuesdays posting from many moons ago. I love your recents posts. Thank you so much for the inspiration and thoughtful ideas. I’m sure the structure is helpful, too. I’m just starting the 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge myself. I think it will help take my mind off some of the madness, even if I actually end up writing 30 poems about COVID19. Take care.
Oh my gosh – I made the chicken stew from Tumultuous Tuesdays this past Sunday and everyone in my family was so happy! I made it a ton years ago, but stopped for various reason (one kid didn’t like chicken, one kid didn’t want things mixed, etc), but now we can all enjoy this dish happily again.
Thanks Jenny for these – I’ve read your blog for years and I’m super comforting. And that article on grief has helped me out a lot in the past week or so. These feelings are just so big they need names and care.
“It’s therapeutic, in part because it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.” Very well said…and exactly how I feel. And I love your ritual. Totally trying those scones as soon as I feel good about my flour supply again!
Love your posts! Just wanted to gently point out a typo in your last link (your / you’re)!
Thank you! Must make the stew soon! Love the coping suggestion.
Just popping in to say that I’m grateful for these posts–oddly, including the little mentions of how you’re spending your days. A walk, a mailed letter, a batch of waffles with your kids–it’s lovely to think of a stranger (though you don’t feel like a stranger, really) living a life that feels oddly similar to mine and represents a few normal (mundane, even!) activities in a weird, weird time. I’m so sorry for Phoebe and the loss of celebrations for such a significant milestone as high school graduation. Thanks for the reminder to acknowledge the worst-case scenarios and also balance them with the best-case thoughts. Our family has been writing our “I can’t wait until we can…” activities on scraps of paper and tossing them in a jar. When we’re free to go out into the world again, we’re going to use that jar to make our list of activities! Most of them, I’ve noticed, focus on the people we miss most.
That jar is such a great idea. Thank you for your note about graduation – I have to believe that some school somewhere will figure out some amazing solution to this considering there are a lot of seniors (HS & college) out there! In the meantime, counting blessings…
Thanks Jenny for all of this. I saw coping strategy and jumped in. Yesterday was day 17 or 18 or something for us and it hit me hard. Kids fighting, guilt about not being my best in all realms, the monotony, the lack of regular old small talk. And then more guilt cause I’m so privileged right now.
Been following you for a while—love that you have teenagers and my kids are 10, 8, 5–feels like I’ve got a big sister to look up to. A big sister who explains how to make 4 dinners for 4 eaters while really only making one—all about that plating. And who knows that waffles are magic! And gathering around the table 3 times a day right now is really really lovely. Thanks again.
That stew looks amazing. And I have the ingredients! Last night we ended up having a cobb-ciose salad: lettuce, bacon bits, can of tuna, olives, and potatoes. It was yummy and summery. Tonight is chicken chili with cornbread.
In good news, we have a deer family that lives on the untamed portion of our property. Our night critter camera revealed that the mama deer had her babies. Two little yearlings, maybe two days old and a foot tall. Spring is here, officially.
Thank you for these daily posts! I’m not much of a cook but I love seeing what you’re cooking. By the way, I got a little choked up when you mentioned dropping Phoebe off at college…
Thank you so much for these posts, Jenny! I read them all.
I am working from home (teaching university students) with my 1.5 year old, and enjoying having whole days to spend with her, while simultaneously freaking out about my lack of research productivity and upcoming tenure clock. I think I am going to take out your first book from the library again (Overlook app is amazing for that!) for some dinner time inspiration. I actually had How to Celebrate Everything out when this whole things began 3 weeks ago, and let it expire without reading it, as I was just not in that headspace. Please keep posting- my mental image is now going to be welcoming my students back to the classroom in the fall.
Jenny, I’ve never commented before, I’ve made each of these recipes at one point in my life but the real reason I’m here is because of your grief analogy. Unimaginably my husband of 36 years had a sudden heart attack and passed away two weeks ago. I, and my children are in a depth of grief I could never have imagined. I’m seeing a grief therapist on FaceTime and she says that the entire world is grieving which compounds our own grief. I don’t know why I felt the need to tell you this but your blog and recipes have been part of my cooking life for years. Be well.
CC – I don’t know what to say except I’m so incredibly sorry. I can’t even begin to know what you’re going through. I’m glad you’re seeing a grief counselor and honored that you felt compelled to comment and connect today. Please be well and stay safe.
It seems like Germany has ran out of dry yeast. I have a yeast cube that needs to be refrigerated. (Can you tell I’ve never cooked with yeast before?!) Can I use that instead?
Oh Jenny, right there with you re: visualizing dropping first-born off at college next September. I have been dreading taking my eldest daughter off to school — and yet I so badly want her to have the next step of her life proceed as it should. We actually embarked on a massive clean-up and organization of her room as part of our stay-at-home time, and I found it so helpful to be going through the paraphernalia of her life WITH her there; I could cry a bit when we found sentimental objects, she could gently kid me about being such a sentimental fool, we could laugh together, and then keep digging through old sketchbooks/old books/old clothes. A small thing to be grateful for.
Thank you for these daily posts – they are wonderful!
Thank you for these daily posts – they are wonderful and it reminds me that we are all in the same place and gives me good ideas for what to bake, eat, cook, do next!
Jenny, I can’t find active dry yeast anywhere in London. Can I use instant yeast for the waffles? Many thanks for this – your content gives me life!
I’ve been behind in blog reading, so playing catch-up today in all of these PPP. LOVING them! Even though some of the recipes would require going to the store, I think just imagining those is a bit of the “best image” time. Thinking of days when a trip to the store is no big deal and trying a new recipe is for a fun dinner with family and friends. Thank you for these posts <3
I read that article too, and shared it on my facebook page. I’m a long-time occasional reader who came here today for comfort, and I discovered that you have been posting daily. Thank you. Just wanted to say that this is one of my favorite blogs and I appreciate you.
The chickpea stew looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!