glutenfreegirl glutenfreegirl

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Shauna M. Ahern  welcome to our table.

I woke up thinking about the experience of sharing this appetizer with my husband for our anniversary dinner last night at the incredible @maykitchenbar. A shattery stack of crunchy watercress, fried in rice flour, drizzled with coconut milk, and dipped in tamarind chili sauce. Our fingers slipped together as we reached for one last bite.

Last night, Lu said to me, after we read the latest chapter of Harry Potter, "Mama, I wish there was magic in the world." And I told her, "Sweetheart, there is. It just looks different, more quiet and ordinary, than you think."

Eleven years ago today, I met this guy. We've been laughing ever since, even mid-bite of blueberry dairy-free yogurt and homemade granola 20 minutes before we need to get the kids to school. Clothes laid out on the table, one kid so deep in her book she won't hear us, the other one playing with his Batman toys. Again. We look across the table at each other and start laughing, giggling at the chaos and wonder. This is nothing like we ever expected before we met each other. This is so much better.
It's always day one with you, @glutenfreechef. It's hundreds of years, stretching long. You are deep relief. You're the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Years from now, when our kids are running on the new high school track, I'll feel grateful I got my vote in favor of the school bond in on time.
Voting really shouldn't be a popularity contest or a place for such vitriol. The real change happens on the local level, one vote at a time.

Lucy asked for the freedom to make something in the kitchen. She knows how to use the stove now. Go.
I have to say, I'd make this creation of hers again. Edamame fried crisp in olive oil with green olives, fresh thyme, tamari, and hot sauce. I'd leave out the Reese's pieces, however.

First day of baseball practice for Lu, on a day like this? My heart might burst watching this guy run, imitating his sister.

Yesterday, after Danny and I cleaned out the refrigerator and prepped up all the vegetables, we threw stuff in a bowl and went outside to a small portion of sunlight before the rain started again. He was home. Kids were at school. I leaned my head against his shoulder. This tasted good.

I find I've become a bit befuddled by the notion of recipes. I've written hundreds and hundreds of them and I'll write more. But I've come to realize they're false notions. Run to the store to buy this set list of ingredients. Make this exactly as I have written it. Dinner. Sure. It works, sometimes well.

But I find the best meals come from having too much of something in the refrigerator and using it up, like this roasted asparagus with little nubs of goat cheddar, or the last of the butter lettuce before it wilts with a squeeze of the champagne mustard vinaigrette. Sunlight. Husband home. You can't put that in a recipe. But it's why this was so satisfying.

Sometimes I think I gave birth to a woodland nymph.

Danny's home. All is right in our world.
After Desmond and I swooped him up at the airport (sweet reunion), we drove back to the island, picked up Lu, delivered her to ballet, and returned home to prep dinner. Thank goodness for foods we had made in batches: shallot-ginger quinoa; black-eyed peas, par-boiled sausages. We roasted asparagus and I added horseradish-leek sauerkraut to mine. Dinner after Lu returned home.
My approach to food has changed so much in the last decade. It's simpler now. Less performative. Less chaotic. More sacred, somehow.

Welcome home, @glutenfreechef. We missed you. (Even tiny Bart Simpson.)

Note to self: do not show Frozen for the first time to smart, sensitive 3-year-old the night before his daddy leaves on a four-day trip. (The parents leave on a trip and never come back.) Poor Desmond has been having some good moments, but in the hard moments he has been alternately crying, shouting, and sitting quietly, staring out the window since Sunday. He just told Danny on FaceTime, "I hope you come back, Daddy. Please come back." Damn you, Disney.

This is so like me at 8 that it's eerie. Keep reading, kiddo.

Last evening, Desmond was a wreck because Danny left for a few days in Arizona with his folks. Lucy was so excited about Easter, the Halloween of spring, that she could not do much but dance around and talk about Harry Potter. Thank goodness I had already made a triple batch of gluten-free pancake mix, inspired by the incredible new book, Tartine All Day, by @lizprueitt_tartine. Best book I've seen in a long time. And every recipe great. (Thanks for mentioning me in the cream cheese dough!) pancakes for dinner, on the table in 10 minutes? Heck yes.

In the 8 years since Danny took this photo of me and Lucy on the beach on Vashon, we have lived. We survived Lucy's skull surgery when she was 9 months old. We searched for 3 years for Desmond. We wrote 3 cookbooks, won a James Beard award, and traveled all around the country. We've survived months and months of sleepless nights relieved by early-morning giggles. We've filmed a pilot for a tv show, which the Food Network came close to green lighting. (I'm glad they didn't.) We've worked with production companies, made videos, ran a flour business, worked on intellectual property deals, taught classes, made appearances, imagined worlds and empires, fell on our faces and succeeded both. We spent a lot of time looking successful and feeling exhausted and frantic.
I don't regret a minute of it. I'm honestly grateful for every single part of it. But I don't want that life anymore. The other day, for Danny, I waved my hands in the air, wildly gesticulating, to imitate those days. And i lay my hands in my lap immediately. I didn't want to go back.

I find these days I only want sun and sky, water and laughter, hugs and connection, the chance to watch my kids grow, the chance to love my husband. Time to read and think. Listening to other people's stories. Knowing my own hometown. Sleep. Sunrise.
And the chance to write these words.

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