catching up…

I’ve written dozens of lines on this screen, and deleted them all, not knowing how to describe what I’m feeling. Being a tightrope walker sums it up a bit, at least the last few weeks. Don’t look down, that’s the key, right? Keep my eyes focused on the path ahead, and getting across to the other side.

But what is the other side of grief?

It is so hard to shed the cloak of being a widow. It’s a double-edged sword, not wanting to be identified as the girl who’s husband died, our story being interrupted so abruptly. And yet, when people start to see me as I am today, on my own, it saddens me. I have to remind myself they’ve not forgotten him; it’s just the natural progression of things. I’m just becoming comfortable with being seen as a single mother, even though that isn’t exactly how I feel. Yes, I do the daily job of parenting alone, but he is always in my heart, guiding me in the decisions I make for our family.

I am alone, but not really.

Until the memories start to fade…

and the sound of his laughter becomes a distant echo I struggle to remember.

It’s almost two years since that moment, and I’m still standing. I looked down at my boots the other day and realized they’ve strolled the streets of Paris, walked the beaches of Normandy strewn with razor clam shells and a thick layer of snow, and clocked many miles making my way up a mountain in Morocco.

Two years almost down; the rest of my life to go.

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thoughts on day 641

I’ve spent a lot of time talking lately about the nourishing power of cooking. I’m often on the giving end of that relationship, and it’s a role I cherish. Every now and then, though, it’s nice to step out from my usual position behind the stove, and simply be on the receiving end of a homemade meal. After six weeks of traveling to do publicity for the book, things winded down yesterday as I made my way home from Toronto. What an incredible bookend to what started here in NYC at the beginning of April.

Vittoria made her famous rice balls for my arrival in Canada. Nick contributed homemade dried sausage, as well as red and white wine—both homemade, to our dinner. Mary made the most perfect crostata with a jammy plum filling, and a crust that will haunt me until I have time to get into the kitchen and replicate it myself. Marisa made the main course, and what better way to make me feel welcome than with pizza? I felt so at home being with Marisa and her family, that I sat on the kitchen counter mere minutes after meeting her mom, Vittoria, so I could position myself just right to snap some shots of the incredible spread they had all prepared. Continue reading »

the homestretch

My eyelids are refusing to cooperate this morning, as I find myself fighting to keep them open. Changing the clocks ahead one little hour this weekend is proving to be more challenging than the six hour time difference I so often encounter when I go to France. I figure you’re all feeling sort of sluggish and sleepy today too, and what better way to jolt you than with some fun news surrounding the release of Homemade with Love. If you’ve preordered the book, then you likely got the same email I did on Sunday—it’s shipping earlier than expected. As in you may have it as soon as the weekend depending on the shipping method you chose!

The love, security and sense of self I derive from being in the kitchen are feelings I hope to spark in all of you once Homemade with Love becomes a part of your lives. My reason for wanting to write a cookbook four years ago was simple. It wasn’t about vanity or dreams of fame. I wanted all of my positive experiences in the kitchen to become contagious. I wanted to show people in a very genuine way that cooking is about so much more than just eating. It is about feeding your soul, and enriching the lives of the people you love. Continue reading »

why i cook

My relationship with homemade ice cream is a love-hate one. Part of it has to do with the incessant hum of the ice cream machine. If you've never made it before, imagine a power drill going non-stop for 20 minutes.

Yet, here I sit, trying to concentrate and string words together as it whirs in the background. There weren't originally plans to make ice cream today, but you know what they say about drastic times. I was at the Time Warner Center staring at a shiny new refrigerator Vanessa Williams unveiled for Samsung when I saw I missed a call from Mikey.

Then came a text—his mother had fallen at home and he was rushing to catch the express bus to the Bronx. It felt like the worst case scenario we'd planning for, traveling in midday traffic to the Northeast Bronx. She'd apparently taken a fall while City Meals on Wheels was making their daily delivery. When EMS came she refused to go to the hospital. When the social worker tried calling, there was no answer. This went on for 20 minutes until they called Mikey, him being their only child and their emergency contact.

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if he could see me now

I'm on a train, rolling through the outskirts of Maryland, making my way home from D.C. This would have been the better option for my arrival too. Instead I took the bus, emerging looking as if I'd been on a fishing trip. My jeans tucked into forest green galoshes, and a navy slicker thrown over my arm since it was raining when I left New York.

Normally the planner, I hesitated making my travel arrangement to Eat, Write, Retreat. Something was gnawing at me every time I thought about getting to D.C.

I love flying, but in this case it wasn't the sensible choice. So that left me with two options—the bus or train. Neither appealed, so I just left my plans until the last minute.

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