A new year, a new me. That’s what we all say to ourselves, right? I’m actually not one for making resolutions, at least not with the turn of a calendar page. As I told Isabella recently, every moment of the day offers a chance to resolve to be the best version of yourself. Being a teenager, she replied with an eye roll, but I think deep down she knew what I was getting at with my perspective on resolutions.
And yet, I do feel differently this month. It’s my seventh year greeting a new one without Michael, and while I miss him, there’s a peace I’ve not felt in a long time. The growing divide between my time with him, and my time trying to live without him provides a buffer, a perspective of sorts. I can see so clearly the different choices I wish I’d made, and yet I don’t see them as mistakes.
Wouldn’t we all do something a little differently if we could? I mean, that move to Maryland. I don’t even know where to begin. The experience, though, gave me deeper insight into what I not only want, but need. Acceptance for all I am—the quirky parts, annoying parts, sad parts. Acceptance that Michael may be gone but I will always love him.
Going through my old posts as I do at the start of a new month to do that little recap below can be a bit of a mind game. Words become a time machine, recalling memories of a life that often feels like it belonged to someone else.
Seven years ago I wrote about homemade yogurt with nary a clue that the following January I’d be at the beginning of a most formidable journey. And who knows what was going on three years ago because I wrote not one single post here. How bizarre is that?
This month marks ten years I’ve been writing in this space. There’s no record of that first year because it was a different site back then, called The Mama Chronicles. I think someone else owns that name now.
Ten years is a long time to be writing online this consistently, and lately I feel an air from some folks that is rather judgemental, not towards me necessarily. But, one person, a friend of a friend on Facebook recently commented “why does every recipe need to start with a personal story”? I just unfollowed the conversation, but it’s still been on my mind.
Why would anyone bother reading a blog if they just want a recipe? There are so many other places you can go to for that? I’m not quite sure there’s any purpose to what I’m even writing right now. It’s more a stream of consciousness I’m sharing. All I know is that it feels good to be back here after a little break to recharge my mind, my heart, and spend the holidays with my girls.
It feels right to be here, sharing my life, and the way food grounds me, makes me happy, and makes the people I love feel happy, too. So, new year, new me? Yes and no. I feel differently. Heaven knows I’ve aged a little in these last ten years, too.
And yet, the heart and soul of why I continue to share here is the same. It’s so natural to feel isolated in our own human experiences. If my words here make someone else feel less alone, and they get a recipe for what I think is the best peanut butter pie ever, realize you can indeed make a deeply satisfying soup from tinned tomatoes, or recreate a childhood favorite recipe for devil dogs in the process, well that’s simply the prize inside this cracker jack box of life.
Oh, a little word about this cake. January 6th is the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings’ Day, when the wisemen supposedly arrived bearing their gifts for newly born baby Jesus. I say supposedly not to offend anyone, simply because I’m at a spiritual crossroads. Funny how you can go your whole life doing something, creating traditions without really thinking about why or how. And sometimes even when you’ve thought about the why, there’s still deeper to dig than you realized. A post for another time (maybe, or not?).
Regardless of any religious beliefs, there’s cake involved, so sign me up (sorry Monsignor Del Vecchio). I usually make this galette des rois, also known as a pithivier, an almond creme filled puff pastry based “cake”. The kids love cutting into it to find the hidden fève (read more about it here), eat the puff pastry, then promptly scrape the very expensive-to-make almond filling in the trash. Last year we tasted a brioche version of galette des rois, more common in the south of France, and we all loved it. So, that is what I’m making this year (we’ve already worked our way through two of them—calories don’t count in January, right?).
Three Years Ago: Hard to fathom, but I didn’t write any posts here in January 2015!
This recipe is now part of my new site, Simmering. It can be found by searching the archives here.