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09 April 2009

just after

after dinner

(We're thrilled that this recipe is being featured at's roundup of holiday recipes for 2009. For more of our featured posts, visit today.)

When I was in my 20s, I liked the moments before, the most. Ten minutes before a party, if I wasn't running around trying to throw a shirt over my head after washing my hair, I sat in my suddenly clean home and looked around. Imagining my friends on the blue and white checked couch or leaning on the granite-colored countertops made me happy. I lingered in those moments, dreaming into the white space.

I'm sad to say that sometimes the imagining was better than the reality. My friends were lovely — some of them are still my friends — but nothing could live up to those expectations.

As I've grown older, I like being in the moment, more. Messy and mucky sometimes, like pulling rubber boots out of the mud, the moment always surprises. Those moments before are loaded, afterwards can be deflated. But the moment? Oh, the moment. I'll never know it. I love that.

These days, though, I like the moment of just after. I love the meal, of course, but I almost like more the moment of leaning our arms on the table, napkins crumpled, glasses empty, the plates only crumbs. We're sated and sitting, together, no one leaving yet, no expectations of anything more.

A couple of weeks ago, just after we had moved into our island home, our good friends Tita and John came over for dinner. I've known Tita since I first lived on this island, almost 17 years now. (good god. is that possible?) She was my teaching partner — we invented a class called American Studies, with her commonsense clear lectures on history and my hands-waving exhortations on the Beat poets. Tita taught me how to buy clothes at thrift stores, how to make a mint julep from scratch, the beauties of cake made from farmhouse cookbook recipes, and how wonderful it is to walk along the beach with my jeans rolled up haphazardly, my feet a little sore from the rocks beneath them. Her husband John is one of the most talented painters I've ever known. He's also ribald and bawdy, the only man to really call me on my shit, before I met Danny. If I make John laugh so hard his face turns red and he stops breathing for a beat, I feel bigger than the sky.

And they love Danny. I waited a long time to meet him. When I lived on this island before, I told Tita one day: "Whomever I love, I'm going to bring him over here to meet you. You two have to approve." They do, unconditionally. That happened the first time they met him.

So John and Tita came over for dinner. No expectations. We know them too well to wonder how it will go. We talked and moved around the kitchen, smiling and sipping sparkling pear cider. We leaned against the counters and dipped crackers into the hummus with preserved lemon and scraped our knives down the cliffs of St. Andre cheese perched on a plate.

(Have you tried this cheese yet? Good god. Ripe and soft as brie, St. Andre is 70% butterfat. Need I say more? Eating this together was a good moment.)

We laughed over roast pork shoulder and mashed potatoes and salads made with greens grown on the island. Little Bean slept in her room, and I listened to her breathing through the baby monitor as we talked. Dinner over, we had reached that moment. The just after.

I imagine my dear friend Molly is enjoying her moment of just after these days. For the past two and a half years, she has been dreaming of her book, picking out recipes with meticulous care, writing and writing, sometimes tearing out her hair, sometimes soaring with the words. I've known her now for almost four years (good god. how is that possible?), after we met through these blogs of ours, and walked through the Ballard Farmers' market on a sunny September Sunday. She had just met Brandon. I remember a conversation we had about him, and his wondering about storage onions. I had only known her for half an hour, but I knew that she had met him.

I met Danny six months after that.

How much has changed.

But Molly's book, which she has been dreaming and anticipating, is out now. A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. Have you read it? Many have. It's selling like hotcakes, just out of the oven, slathered in butter and waiting for syrup. It's such a lovely book, filled with marvelous stories and recipes that work. Molly makes you hungry, not just for food, but for the chance to know her. I'm very much honored that I do know her, and quite well.

I am the person that married her and Brandon, standing in front of the water in Bellingham, just after Danny and I were married. I'll never forget those moments, seeing them close, me the only one on that side of them. Brandon hugged me, hard, a dozen times, before we began. I could feel how much Molly missed her father in that moment, along with the joy of marrying Brandon. Burg would have been so proud of her.

He would be so proud of her now.

I adore Molly, the Molly you might know from reading Orangette, or seeing her evocative photographs on flickr. But I love the Molly you can only know in person. Her fabulous not-quite-shiny green flat shoes, her understated tweed poncho. The way she listens to Johnny Cash and David Byrne when she's cooking, her hair up in a messy ponytail. She has a bit of a potty mouth (when she wrote to me today, to say she couldn't meet us in the city: "Shit, man.") and an unexpected absurdity for someone seemingly so delicate. Molly's always discovering new passions, like photobooth shots, the same way I am. And she's the only person I know who gets drunk — I mean red faced and giggling — after one glass of champagne.

Molly's also the kind of person who, in the middle of her book tour — a different city every day, throngs of people coming out to meet her — calls you from New York City to ask how your move to the island went. The girl's got class, and a huge heart.

I love that heart of hers.

And I love her banana bread with chocolate chips and crystallized ginger.

So, just after dinner with Tita and John, I pulled my gluten-free version of Molly's banana bread from the oven. We sat at the table, waiting for it to cool, talking about...well, unmentionable topics of conversation that quickly turned worse, and made all of us laugh. The chance to eat was the only thing that stopped that talk from spiraling downward further.

"Oh, this is good," Tita said. (I think she never expects much from gluten-free baked goods, even though she has always liked mine.)
John ate two pieces.

There sat John and Tita, married for over 30 years, eating the banana bread that Danny and I had made, inspired by Molly's recipe, and her love for Brandon. (And those two will still be together 30 years from now, let me tell you.) That I know them, and we were joined by this food, during a Wednesday evening dinner party for four, moved me more than I can say.

The banana bread disappeared. All I have is the photograph of this moment just after.

p.s. If you haven't read Molly's book, you really should. And since there was such an explosion of interest in The Flavor Bible the other day, I'm pleased to be doing another giveaway. (Molly's giving me one of her copies for this.) Leave a comment here with a story of food connecting you and someone you love, the just after, and maybe you will win a copy of A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table.

 Molly's banana bread, gluten-free
Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger, adapted from A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

We must have made this banana bread five times in the last three weeks. It's addictive. Watch out. What's not to love with chocolate chips and crystallized ginger?

Our friend Matthew had a bite of this bread (or, to be specific, this loaf) and said, "I think this might be better than wheat flour banana bread." Well, hot damn! If that doesn't inspire you to make this, I don't know what will.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup teff flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 large bananas)
1/4 cup full-fat yogurt (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup crystallized ginger

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a loaf pan (the usual size). Melt the butter on low heat. Set it aside to cool.

Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the four gluten-free flours into a large bowl. Stir in the xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir them all up together.

Combining the liquids. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir until they are just combined. (If you are using a stand mixer for this, be sure to mix until the liquids are just combined. You don't want to over-cream the liquids.)

Finishing the batter. Slowly, sift the dry ingredients into the wet batter, until everything is just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Smooth the top.

Baking the bread. Slide the loaf pan onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and a knife slides out of the bread clean.

Cool the bread for 10 minutes in the loaf pan, and then tip it out, slowly. Allow it to cool before you slice your first piece. (well, good luck.)

Feeds about 8.


At 11:52 PM, Blogger Sara Reddy said...

It's lovely, isn't it, Community. The simple wonder of ideas being passed around, lovingly wrapped in grandmothers' kitchen towels and warm first-edition book jackets. I've read both your book and Molly's. I've trusted you both enough to make your recipes for my loved ones. And isn't that something? I got an email today from someone in Jacksonville telling me they made my mom's onion pie for Easter. That's a quiet little miracle, in my world.

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Rina said...

Memories of making perogies, pasta, buns and more with my Grandma. She's still with us but doesn't have the energy to make these things any longer.
My brother and I are hoping to recreate her Mennonite dishes.

At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Clare said...

I am currently in my mid twenties and I love the moments before - the candles lit, wine chilled and the aroma of food lending an anticipatory warmth to the house.

In four days I am marrying the only person who really understands me, the one who never flinched at my moments of crazy and I very quickly knew, 7 years ago that we would eventually marry.

Seven years is a lot of before, and this last week is crammed full of last minute preparations, appointments and such.

However, as much as I've enjoyed the planning, it's the moments after that I've craved all this time.

The moment after the minister makes his declaration and I look into my husband's eyes, the moment after my brother's speech when I'll look at him damp-eyed and mouth a thank you.

We've chosen a menu filled with our favourite foods: silky soup, roast lamb with new-season veg and a rhubarb creme brûlée. I can't wait to see the contented look on our guest's faces after the meal, the crumpled napkins and empty wine bottles.
I'm also very excited about our wedding cake, which I've baked myself, stirring hope and love in with the other ingredients. I found one of the tiers here and had the sweetest reply from you, Shauna, wishing me luck. Thanks.

At the end of the evening, we'll climb into a taxi and have a first moment alone, we'll talk about the day and be so proud that our guests have been happy and well-fed, we'll laugh over the highlights and then the 'after' will be done and we can start our own lives together.
I can't wait.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this somewhere.

At 1:26 AM, Blogger Anne B. said...

Always feel the connection between my grandmother and I when making biscuits....her recipe and her hands that taught me over forty years ago.

At 3:55 AM, Blogger Ms. Moniker said...

My food experience is a more recent one. I had the 'just after' moment after my birthday party recently. I'm a vegan- I still love both your blog and orangette's by the way- her oven roasted tomatoes are perfect! Being vegan and my food choices can be difficult- for others to understand and to relate to. I started off as a vegetarian and then was diagnosed with lactose intolerance, so it seemed a natural step for me to take...
ANYWAY. It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and my boyfriend threw a party for me. Awesome, eh? All i had to do was be there and he took care of everything. Including a vegan orange cake from the joy of vegan baking which actually has tofu in it. There were many jokes about how no one could possibly eat any cake without bacon in it (i know a lot of omnis...) and tentative first bites. That cake was perfect. With yummy thick orange icing to bite through into the moist cake.
And there was nothing left in 30 mins. just crumbs and a friend picking the icing off the knife with her finger. There was 10 of us round the table that night and cleaning up the next day was fun just remembering how great it was to see my friends faces enjoying tofu cake!

I have older memories too- my grandma was a baker. We actually found out after she died that she was never able to make a perfect sponge cake- she always used a packet mix for it! my grandfather was sworn to secrecy and he said that she still had boxes of mix in the cupboard for upcoming birthdays! all this time and we never knew! But with my grandma it was always before and during memories. Her teaching me how to make shortbread and then waiting like an impatient imp by the oven- that's what I'll remember! Also having her teach me to sew while she cut the ends off green beans at the kitchen table... and rethreading the needle for me over and over again!

At 4:46 AM, Blogger Janel said...

My parents garden and have dabbled in keeping one milk cow off and on for over 25 years. From a young age I was in the garden digging potatoes or in the barn milking or in the chicken coop scounging for eggs.

Growing up, canning in August was the bain of my existance. Hot, sweaty and lots of work weren't my favorite things to do when lots of great literature was just over there on the shelf.

After 15 years of being gone, it was a joy to go "home" last summer and spend a week up to my ears in peaches, tomatoes and canning jars. My husband and kids chipped in and we made wonderful memories.

Community is so precious.

At 4:49 AM, Blogger Erica the Ninja said...

Last weekend I was invited over to a friend's house for chocolate. I had a vague idea that it would be "hot chocolate," thick and rich (my friends are from Colombia), but other than that I did not know what to expect. Chocolate?! In the evening? Do I eat beforehand? Am I the only guest? What do I bring?

I opted to make a batch of sunny oatmeal raisin cookies (golden raisins, lemon zest), and bring some leftover orange creamcicle cupcakes from a recipe I was testing.

When I got there I quickly realized that I would be the only guest this evening, the guest of honor. My friends suggested that they would like to make some "Pandequeso," as it is the traditional snack to have with chocolate, but they were afraid to even make it from a box mix as they don't do much cooking. "Let me help you!" I smiled. "But you are our guest," they countered, "we don't want to make you cook for us." Nonsense. I jumped right in, grating cheese, measuring out milk, learning how to make something so familiar to them and foreign to me yet teaching them at the same time to not be afraid. We had the wrong pans--so what? We made do, and in the end, they were deliciously tangy, punctuating the silky chocolate perfectly. My desserts didn't quite go with everything else, but were also delicious on their own.

After the last drops had been coaxed from our cups, the last crumbs pressed to our fingers and lifted to our mouths, I sat for a moment listening to my friend's crazy stories about kidnapping and communion and his overprotective mother in Colombia, I felt so fortunate to have found friends such as these, and to be living in a time and place where this can happen, to be full of chocolate and cheese bread and cupcake with people who have had a life a world apart from my own.

At 4:50 AM, Blogger babyjenks said...

i just finished my cup of coffee while reading finishing this post and suddenly found tears in my eyes as my thoughts turned to my grandmother.

i can picture her in the lawnchair now. grass beneath her bare feet while she balances the saucer of thick whole wheat toast and bacon, a cup of black coffee at her side. in the summer she ate this meal every morning in the back yard at the edge of the field and garden in new hampshire.

i can't eat real bacon (makes me feel sick) but i do love fake bacon and every time i crunch into it, even though it's imitation, it makes me think of her. i eat it with milk in my coffee and homemade gf sourdough that i make for my husband. but it's close enough. someday i hope to have a grassy backyard, then i can enjoy my grandma's breakfast in the sun.

At 5:00 AM, Anonymous Katherine said...

To Clare for her wedding and others for every day -

One of the best suggestions I was given before my wedding was to stop and 'take a memory' about every 15 minutes. I did it, momentarily stepping out of the wonder and have a fabulous mental album of memories which are just mine. Shared with him, but somehow, those will always be mine and have stayed so fresh. I now use the same technique to enjoy the moments before, during, and after. When life is so glorious, I want to participate fully.

At 5:13 AM, Anonymous Pamela said...

I cannot comprehend the emptiness in the lives of people who claim to be unable to cook - and are proud of it too. Why would you be proud of a basic inability to nurture? I love to cook and I love to cook for family and friends. I grew up cooking dinner for 6 most nights when I got home from school and my mum was still at work and still 30 years on have difficulty cooking small quantities. My lunch boxes, which almost always contained left overs, were legendary. But it was months before I noticed the anticipation of my colleagues as I opened the box. I do wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew with an offer to cater a party for 20 this Friday for my best friend's 10th wedding anniversary. The little boy who comes for a French lesson each week says my house always smells so good, he also loves to cook and always wants to know what I have been making. I have been reading both your blog and Molly's for some time now and when I read your post about meeting Danny your words moved me to tears. I love the stories that go with each recipe and have made many dishes and bookmarked so many others. My 18 year old niece has a note book in which she has been collecting favourite recipes from home so that in years to come she will be able to cook her favourite foods from her childhood instead of just wistfully remembereing meals her nana used to cook.

At 5:46 AM, Blogger mc said...

I'd love to win a copy of Molly's book! Failing that, I s'pose I'll have to go out and actually *buy* one.

I adore the moment after. And, I have to admit, have been impatiently awaiting its arrival with my young daughter. When a meal is done, she is done -- none of this sitting around chatting at the table, she's got her teddy bears to care for, and "gwow-suh-wee sopping" to do in our pantry.

But about six months ago, after we'd finished a lunch of PB&J and fruit, she settled back in her booster seat and just. started. talking. She told us her very first story -- the plot was a bit convoluted, but it included a bear that was chasing someone, a surprise appearance by a kitten and a trip to the "gwo-suh-wee" store. As she noticed our rapt attention -- our kid! telling a story! -- she sort of leaned in to her story, adding new bits as they popped into her head. It was the sweetest thing ever.

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, there are so many foods that connect me to people. My dad used to make peanut butter and tortilla sandwiches when I was a little girl in California, and now when I make them for myself I always think of him.

I can't wait to own Molly's book, but I've been putting off buying it because I'm on a budget lately. It's on my hold list for the library, but I know I'll need to own it eventually. You said it perfectly, her writing just makes you hungry to know her. I wish I did, you are so lucky to.

At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Kay Guest said...

Here is my story- hot English tea with gluten free Melting Moments made by my husband (celiac since 1957, he was only 2). The tea and biscuits are truly restorative. I will look at my husband and exclaim, "This is life-giving!"

At 6:28 AM, Blogger Adrienne said...

Oh wow, I just made this banana bread for a welcome-back party at work - it was the first thing to disappear from the huge table of baked goods brought in. It's really very powerful.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger sk said...

oh, what a sweet post!
i already have Molly's fantastic book, but I would love an extra copy to give away. Her beet and feta tart recipe is the basis for a beet & cheese quiche that I started making a year or two ago and has become my signature potluck dish. People request it often. Come to think of it, most of the recipes I've made from her website have been BIG HITS. It must be so much fun to be her friend.

I just wanted to write and say that this made me teary! I love love love your writing. thanks!

At 7:07 AM, Blogger Zoomie said...

Our moment after is when we have had house guests whom we really enjoyed but as we wave goodbye to them on our doorstep, we have our arms around each other and we turn to go inside, happy and filled with memories but also glad to be back to "just us."

Don't put my name into the drawing for Molly's book - I am fortunate that she sent me a pre-publication copy that I cherish - but thanks for making a space for me to remember my "moment after." And thanks for your joyous blog - I read it avidly.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger juststudying said...

My partner has been away for the last 10 weeks, I have missed him every moment but most often in the kitchen and while eating dinner. The thing I am most looking forward to is him being home and us cooking together. Cooking alone is never much fun and I often resort to the simplist of meals but with friends or family cooking is beautiful.

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this post made me well up with tears. It was lovely and helped me to remember some lovely memories and also remember it is time to create new ones as well.

thank you.

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Karen said...

My grandpa was and is one of my favorite people in the world. He was a farmer, and knew how to grow the most amazing vegetables in the world. Cabbages the size of pumpkins, green beans as long as pencils (and still delicious). He knew food made people happy. Every year at Halloween, he had a huge hayride/bonfire party, and a barn would be full of tables groaning with food. Everybody brought something, and there were huge silver cauldrons of hot chocolate.

My mother---my grandpa's daughter--had a prickly relationship with him. I remember a vague time before she let us visit him regularly, when we would come home from an outing and find on the doorstep the finest offerings from his garden--cabbages, huge zucchinis, bags of ripe-to-bursting tomatoes. My mom would mutter about having to deal with such a large amount of produce, but I knew it was a peace offering. There was love in those cabbages.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Pearl said...

that's such a lovely story. and that bread looks delish.

whenever my mother and i make dumplings from scratch, i can almost sense my grandmother in the room. my grandmother, who knew just how thin to roll the skin of the dumpling so that it was tender but yet still with a bite; just how much filling to wrap in each dough so the dumpling looks plump and full; just how long to steam the dumplings so that the filling is cooked and its aroma fills the air, but before the interior turns soggy. i only wish that my grandmother could see that now, i too am making the dumplings, instead of sitting on a chair and watching her construct with such delicacy and precision, twirling my pigtails around my 5 year old fingers.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Miss | A said...

oh i have been wanting to read her book too! and I am on a spending hiatus now until 12-31-09(wow). so i would love to win this book!! thankfully i bought your book pre-hiatus! :) xo

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent many years married to clinically depressed man. It was hard, harder than I can find words to express. I tried to help, I wanted to save him, but I couldn't.

Everything was hard for him, and our life together was sad and painful. Food was never a joy in our house. He was picky and took little more than basic sustenance from whatever I put in front of him. And so I didn't really love cooking, although I found those moments when I was alone in the kitchen preparing dinner to be peaceful, and I wished I was making something for someone who would actually taste it.

Today that marriage is part of my past. I live with a man--and have for over five years--who delights in life, in me, in my food. Over dinner (still by candlelight, every single night) we talk and laugh and he sings the song of my dinners (every single night).

He loves that one of the ways I show my love for him is through this nurturing with food. It is love, a connection that brings us together after a busy day, sharing ourselves and our lives over plates of food at our farmhouse kitchen table in our warm and loving home.

I experiment and get creative and he savors every bite. He recently told me he remembers all the meals I made for him in my little apartment--with the absurdly teeny kitchen--before I moved in with him. I remember too, as if it was yesterday, and we reminisced about the shrimp and feta with tomato, the portobella risotto, the seafood lasagna, the broccoli and penne with fresh mozzarella, the sauteed rapini and eggplant, the homemade cheesecake.

Simple, good food. All made with love. And the expectation of happiness.

An expectation fulfilled.

Five years have flown by. I've never been more in love. I've never enjoyed food and cooking and living and loving as I do now.

Every day is a gift.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger CeliacGirlRI said...

The smell of beef stew with dumplings fills the air. The dumplings are from a recipe in my dear late grandmother's 1938 Hood cookbook. (How I love that book!) Since I work days now (previously a nightcrawler at a newspaper), I pre-braised the meat and pre-chopped the potatoes and carrots, etc. Now this morning I put them in a crockpot to cook while I worked, and, when I come home, I will put it in a pot on the stove to thicken and to "doctor" it. I have made it GF and lowfat, so both my husband and I can eat it. Since he is a musician, and works at a music store on weekdays, I bring cook his dinner when I get home from work, and bring it to him at the music store. (We don't want him to take cholesterol meds, so we attempt to keep his levels in check with diet and exercise. Besides, he has a death fear of needles, and they need to check your blood often while on cholesterol meds.) Then I go home and cook MY dinner, which is often different than his, since he won't eat GF. Thank God for stew, good for both of us naturally. Then, after dinner, it's off to the gym for me, full of yummy stew. (I take mine out to eat before I put the glutinous dumplings in for him!

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Hockey Mom said...

My just after comes when my husband cooks his wonderful polenta dish rich with cream and cheese for friends and they realize that I'm not "missing" anything because I have celiac.

He has embraced changing recipes and cooking things for me (his chicken scallopine is to die for) so I can be healthy and happy. I feel his love before he cooks, while he cooks and just after we finish.

We've been married almost 22 years now and it's only gotten better!

At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Susanna said...

My grandmother makes the best doughnuts from scratch. I remember being so happy everytime I walked through the door to her place and saw her at the kitchen counter rolling the dough...little plates of sugar and cinnamon waiting for the hot doughnuts to be dunked in. Even though I try, I still can't recreate them exactly like hers. Still, the feeling of rolling the dough is enough to take me back to that time with her.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Cove Girl said...

I love food! So many stories to pick from. But I'll pick something post gluten free.

It's difficult, as I'm sure we can all attest to, to bring certain friends on board with a GF lifestyle. At least I've found that to be true. Most are completely willing to make accommodations, but there are still a few that think it's the end of life as they know it, whenever a change needs to be met to meet my dietary needs. However, I think that after this night I've slowly been able to bring them into the fold.

A friend wanted us to have a dinner called "Family Favorites" where all invited bring a dish that they enjoyed as a child in their family and a story with said dish. I agonized over what to do. My favorite family dish is Pierogies, but at $12 for a GF box for the doughy goodness that they offer is simply madness and making them was not in my time constraints, I can't wait to be done with school so I can start really cooking, but I digress. Finally I decided that I would make my own family favorite and chose the ever simple, but always classic, GF Mac&Cheese and GF brownies.

No one really knew what I was going to do, people thought I may bring the obligatory veggie tray, some thought I might not show, but the evening of the dinner finally arrived and so did I with my cheesy goodness steaming, begging to be scooped into. Up until this point I hadn't really cooked any GF food for my friends, except those that too live the life of a Glutenite (my own word). Mostly because I wanted it to be perfect and often GF food is not cooperative with the original tastes that we know and love.

Anyway, the first scoop was made, the breath from the pursed lips cooling their first bites down, and all my friends interested as to what it might taste like. The anticipation was to much for me so I left the kitchen, where the food was congregated, until my friend Tim came out and inquired, "This is gluten free?" A smile crossing his lips as my steaming Mac&Cheese pleased his fall chilled bones. I explained to him that this was not really a "family favorite" under the guidelines of the dinner rules, since mine came from an infamous blue box, but that I was now beholden to creating my own family favorites since one day I will have my own family and I'll have to find a happy medium in meeting our dietary needs. And since at this time I consider my friends my family I have technically created my first "Family Favorite".

Since then people are always interested in what I'm going to make, and many times people have been dismayed that my Mac&Cheese has not made a reappearance. Who knows, maybe on some fall chilled night it will.

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! Brought back many memories for me...of my marrying the man of my dreams, after a very bad marriage and divorce. The life I have now, is the complete and total opposite of what I did have. I try each day, to put aside a few moments, just to appreciate. Life can be so glorious, in these precious moments, can't it? This book sounds lovely! I'll be adding it to my wish list. Thanks, Ina Gawne Westcoast, B.C.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger ee.spenner said...

My great grandmother made raisin pie that would inspire the sould to sing. It sounds weird...raisin pie. Not grape, raisin. It is delicious. And since she's been gone noone else has perfectly recreated it. She taught all of us--6 kids, 27 grandkids, 59 great grandchilren--to make it, but there was something special about grandma's pie. The something special that comes from 100 years in a kitchen. Maybe someday I will finally figure it out, but it might still be awhile yet,

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Linda said...

My memory of food and someone I love. I had just started dating a Frenchman who would become my future husband. I was making a salad and asked him if he wanted French Dressing on it and he asked, "What's that?" I pulled out my bottle from the refrigerator of the orange colored French dressing and he said, "Why don't you let me make the salad dressing?" It was the first time I had had home made vinegarette in a salad and the beginning of many new wonderful meals, wine, bread and cheese.

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Veronica said...

I don't know if this counts as a "just after" moment, but it is one of my favorites...

My parents took a young couple and their daughter out to lunch after church service one Sunday. My dad said the meal was good and the conversation was even better. High praise from my father. As they were leaving the little girl (18 months old) held her arms up to my father. Of course he scooped her up, and she immediately went limp against him. He called me the next day to tell me about this simple little moment. He said it brought back so many memories of me as a baby, and how for just a few precious seconds he had the chance to hold me again. I can't describe to you what I felt, but I was immediately connected to that meal and that girl and that moment. Even though I wasn't technically there it is one of the best after the meal moments I have ever had.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Sirena said...

Although we're still newlyweds, we've been together for ten years. I know how deep his connections are to his family and his culture, and sometimes no other food will do than the kind that springs like magic from his mother's hand. After his parents left last week to head to their home in the Middle East, I stayed behind in our house as he took them to the airport. The day was dark, gloomy and rainy, and I put a pot of chicken soup on the stove simmering like my mom would make. But my hand kept traveling over to my mother in law's spices, and without even meaning to, I added the fingerprints of her cooking to this soup: sweet potato, rice, cumin and turmeric and allspice, cinnamon and coriander and lemon zest. The soup simmers on and when my husband comes home, his step bounds lightly through our home. "What's that amazing smell?" he calls out. On the table, fresh tabbouleh waits, along with the heavily scented soup, whole wheat armenian bread, a dish of sardines and red onions and olives. Once we've finished this meal, we use the bread to wipe the plates clean, shiny with sardine and olive oil, and he gives me the best gift: an enormous smile. "I miss those two," he says with a misty grin. We check our cellphone clocks and think, they've only been gone a few hours, but it feels like forever.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Dolores said...

I my God!!! I love your posts!!! THANKS!! I´ll try the banana bread (today I was thinking "what I am going to do with this riped bananas?" and here you come...) And I want Molly´s book too!!!

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Our second Christmas away from our families, I felt brave enough to attempt a b'stilla. My husband read about the Moroccan national dish in a travel magazine, and I did some research, coming up with this recipe as my basis, with a few tweaks from other sources. I spent hours in the kitchen, hoping and anticipating that it would live up to our expectations. When we finally sat down to eat, we ate in near silence. When we had cleared our plates, we leaned back, sighing, and my husband said, "I think that's the best thing I have ever put in my mouth." We lingered at the table, even with Christmas gifts waiting to be opened, so entranced by our ability to feed ourselves well.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Shauna,

I am a celiac, and work for a poetry center. Do you teach?
I've only just found this --what a surprise, how wonderful.

From Michigan,

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Ricki said...

Banana bread sounds wonderful! And friends, and books, and weddings, and true love. . .

I am very connected to my mom's baking (she's the one who taught me, intially) and the "just after" (well, a long while after, really) is how I adapted a cheesecake she used to make for my dad (well, the filling is GF, anyway). I tell the story here.

Would love Molly's book!

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous cathy said...

I like to put the bananas in the freezer first to get them really mooshy before making them into bread! This recipe looks great!!

American Studies was definitely my favorite class in high school and Mr. Holt was the best teacher ever--I was always amazed by how much he knew and how he could make the stories just come alive. And he was soooo thoughtful about answering our questions and returning our papers to us right away instead of making us wait. I wish I had made him banana bread but he passed away 3 years ago sadly.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just thinking today about the fact that my family always lingers at the dinner table long after the food is gone. We have had freinds fall in love right before our eyes at the Dinner table, after the meal was done .
I wish for all to know that feeling of connecting that comes with a meal shared and the great talks that seem to come after.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Just afters are so peaceful in cooking. Sometimes the just after is when the roast is resting just after it's due time in the oven. The love wafting around.

But I do adore the just after love of a meal with family. It's perfect picture of the house. Kids running around with dessert still hanging off their chin. Adults sitting back in their chairs reminiscing. Either about good ole times, or the food they just enjoyed. The dishes are dirty and no one cares. Everyone is to happy to be blessed with a meal.

It's such a blessing to have these just afters.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Cate said...

My "just after" (and this is not to win a copy of Molly's book; I have one, and I just finished it this morning, and I am mad that there isn't more -- but thank goodness I can look forward to her weekly updates) is of our Urban Family Thanksgiving. We gather friends in our apartment, put the leaf in the dining table, and crowd it with the usual trimmings plus our own traditions, like SJ's apricot and sausage stuffing. The just after is everyone satiated, plates stacked in the sink, wine bottles empty, and hearts and bellies full. We pick at the pie crusts, finish off the cheese, and all roll onto the living room floor, waistbands loosened. And then we talk and laugh for hours. It is one of most cherished holidays, and one of my very best memories. And it's rooted in the moments after. Thank you for reminding me of this.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Sara said...

Food has always been important in my family. My mom tells a story of how, on their second date, dad cooked dinner for her and she knew right then she was going to marry him. About a year ago, a certain young man took me home (on the first date! oohlala) and fed me homemade spaghetti and garlic zuchini. We're getting married in september :D Good to keep those old family traditions going, you know?

I'm not generally excited about the before - I'm a terrible procrastinator so right up to the moment guests walk in I'm frantically vacuuming or hiding clutter back in the bedroom :). I love the moment during - seeing people enjoy themselves, talking together about our days over a good meal. After moments - I generally enjoy those more when I'm alone - after a party there is too much clean up to do :) - but just me or the two of us, after a really good meal. yeah, that's good.

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous elenagold said...

well, i'll first admit, i want this book bad. i'm number 112 on hold for it at the library, and it hurts i can't afford it right now. here's why. i've been reading molly's blog forever. my sweetheart, my 'him', is one picky eater. he doesn't eat meat, doesn't like eggs, doesn't like anything too eggy, too milky, no raw tomatoes, etc.etc. its been such an adventure cooking with him, learning and celebrating what we both love to eat. (once when we were first dating, i made a sexy dessert of fresh sliced peaches in whipped cream that i planne on feeding him...and he said sweetly but firmly...'whipped cream? no thank you." it still makes me laugh. oy! anyway, you know what we eat without fail probably once a week? good pasta with molly's tomato sauce with butter. thank god for that sauce. and we make a simple perfect meal of creamy pintos, rice, a little cheese and molly's flour tortillas. oh god, those tortillas make it a feast. the after, sitting across our skinny rough wood table, quiet, sighing with contentment, me wearing his blue hoodie because i was cold, the front of it dusted from flour because i forgot to wear an apron, the aroma of tortillas still warming the house. yeah, there is a place in my heart for molly.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger PalmerGal said...

Oh gosh, the after dinner is the best part of a dinner party! Love hearing about your life on the island.

Have not read Molly's blog, but I will. She sounds like someone I'd like to know....

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Kate said...

Like others this post made me tear up a bit for some unknown reason. Food and good friends always an amazing combination.

You also made me think about what I had eaten for lunch. It was leftover from Easter dinner, we call it 5 Cup Salad in my family - I think the rest of the world refers to it as ambrosia I believe, but it is a cup each of marshmellows, coconut, mandarin oranges, pineapple and sour cream. So simple, but absolutely heavenly. And my grandma has always made it for me. Even now that she is 87 years old and in a retirement home with no kitchen she still makes it for me. Now, I could do it myself, but it will never quite taste as good as hers. I suppose this is definitely an after and really it always makes me feel loved.

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous The Picky Foodie said...

After my parents' divorce, my mother searched for the (next) "one" for years. When she finally found him, I was practically in college. He didn't like her kids or her life and he took her away to a new country, a new set of friends and a new reality that included as little of us as possible. By this time, I had moved out and saw them very sporadically -- the closeness my Mom and I had enjoyed throughout my young life had all but disappeared. Still, every once in a while, she and I would steal a dinner together. He would be out for the evening and my mother and I would go out and buy bread, cheese and bits and pieces to put together one of my "everything salads" as she calls them. (This was long before I found out about my gluten and dairy intolerances). We would spend a couple of hours in the kitchen chopping, roasting, heating, letting the bottle of wine breathe. Either she or I would set the table, always as festively as possible, and we would sit facing one another, pretending we did this all the time and fending off the impending sadness for as long as possible with one more piece of baguette or a last sip of wine before he returned with the violence of an electrical storm.
Last year, after sixteen years together, my mother finally saw the light. "I chose my family" she told me, in tears, after her guy moved out. I was in India at the time and immediately decided to cut my trip short to be with her. Our first meal together was like they'd always been: simple, festive, a celebration of being together. She had cheese, I had hummus, she had bread, I had gluten-free crackers. The salad was the same wonderful mixture of flavors and textures we had always made. This time, however, there was no threat of him returning to disturb our laughter, no sadness at the inevitable parting, and we took our time in finishing up the wine, milking every second.
"It's nice to be home" I told her before retiring to her guest room, "it's been a long time."
Over the next few weeks, as she helped me prepare for my wedding, we cooked together as we had not had the opportunity to do in close to two decades. Between courses, we talked, making up for all those years.
When she gets overemotional, she stops eating -- I'm the opposite. So I fed her, and she reminded me that I might not be hungry for food but rather a hug. And she was right, of course.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Kara said...

My sister and my nephew are allergic to gluten (among other things) and I LOVE cooking and baking for them. It gives me the opportunity to try new things, which ARE often better than the "wheat version." It connects me to them in a bigger way makes me more aware of the decisions that they make at each meal and I get to watch them just sit and enjoy without having to ask questions about the ingredients or do all the work of making it all themselves.

Thanks for your blog...I read it regularly and use the recipes all the time.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I'll always remember sitting at Grandma's kitchen counter watching her cook crepes and filling them with jelly - jellyrolls we liked to call them. I would eat them as fast as she could make them. Sitting there satisfied afterwards and knowing how much she loved me is something I'll never forget.

I just finished reading your book and I can't wait to try some of the recipes! Thanks!

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Morgana said...

I was in my early twenties and living for the "just before" moments when my first marriage collapsed. It left me slightly bitter and terrified and I forced myself to live in the moment for a while.
I turned to cooking to keep myself amused.
A friend asked me to bake a cherry pie for him to take to a Thanksgiving pot-luck. I had no other plans that day beyond a TV dinner and an old movie, so I whipped up a pie and took it over to their house. The hostess, another friend, found out I was alone for the holiday and immediately invited me in and told me to stay. I agreed, on the condition I was allowed to help.
She sends me to the store to pick up a forgotten item, and upon returning, I notice a new person sitting in the corner, trying hard not to be noticed.
We were introduced and I was fascinated by his eyes. He ignored me completely.
After dinner, I offered him a slice of pie and he took the first bite and said, "This is wonderful!" He began to talk to me. I can still remember how gentle and sweet his voice sounded that day.

We were married a year to that day.

And right now, I'm sitting with our second son in my lap--- living my life in that "moment after" when I can smile and think about how lucky I truly am.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger katherine said...

Though born and raised in Seattle, for the last three years I've lived in British Columbia's lower mainland, deep in dairy country. Before moving I didn't know a thing about cows, or food at all, really. I couldn't have described a broccoli plant to save my life.

While here, I've had the opportunity to become a part of a farming community, and discovered that nothing is as satisfying as working hard-- dirt under your fingernails, into the creases of your hands, your kneecaps-- and coming inside to prepare a meal together. Washing dirty beets you pulled up that afternoon and braising them alongside kale and baby potatoes. Crunching into an unpolished gravenstein apple and grinning at each other, its juices running down your chin. Sitting quietly, because you are physically exhausted but satisfied, enjoying one another's presence. There is something about hard work, followed by a good meal, that is just so right. It rests well in my bones.

Even so, I have missed my home, and this blog has been one way I've managed to stay connected to the place from which I come. I talk to my mother about the recipes, comparing our alterations and planning meals we will cook together, later. This last Christmas I visited my family and had my first opportunity to plan a meal with my mother, start to finish, for twenty people. And you know, even though we didn't harvest most of the food ourselves (though I did bring anything that could cross the border), that quiet moment of satisfaction was still there! We were in my mother's kitchen-- my aunts and cousins and grandmother-- telling old stories from growing up and peeling potatoes and chopping apples and giggling over a burnt merengue. There in the kitchen I saw my community was bigger, and smaller, than I realized.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Debbie said...

I have a copy of Molly's book on hold at the library. And I've been waiting....and waiting....and waiting. I think I am number 143 or sumthin like that. But sounds as if it's worth the wait. I did not know the connection between you and Molly. It will be even more enjoyable reading now that I know that.

When I am cooking for someone I love my favorite dish to make used to be Ruth Eichle's Pork and Tomatillo stew. I haven't made it though since I was diagnosed with Celiac five years ago. I am not sure yet what I could sub for the dark perhaps or some awful gluten free beer I guess. Or I could just make it for those I love and watch them enjoy that and eat something I enjoy as well.

I had a party for about 18 friends over the weekend and made my famous chocolate cake that is to die for. It is supposedly served at the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. I doctor it a little but still use flour. I can't have any. I get immense pleasure just watching everyone enjoy it. That is what food and cooking is about for me. Showing my love and affection for someone through food.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Shayla said...

I found your blog through Orangette. She's another great story teller- yes! more food lit- and her chickpea salad is delicious too. Easy, filling, satisfying. Hmmm... haven't had it in awhile. Time to make it again now that I have decent olive oil.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous laura said...

I love the moments before and after. I always over-imagine a party beforehand and after I linger with the dishes, burned down candles, a million books on the table because I kept having to go get another to show someone something they "have to read right now", but it's being in the moment I have a difficult time with. I remind myself to be present over and over. I hope to grow into it soon.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger EB said...

Food is how my family expresses affection, so I have many memories of it bringing people together. From churning ice cream with my younger brothers on hot summer days to preparing an "all-grilled" Thanksgiving feast with my father just this year, food always helps bring us together.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Helen said...

A year ago my brother went for that DNA testing that looks at heritage, and was told that his DNA was Indian (mine too, of course, as we're siblings). You'd never say to look at us, we're as white as can be. However the news was not a complete shock to us as our gran was born in India - her father was in the British Army - and there was some mystery as to who her mom's mom was, as she died when my great-grandmother was very young. So either at that point, or a little further back, we have an Indian foremother. How exciting! We're both a little infatuated with all things Indian now... and especially the food. My brother are exchanging recipes and emailing each other about the delicious curries we're making. This evening I made a lentil sambar from a recipe he recommended and even though I ate alone, here on the tip of Africa, I felt a connection to my brother in another city, and to my unknown Indian ancestors whose genes I carry in my blood.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm beginning to see the just after moments. Sunday I gathered with 200 people to celebrate the life of a man taken from this earth to soon. At 43 he was giving, kind and had a spirit that couldn't be dampened.

It was a potluck and at the end of the service I walked over to the buffet to survey what was left. There wasn't much; a few slices of coconut cream pie and a few twice baked potatoes. Friends and strangers stood around talking about the Dan they knew, their bellies full of great food and memories. I gathered up the dish I'd brought, covered in the butter soaked crumbs of phyllo dough, and took a last look around.

Fresh wildflowers on the stage, Dan's famous Bongo drums, black and white photos hung on the walls from 43 years of living and stacks of plates scraped clean by hungry mourners. Certainly a celebration of life.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Vincci said...

I went to visit my boyfriend in Montreal after we'd been apart for five months because I'd gone on exchange for my last semester at school. Leading up to the trip, I'd anticipated that it wouldn't go well... communication was tough being time zones apart and part of me viewed this trip as his "last chance" before I went back home and allowed myself to finally set roots down in my hometown.

We took the bus down to NYC two days after I arrived for a trip that we'd talked about for a year and for a grad school interview for him. He'd made sandwiches the night before - we ate one at the border and one while we were stopped in Albany. It wasn't a complicated sandwich - just turkey, mustard and cucumber on rye but I felt so lucky that I had a man who could feed me and it made me so happy.

Since that bus ride we had another set of ups and downs, but I ended up coming home more in love with him than I can ever remember.

PS - Molly *does* have a huge heart. I noted

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Erin said...

I adore Molly's blog, she is incredibly gifted.
My best friend moved to England five years ago around the time that I moved to NY. We were both excessively lonely in our new locations and both in new marriages. I don't know how it started, but we suddenly started talking about food, all the time and exchanging recipes. I don't think we've eaten something new in the last five years without telling the other. When I make one of her recipes it feels like I have my best friend there with my chopping herbs or peeling carrots and I miss her just a little bit less.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Jessie said...

This Easter, my mom invited both sides of the family over to my parents' house for lunch. For some reason, she decided to tell them to arrive at 11 am. Needless to say, at 10:30 am we were madly pushing cubes of lamb meat onto kebabs, heating up the GF pita bread (a new favorite recipe! it was definitely a success) we had made the day before, etc. The event itself was equally crazy, with keeping my little cousins occupied with an egg hunt and egg decorating, while trying to fit in some adult conversation, too. But by mid-afternoon everyone had left and as we sprawled out on the sofas in exhaustion my mom, sister and I looked at each other and knew that it had all been worth it...everyone had had a great time and enjoyed good food. What a wonderful feeling.

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Taryn said...

There are so many great "just after" moments running through my mind thanks to your fabulous post.

The memories that are occupying my mind right now are the nights when my best friend and I use to save up the money from our paycheques and go eat at the fanciest restaurants in town...

We both certainly eat with our eyes, as we typically order enough food to feed a group of six. Subsequently we often fall into food coma's so deep, and so powerful that bits and parts of the evening become fuzzy, or at times completely indecipherable. Our slightly smeared make-up and aching muscles acting as the only evidence of our boisterous belly-laughs.

This summer I am finally back 'home', one of my many homes I suppose. Home isn't so much a place as it is being in the presence of people you love, right?

Just as soon as the snow melts, I will be ankle-deep in my garden, planning meals and concocting sangria with my bestie once more!

I would really love to own Molly's book! Pick me, pretty please! I won't allow myself to purchase any books until I pay for my fall tuition, blargh.

I am particularly fond of her blog due to the random inclusions of the french language. I am quite attached to the idea of living in France once I finish my degree, attached isn't the right word, determined is more like it! And of course, I am horribly envious of Molly for living the dream.

I will not be able to indulge in pain au chocolat (my only resentment towards CD) when I travel. However, reading Molly's multitude of "just after" moments in France satisfies my cravings for croissant and leaves me with a silly grin.

As a reader of both of your blogs, I would say that you are both extremely fortunate to call each other friend. I must extend thanks to you both for inspiring me to write, eat well (very-well), and most importantly, cherish the friends who call me on my shit.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous angela@SpinachTiger said...

I just posted about our favorite food we ate in Italy. The moment we wanted to last the longest was the homecooked meal my cousin made for us in the village of Isnello. Eggplant two ways, veal, bread, cookies, wine. I often stare at my (not too great) pictures and want to be back in Sicily.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger gfe--gluten free easily said...

When I met my husband we both worked in a restaurant. He had grauduated from college in December during another economic downturn and there were very few jobs, certainly not one in his field. So he took a job as a waiter at a chain restaurant ... one where I happened to be a waitress working my way through college. There were no other waiters. He had to convince the owner to hire him and he did so by saying he could work to closing (1:30 am) and provide extra "security" as a male. Somehow one evening at work in casual conversation I mentioned that I was eating fried chicken livers for dinner. He exclaimed that he loved chiken livers. So, I impulsively asked him over for dinner. We had not even gone out yet, but he said he'd love to, but he had to to work until 1:30. I told him that was okay. He arrived shortly thereafter and we shared a candelit dinner of fried chicken livers, and a vegetable medley over rice. Of course, we started dating after that. He still tells people about the first time I cooked dinner for him. And, I still occasionally fix fried chicken livers ... just gluten free now. ;-)

I do follow Molly's blog, but it's so nice to hear your lovely description of her. :-) Often really good friends can describe us better than we can describe ourselves. I'd love to have her new book.


At 4:31 PM, Blogger Jennywenny said...

What a lovely story. I cherish my memories of christmas in australia with my family, together for the first time in 3 years. I cooked for them a lot and the proudness I felt after making a delicious meal that they really enjoyed was immense. They were a bit rushed at times, passing the baby around laps, but you cant complain about such a lovely little bundle of joy!

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great post! A quick question about the recipe. I don't see where the butter reappears after melting and cooling. I'm guessing in the wet ingredients??? Left to my own devices, I'd probably just drink it, so your input is definitely needed here. Thanks!

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My "just after" moment harkens back to stolen moments with my now-husband in our early days - any chance we got we'd buy a slab (kg?) of President's Choice milk chocolate (Canadian brand of choice)and melt it down slowly, lingering over each dunked piece of strawberry, pineapple, cherry or finger. It tasted better yet when we were cat-sitting for a friend and our feline friends were hanging around on our laps, placidly taking in our chocolate indulgences with a certain tolerance known to cats alone. The human version of catnip, to be sure.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find myself eating alone most of the time. It's fine, don't get me wrong, but the feeling of community and friendship after a shared meal isn't so much a part of my life right now.

Instead I try, more often than not, to take the time to really cook. For myself. There's no one to impress, but sometimes a gesture of love made toward one's self - there's gotta be a better way to say that - creates a different sense of completion.

I had a just after moment about a week ago. I got home late after a long ay, overwhelmed by the urge for country fried steak and gravy. Cream gravy, full of pepper. I meade it, ate it, and it was glorious. Afterward, gravy coming out of my pores, I sat feeling thankful for the gift I'd just given myself. It was a new feeling - I'm typically not so generous - and it felt good, warm, to sit with it, content.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Oooo, another giveaway!?!? I would love to read Molly's book, which I haven't, yet. A memory about sharing food with someone I love.... a few days after meeting the man I would later marry, we shared a gluten free meal which we cooked together of corn cakes piled high with a homemade sauce and sauteed vegetables with a green salad. I distinctly remember my amazement, delight and gratitude at the fact that this person really enjoyed the food we ate, stating that repeatedly throughout the meal, and didn't even comment on a lack of gluten or meat. We both talk of that day often and have very fond memories of that summer we shared, living in my quirky apartment and cooking delicious meals together.

Thanks for another lovely post!

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Kim said...

My sister and I are very close although for over 24 years we have never lived closer than 500 miles and at one point we were separated by an ocean. When she comes to visit we have to go to her favorite restaurants. We have wonderful “just after” memories of some great meals and feeling like we should roll each other out to the car. More recently our “just after” moments have changed. Over the past 2 years she experienced numerous health problems. By sheer luck I found this website. I have a friend who has a son with Celiac Disease so I started reading to learn more about it. To my surprise it was like reading about my sister. I made her look at the site, she stopped eating gluten and her life changed for the better. Thank you, Shauna! So now we have “just after” moments when she calls after eating good GF pizza for the first time or trying a new GF bakery and having a cookie or a warm crusty roll again. I love those moments!

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Sho said...

Mom and Turnips!

Mom always said that when her time was up, she wanted to pass in her sleep. Mom died two years ago, in her sleep, at the age of 79. Just two days before, she was pumping gas, driving, dining out, and playing cards with her friends.

Mom made her pound cake and pot roast well. And no one else I ever met could roast a duck and get all the fat out! But when I think of Mom, I think of the food she hated most: TURNIPS!

Mom liked every food on this Earth, every food except for turnips! Mom would eat anything, and she always found something good about it. Mom never returned anything in a restaurant. But those turnips would never pass her lips more than once.

The story Mom always told me was that she went to a dinner party with her father when she was a little girl. Mom did not want to eat the turnips because she did not like the looks and smell of them. She begged her father to skip the turnips, but my grandfather told Mom, "Pat, it is polite to eat everything that a host makes for you." So Mom gave the turnips a try.

My Mom threw up in the middle of that night, and she never ate turnips again for the rest of her life. Every time I go to the farmer's market, and I see the turnips, I think of my Mom.

Shauna, thanks for suggesting this writing topic and giving me the chance to write about my Mom. I don't really like writing unless it has a purpose.


At 7:32 PM, Blogger Angielala said...

I am making memories every week with my 3 year old niece. Our "just after" occurs when we're the last 2 eating (I eat at her speed, to keep her company), and we just sit and giggle with each other, passing food back and forth, teaching her to blow bubbles in her drink with a straw, etc. We always spend a few minutes goofing off while everyone clears the table away, and I wouldn't trade these moments with her for anything.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger calamityjane(t) said...

favorite meal ever: my birthday dinner the first year we were living in our "new" old house, the house I'd wanted for 25 years. daughter's serious boyfriend joined us and we sat and talked over wine for hours, laughing. it felt sooo comfortable. the next month her asked her to marry him. three grandchildren later we are all still loving our meals together!

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) said...

Your writing paints beautiful pictures and that recipe is my next to try.

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Julie said...

I have this book beside my bed. I'm rationing it. I don't want it to be over. It makes me happy, the way reading Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking and More Home Cooking make me happy.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Tapia said...

Our story is old and newish. Lifetimes ago I'd come "into town" in my Volkswagen campervan from my random off-the-grid "homes" hoping for a chance to spend the night with the delicious man I now call mine. In part, because he's gorgeous and my favorite conversational partner, but partly because he makes the best tofu dinners and hashbrown breakfasts in all of Alaska (and he had a running-water shower!). Nowadays, our food connects us even more as he nourishes me through greuling days of double-majoring and rehab-ing. I've spent the last three+ weeks on our couch recovering from knee surgery and being served all the love and good cookin' I could ever want. The man brings me doppios in the shower...could life get any sweeter? Yes, it can! He's adapted all our meals to my allergies and lavished upon me more beautiful meals than I can count. I am so blessed.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Banannas said...

It's that crinkly-zappy feeling down your back and the smile that has crept onto your face without you knowing it.

That's exactly what happened after my best friend Lauren tasted a bit of the cherry pie that I had made and looked at me, then scooped up an entire piece of that pie onto a plate.

She used to avoid cherry pies like kryptonite. "You should see yourself grinning," she says. We both stood there, sharing the moment after with each other, she licking her fork and me grinning away.

I feel the same little crinkles whenever I read a certain recipe and that person's experience making it.

Your blog certainly zaps me in that way. Thank you.

At 5:06 AM, Anonymous Rachel said...

I love that bananna bread. I have made it multiple times. My husband is a bananna bread purist - he wants his plain, no nuts - nothing. I have to say I really like him so I usually make the bread plain.
The just after
I am loving the moment in the evening when everyone has been fed, the kitchen has been cleaned and you know there are leftovers for lunch the next day. :)

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous beyond said...

i like moments after. moments after happy and satiated guests leave. my husband and i curl up on the sofa and we both know that we like being together best.

At 7:05 AM, Blogger GF Gidget said...

I have a beautiful memory from an awful time. It was about a week after my diagnosis. I had also been taken off all dairy, just to be safe. I was painfully thin, frail, and lethargic. My body and personality had wasted away to nothing. My fiance moved his entire life to PA to take care of me and nourish me back to health. Now, as amazing as this man is at so many things, cooking is not one of them. He loathes cooking! (This information in necessary to fully grasp the importance of the rest of this story.) One day I returned home from work to find him wearing his Disney Ratatouille apron and a disgruntled look on his face. My dear, sweet man had spent all day converting one of my Lasagna recipes to be both gluten and dairy free! He said he spent hours in the local health food store grilling the employees on how to use Tofu as a Ricotta Cheese substitute. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he used Tofu! I just sat down at the kitchen table and cried.... then I ate and ate and ate. He spent his entire day doing something he loathed just to feed me. It ended up being much more than that. He nourished my body, soul, and spirit that day in so many ways. We have now been married a year and a half. He still occasionally cooks for me. But, I will never forget that cold day in PA when his cooking really and truly FED me.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger jbeach said...

I feel a bit tingly remembering the filling, pressing, and sealing of Korean dumplings (yakimandu) with my mom in our sunny Pennsylvania kitchen. She and I have had a very tumultuous relationship, but on this one shining day she related her recipe to me and I meticulously copied down notes, drawing the Korean characters as I'd just learned them in my college class. I daresay she was actually proud of me in that moment and I distinctly remembering basking in that feeling just after the last dumpling was sealed.

I loved this post. I can't remember anymore if I started reading yours or Molly's blog first, but they've both so enriched my life. Thank you!

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Jen said...

As always, a beautiful post. Molly seems a gracious, delightful, candid and giving person. I shyly contacted her for a pre-pub copy of her book (for my blog) and she replied immediately. I received a copy days later and have been devouring it bit-by-bit ever since. I’ve been holding off on writing my impressions about her book because I’m taking my time, relishing each word. Her writing has this effect. I want it to linger like a precious meal. Luckily, there are recipes that will keep the pages turning long after I’ve read all of her tales.

I’m not here for the giveaway, but would like to share too  My “just after” moment is doing the dishes. I like the act of rinsing away the remains of another meal accomplished. Cleansing plates I’ve collected over the years that have held meals as well as memories. I am soothed by the sounds of running water, conversational hums, clickity-clank of table clearing and food being stored away for another round. When younger, I helped my mom clean the kitchen and dishes after each meal. We formed a cleaning camaraderie that has stuck with me since those days. Perhaps that’s the calm and comfort I address with each pot scrubbing or dish scrape.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger AW said...

What a lovely post. I'm a new reader, but you've made me jealous that you know Molly and I don't.

LOVE me some "nana bed", as my toddler calls it. Gonna have to try this!

At 8:21 AM, Anonymous char said...

OMG what a great idea!! This one time, it was right after everyone was done eating Thanksgiving dinner, at the kids table we started doing this game where we would fling a wine cork into a empty wine glass with a fork, like a cattapult, sort of. We'd put the cork on the end of hte handle and then whap down on the fork end and try to get it into the wine glass. We were all taking turns, all nice and everything. Then we started making up rules and stuff, and we got more wine glasses to aim at because it was hard to get it into just one, and then we started doing a tournament and it got real competative, like with shouting and threats of death and stuff, AND THEN I WON!!! OMG, then my sister got really really mad at me and threw a fork at me and I ducked but it still got me in the ear a little bit (not that bad, no stitches or anything) but she got grounded for a MONTH. But she snuck out to see her boyfriend every weekend and I should have told but I didn't because she had some stuff on me that I didn't want to get out, so whatever. But that was the best fork the cork game EVER. OMG.


At 9:32 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Thank you for this post. It made me smile this morning and remember when the kids were little. My babies are 18 and 11 now and this morning driving me up the wall until I read your post about listening to Little Bean breathing on the baby monitor. They grow so quickly and it made remember when.
We had family and friends over for Easter and my first love is cooking for those that I love and that love me. Dinner was wonderful but it was the after that made this special. 12 people jammed around the kitchen table that is meant to seat 8 playing Apples to Apples. Everybody laughing and having fun. To feel that warmth around our kitchen table was so special. And then the after after -when everybody had gone and it was just my husband and I rehashing the evening as we do after every get together and having one more giggle or laugh before drifting off to sleep warm with great memories.
I would love to have Molly's book for making more memories around our kitchen table.

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Shauna said...

Every time I open up the computer I find these gorgeous stories. I'm telling you, you folks are making me well up with tears. I think I'd read an entire book of these stories. Keep them coming. (I'll announce the book winner, chosen by random number, by Friday.

And for the person who asked about the butter? Don't drink it! Add it into the liquids, the same way I'm going to add it into the recipe. (thanks for catching that.)

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

Every year just before Easter I pull out my mother's recipe for hot cross buns and stack all the ingredients on the counter. Every year at a certain stage in the recipe I start to weep. The smell of the dough invokes such strong memories of Mum that I can feel her in the kitchen working by my side as she did until she died twenty years ago. And every year I have to call my sister so we both can share the memories amid tears and laughter. The "just after" time when the buns were out of the oven cooling on the racks always meant that my daughters (her beloved granddaughters) would magically show up drawn by aromas they swore they could detect miles away. Or maybe Mum patted them on the shoulder and said "It's hot cross bun time."

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know just what you mean! That's my favorite part too. Sitting in the candle light, picking off finished plates, finishing the wine, and talking and talking. Everyone glows.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Christine said...

When my grandma passed away six years ago, and so did a lot of ethnic family recipes. But this past Christmas, I stumbled across her written recipe for Italian bizcochos in an old box. I made them for my dad and they were quite honestly his favorite Christmas gift. It was awesome to see him so touched, and to have such a delicious reminder of my grandma

At 4:56 PM, Blogger alyce said...

I met my husband of nearly 10 years on the Internet in 1997. Took him home to the Bay Area so that everyone could meet him and know that my move to NYC wasn't as odd as it sounded.

Dinner on the patio with my aunt and uncle - they who taught me about food and jazz and bourbon - ended with butterscotch pudding ordered to go from The Lark Creek Inn (

When I offered the last bite or two of my pudding to JB, my aunt proclaimed it true love. We take that pudding seriously. Thank heaven for the recipe; we will celebrate our anniversary with a double batch come this May 1.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

There is a man in my life. Back when he was newer than he is now, on one of our first dates, we had dinner. Dark pub, dark beer, mussels and frites and sausages with mashed potatoes. We could not stop talking, and we could not stop holding hands. The pot of mussels, gorgeous with fresh thyme and a hint of cream, remained largely untouched at the end of the night. They require two hands to eat. I am not a girl who will easily leave the mussels uneaten, but on that night I did. My hand did not want to release its grasp. The just-after was (is) so lovely.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger M said...

Thank you for the lovely post Shauna!

My story is about my mother (as so many stories are), who passed away a few years ago. She didn't really love cooking, but when I was younger, she would always made me a birthday cake. It was the type of cake that was a little too sweet, made with a mix and canned frosting. I can't decide if my favorite part was the singing and blowing out the candles or the just after, when I'd get to choose my slice and eat my cake.

When I bake now I always think of my mother, and the cakes she made for me.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Taylor said...

Goodness, I don't ever think I've stopped to enjoy the moments before! I'm usually running the vacuum, trying to find some makeup, and keeping the food from overcooking in those final minutes before my guests arrive.

But since I was a little girl, and now as a 25-year-old, I savor the moments after. As a child, I would watch my parents and their friends begin to linger over their coffee cups, and I would wonder what they were laughing about as I was sent to bed. Now, I can linger with my friends until the wee hours of the morning, and I finally know what they were laughing over!

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Lindsay said...

Mine involves banana bread too. One of my closest friends is spending 4 months in Africa, and I miss her soooo much. I was so happy to share when she emailed me asking for my banana bread recipe. It was a great feeling to know that I could send her a little taste of home in the middle of all the strange, new and exciting things she was experiencing. It was like reaching out and giving her a hug!

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous kyndale said...

I was working at a fish market on Cape Cod when I met my husband. His aunt had convinced him to go to the fish market and meet me. We are both very shy.

He then came in several times for our homemade popsicles. The moment after his third popsicle trip, he got up the nerve to ask me out.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Cindy said...

Thank you for another beautifully written and thoughtful post.

Perfect timing on the banana bread recipe. My daughter has been asking me to make it, and I haven't found my cookbooks yet (just moved to Bellingham a couple of weeks ago).

Looking forward to reading Molly's book when I'm able to get a copy.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Nicole said...

When I went gluten-free, I thought I had forever lost some of my favorite foods. I also felt like my limited skills in the kitchen were further set back, like I was taking 10 steps back when I had been two ahead to begin with. Surprisingly, though, being gluten-free has been a blessing. I have been forced to learn how to cook, if I want to eat my favorite foods. There are times I feel cut off from those around me because of gluten, but it's more than made up for when loved ones go out of their way to make sure I can eat, safely and well. And they do. Perhaps most notable is my boyfriend. Unlike some friends, he didn't run from my new lifestyle. He knew how sick I had been, and when I decided to go gluten free, he decided to learn all he could about it. He wanted to cook for me, and with me. He wanted to cook for me, without me getting sick. That was over three years ago. Together, we've been learning how to cook, and we love feeding each other. We've grown together by cooking together. One way I know he loves me is his desire to feed me safely, and feed me well. The same is true with others in my life. There are many times where I have felt cut off from those around me because I couldn't share in their food; those times are more than made up for when those who love me go out of their way to make food I can eat. Long story short: a life-changing diet that could have separated me from many people has brought me much closer to the ones worth having in my life... and I wouldn't have it any other way. Food really has brought people together.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger kate said...

I feel so old fashioned when I say so, but GOD, I love feeding my husband. I love whirling around the kitchen, calling him in to dinner ("Are you hungry? Better come eat!"). I love sitting down next to him, feeling relief after having worked so intensely to get food on the table. That is my 'aaaah' moment.

But my favorite is that every dinner is followed by a "just after"- I believe in eating as an event, even if it is just a weekday dinner in front of the TV. I love when he takes a bite and says, "Mmmm. This is gooooood." Yesterday as we were eating red beans and rice, he turned to me and said that he loves this dish, my dish, more and more every time he eats it.

And after we eat, we both sit in silence for a few minutes, just absorbing whatever it is we have just eaten, occasionally rehashing what made this dish better or different (never worse) than the one before. He rises to do the dishes (God, what a great deal- I cook, he cleans- a match made in heaven...), while I rest, or run off to one of my night classes. That's the after that I love, the tiny ones, just the two of us, average, plain, simple, delightfully normal.

Now, the "party" just afters are great, too. I love the way the house smells after, with the windows and doors having been open all evening and the candle smoke still hanging in the air. I love seeing empty plates. I even love the process of gathering and piling up all the glassware on the counter next to the sink, the one occasion when my neatnick husband will let a dish sit unwashed overnight.

But if I had to choose, I'd pick the intimate 'just after'-s. They're the most meaningful.

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Natalie said...

This looks amazing! Thankyou for these GF versions of recipes that I have wanted to try, but haven't mastered the patience or skill to finess de-glutened recipes.
I love Molly's writing - she is one of those people whose writing will continue to draw me back to her blog even if I give up cooking entirely (although that's unlikely).

At 5:34 AM, Blogger CatherineMarie said...

Food has always connected me with the world... Before going gluten-free, I baked. I'd bake Christmas cookies and send them to two batches of family. I used food to connect with the men I dated, the men I loved... my best friend still talks about coming to visit me and the roast chicken I made for him...

When I was growing up in Egypt, I wanted to make a birthday cake for my mom. I used the Little House on the Prairie recipe, except I ran out of flour... and in Cairo, in those days, you couldn't just run out for more flour easily. So, inadvertently, I had my first lesson in low-gluten baking! It tasted good, even though it was more like a deep-friend pancake! (My mom had some, but I think the dog ended up with the rest!)

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made this recipe last night and it is SO GOOD!!! Can't wait to try the cookies. Shauna, you are the best. Once again, your missives bring me such joy on this dreary Austin day. Be well.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Oh, I would love to read Molly's book and create my own GF versions of her recipes!

The first meal I ever shared with my husband was at the sushi bar of the restaurant he owned at the time. That meal occurred more than 10 years ago, but it remains as clear for me as if it was yesterday. I can't possibly tell you what we ate, but I remember the fizz of the champagne in my glass, and that he made me laugh, and that the meal lasted three hours. But it was the "just after" when we shared a cab downtown and got caught in one of those unexpected summer downpours that wash the city clean, that we fell in love. He made the cab stop at the corner green market so he could buy me roses, and we walked the two blocks to my building surrounded by the smell of roses, and wet pavement, and summer night.

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Island? I live on Vashon so I had to ask. Grew up on family moved there a LONG time ago. I heard about Molly a month or so ago and have read her book, devoured her blogs and now she does feel like a you are totally lucky to REALLY have her as one. I only wish I had stumbled across her WAY sooner. I do not eat wheat or flour or sweeteners but I have found a lot of wonderful ideas for food on her blog and I imagine it will be the same with yours. Nice meeting you.

Charr (go by SwissCharrd sometimes and have gone by Charrdonnay too)

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Glorious Foodie said...

I ran home and baked this banana bread the night I read your post, and it was sublime! Thank you for continuing to inspire us GF cooks with tempting recipes that our gluten-eating friends can enjoy! My boyfriend and I were fighting over the last crumbs :) Now I NEED to try those chocolate chip cookies.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Arianne said...

For me and two of my friends, meals are generally not that great. Our parents don't do much in terms of cooking, we don't have much time to cook ourselves between sports and homework and clubs, and dinner is just one more time we have to deal with our parents and try to avoid a fight.

So last summer, we cooked a few meals together, the three of us. The best of these was at Wanda's house. With a bit of help from her mom, we made heavenly calzones, and we were all laughing at how bad we are at cooking (which manifested itself in the rather abstract shapes of our calzones). We ate them on her front porch steps in the late July sun. After we were done, we stayed a minute holding our empty plates on our knees, just absorbing how great food and meals can be in good company. I felt so simply connected to them both, and for a rare moment, I was completely relaxed. It's an amazing feeling, the just after.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous alison mc said...

beautiful post

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Nicole McLaughlin said...

My husband and I met working at a restarurant together. He was a cook, and I a server. (he is now a gm). I had just ended a relationship with a guy that only ate chicken fingers....NO MATTER how fancy the restaurant was, oh and NO vegetables.

I remember Mike had me over one night for dinner. I was so excited. I remember him calling me from the grocery store to see what my favorite kind of salad dressing was. A SALAD!! I couldnt believe it! I actually caller my mother up..."he's making a salad!!". We were both excited! (I had been and lived with chicken finger guy for 3 years!!) When I arrived he had a candle light dinner set up in his living room on the smallest little dining table. It was beautifully set and even had champagne!! He brought out a beautiful salad...(with my favorite dressing) and then brought out the main course. It was BEAUTIFUL!! A rice pilaf with marinated chicken tenderloins coated in a bbq sauce and large chunks of sauteed onions and green peppers. Covered with a gooey cheese. Even large crusty garlic bread. Pure, loving comfort food. He took the liberty to inform me that he made it a little spicy!! "no problem!" I thought!! Well......lets just say that it was so hot I thought i would die!! We both sort of laughed about how insanely hot it was. I downed 3 glasses of water and all my champagne! It didn't' matter, it was the most wonderful moment, I KNEW we would be eating together for a lifetime. I sneaked into the bathroom to confirm it all to my mother! That was just about exactly 10 years (and 3 beautiful little boys) ago. Food is love, I know that to be true!

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Delia said...

To her I was Precious, to me she was Grandma at the Cabin. Cool summer mornings stoking the wood stove, stepping up onto the stool to see better in order to mix swedish pancakes from scratch and fry little pigs (sausage links). With love and care, she taught me that there is always enough food for one more person and to love everyone as if they were a part of the family.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous karen said...

Five years ago and two children less we would talk and connect in the kitchen of our teeny apartment making dinner. Then, after a delicious meal made together we would sit, sprawl, lay on the couch, limbs entwined and watch the Red Sox. Bellies full and such happiness. Thank you!

At 6:54 AM, Blogger asiajane said...

I just finished the last square of banana bread; I made it Friday and it did not last long in my house! My husband adored it. One thing I will say, though-- the bread takes quite a bit longer than 40-50 minutes. I baked mine for about 70, and at 50 minutes tented it with foil so the top wouldn't brown too much.

At 3:34 AM, Anonymous Jennifer K said...

I had just put this book on my birthday wish list when I came here and saw your review. I'm looking forward to reading this book - nearly all of my childhood memories revolve around a special recipe or food of some sort. At the dinner table my dad would always tell a story that was inspired by something we had eaten - the time his uncle and he had stolen half of the chocolate cake his aunt had made was a favorite story of mine.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger jenn said...

my friend's friend recently graduated from pescatarian, to chicken eater. and in an attempt to learn about how to cook chicken, hosts a bi-weekly chicken night. we gather, divvy up the cooking tasks, and learn a little bit more about cooking a bird each time. some things are hits and some are minor misses, but in the process, i have found another group of women (in my increasingly men-filled life) to share space with. and food with. and recipes with.

it's a most magical event, cooking with other people who love food. you do this dance. tasting each others' stuff as you sidle by in the cramped, urban kitchen. talking about what to make before hand. tweaking dishes. putting it all together. the wine poured. the food plated. the digging in after too many hours in the kitchen and so much hunger...

we joke. we talk. we ooh and ahh over the food. and we taste. deeply. because we are people who get food. who care about it. and in turn, we have found a special little construct, chicken night, to come together and revel in it.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Kasey said...

What a lovely, lovely post. I had the pleasure of attending Molly's book signing in San Francisco this past weekend--she really is someone you want to get to know (and feel like you do from reading her blog). I just finished the chapter in her book that discusses this banana bread and am very much looking forward to making it.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger ms. tea said...

wow! you and molly are my two favorite food bloggers so this entry was a treat! I haven't been able to purchase molly's book yet so I would love to win it.

my "just after" story was not of any one meal but of nearly every meal i cooked with my travel buddy when we were studying abroad in London. sometimes other friends in our program would join, sometimes it was just the two of us. the process was always something like this:

we would load our pullman suitcases onto the bus that would drive us the 20 minutes from our university to the grocery store. together we would wander around Asda for hours trying to balance our cart with things that were familiar and already knew how to cook and things that were new, exciting, adventurous to two very young women from southern california. from shopping cart to zipped up into our pullmans, our load would get hoisted onto the bus again, and we would get home and get to work.

we would bond through the whole process, often screwing up terribly and resorting to our old faithful of Swedish pancakes with lemon and sugar. the best times were always the "just afters" when none of my other flat mates were home. there were always a few decks of cards on the table and an impromptu match of nertz would begin lasting into the wee hours, fueled by gallons of tea and hundreds of digestive biscuits!

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished cooling the gorgeous banana bread... oh dear. I've fallen in love, with a loaf. One that loves me back, all thanks to you.

The first 'cake' that I made gluten-free was banana bread. To this day I am not so sure what went wrong. I swear I cooked it for hours on end and the darn thing was still goopy in the middle.

After having a good long cry, I cut up the loaf and ate around the raw bits. This was of course a testament to my love of banana bread, as well as my stubborn ways. No matter the state I am in, whether it to be post-op or just a nasty battle with spring pollen, I just love to cook admits my delirium. Ha ha ha!

Thank goodness I am not in that situation anymore. This loaf is a dream come true!

Shauna, thank you! And of course, thanks to Molly too! Wonder women!

At 7:11 PM, Blogger tara daley said...

though i had to go to three different stores to get all of the flours i needed, this banana bread is amazing. i just got home from being at college all semester and it's so great to have this bread be the first thing i cooked... it's AMAZING

At 9:56 AM, Blogger SKIP TO MALOU said...

I had a great conversation with my father over the phone today and I realized that I haven’t had that kind of talk with him in a long time. Due to the time difference (16 hours to be exact) I rarely could get him on the phone. He’s always at work, yes even at 77 he refuses to slow down, and you would always find him in his law office always working on a case… and if you're lucky you would catch him whistling along to the tunes of Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, or his favorite song, “What a Wonderful World” Lesson number 1 my Papa taught me: Do something that you really love, and you won’t quit doing it.

He was excited to tell me that he was orchestrating a surprise party for my oldest brother, Fr. Gerry, who is celebrating his 21st year in the priesthood. “But wait" he tells me, "guess what the other celebration is all about". “What?” I asked him and he said: “let’s see if you still know your father”, Oh no, please Papa don't do this to me! I silently mumbled. Think Malou, Think hard or else: "Oh is it your investiture as a Knight when you received the Papal Award years ago?" I inquired. At this point, I heard a burst of laughter and he said, “You still know your father, Hija!” Judging from his laughter, I made my Papa happy and I heaped a sigh of relief, and deep inside I wished that I could have been there with them to celebrate. Lesson number 2 my Papa taught me: Celebrate life’s happy occasions!

With Christmas around the corner, I cannot help but think about the “traditions” we had with my father. And of course, in retrospect, I would think about food… FOOD TRADITIONS! For him Christmas is not complete without apples and grapes (we don’t grow them in the Philippines so it was expensive back in the days) or ham and chorizos. And oh, his stuffed chicken. My Papa, would make his “special” stuffed chicken. “Make sure it’s the Jumbo chicken” he would specify when my mom goes out to buy the bird. It’s special because he makes it himself (in the Philippines, you have an army of helpers, so it’s rare to see the men of the family in the kitchen). He used to make just 2, one for our family and one for the Archbishop. Then, when I got married, he made 3, to be given to my in-laws… I think now he makes 6. But in the process of making it, everybody is involved- deboning the chicken, buying the ingredients, etc. And he would ask me (when I was still there) or my mom to “style” the food that would proudly say: I MADE THIS ESPECIALLY FOR YOU!!! Lesson number 3 my Papa taught me: Gifts are special when it’s from the heart and created by your hands!

As I was typing this post, I got a call from my sister, I was flabbergasted when I heard: “I decided to continue Papa’s tradition this year!” she happily announced. "Hey I'm writing about that today", I said. Apparently she's been thinking of what to give her partner in her clinic. "Well I will let Ben make it" she goes further. (Yes her hubby is the one who cooks in the family, one lucky wife she is huh!) Ben is a terrific cook and he is meticulous enough in following directions, so I think he will do justice to my father's specialty. My butchering skills are not good enough yet for me to completely debone a chicken but in my attempt to continue Papa’s tradition, I am going to do my spin on traditional meatloaf. You might think there is a weak connection between my Papa’s traditional stuffed chicken to my meatloaf but let me tell you, the chicken is stuffed with the same ingredients as meatloaf... well almost. So I called my recipe, Meatloaf with an Asian Twist…

While baking it, the aroma from the kitchen flowed out into the living room and I heard one of my kids ask, “Hmmm…Mom, what are you cooking?” I knew it was from the aroma from the bacon blending with all the flavors. Slowly, they all came to the kitchen table… my son asked again “is it dinner yet mom?” I smiled and I thought maybe just maybe, my kids will appreciate the lessons I teach them, just as how I appreciate the lessons I learned from my Papa.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Marianne said...

Good banana bread but I changed out the teff for Pamela's Baking recipe. I just do not like the taste of the teff. After several trys I found it too strong and too brown. My husband really likes this recipe and it is great with his coffee in the morning instead of his now banned english muffin. Thank you for working this recipe out.

At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Faye said...

It's funny, because for me I barely remember the times when I was young, dwelling in the before moments. For me that only began happening later in high school, when I was old enough plan out extravagant events an dream big. Though I guess I'd saying coming to college had to have been one of the biggest letdowns of my life.

But its not all that bad. Just enjoy the moment I keep telling myself.

Since I was young though, I realized the importance of remembering and savoring those good times. No matter what was going on or how badly my day was going, I could remember happier moments, laughing until I cried, stomach clenching so hard it hurt. Beautiful golden light streaming through windows and alighting my walls. The taste of good food lingering in my mouth hours after a meal. A taste of a good moment to remind me of better things on their way.

Because no matter if you're a hyped on the anticipation of before, relishing the immediate sensations of now, or lingering in the memories of after; good times will always follow the bad times and vice versa.

I doubt I'll be winning any books lately (really? One year after this post? What were you thinking Faye?) But I couldn't help but feel the urge to share my story.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Your recipe is in the oven... my first time! I can't wait to try it. But I am wondering why all the GF recipes I find use multiple flours? How do you know what flour does what?

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Ellie White-Stevens said...

Just made a quadruple batch of this banana bread. And it is the best one I've ever made. And I've made many a loaf. Since we switched to gluten/wheat free baking, I've felt a little disjointed. Xanthan gum felt too foreign for me to attempt for the longest time. And all the odd flours I'd never seen before.

It used to be that baking was how I destressed. It's so specific and effective. Put this much in and taste that at the end. Going gluten free stopped my baking for months. And I didn't feel like myself. Your site has helped me get back to me. Thanks for talking me back into baking. And for the tremendously delish recipes.


At 7:33 PM, Blogger ChickiePea said...

I made this today with lots of modifications for our diet, but it still turned out better than expected. I could taste the tapioca a bit too much for my liking, but I'm sure if I had used the ginger that would have been covered up. My girls (9 and 2) gobbled it up and my husband said he could finish off the entire loaf.

Thanks so much!

At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Merideth! said...

Please, just let me say this: your chocolate chip banana bread is the best banana bread ever, ever, ever. My children devoured it in one day, and are begging for more. They have never really like the regular old stuff, but this stuff truly rocks.

I hear people lamenting how awful it is to be living a gluten-free lifestyle, no good food, etc. Clearly, they haven't found your website. No deprivation here! Thank you for that.


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