sesame spackled advice

Bouchon For all the people who judge, who are quick with their advice, telling me how to live my life, or how they’d live theirs if they were me, I say this: as much as I want a laundry room with wallpaper to match, with watercolor paintings of clothes pins and corsets, with canisters labeled "Color Safe Bleach," I still spend my Sunday nights eating charcoal-grilled wings beside my tots, watching Sesame Street, shouting, "Who’s going to hop? How do you hop? Can you hop like Mr. Noodle?" I spend my Sunday night planning the week’s menus. Except I’ve never been one of those people who can assemble a grocery shopping list (organized the way the store is), because things in my house always go bad. Instead, I spend my time planning special meals and moments that most likely won’t happen the way I’d planned. And I’m okay with that.

With a wing in one hand, and a tater tot in the other, I read Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Cookbook, wanting so much to spend a day (with grocery shopping, prep work, and actual cook time) making something special for my specials.

"Oooh, wouldn’t it be fun if this week we had a picnic with the taters, where we set up a tent and flashlights, and you and I roasted homemade marshmallows? Oh, speaking of which… actually, speaking of nothing, I really want to make them Creme Brulee. I bet they’d love that. Who doesn’t love things built by torch light? By the way, would it be worth it to you if I made you lobster rolls, or would you prefer to just go out for them?" That’s my night. Reading cookbooks, drinking frozen drinks, singing Annie songs to Lucas and Abigail, and watching James Blunt sing "Beautiful" on Sesame Street (except all the words have been changed to be an ode to a triangle).

Then I sing a song about feet to the rhyme of "Jingle Balls," thinking about how tomorrow I’ll try Hot Yoga for the first time in my life (hey, there’s so a connection! You do yoga barefoot!)

When I’m upstairs alone with Lucas, changing his diaper before bed, I whisper to him, "Lucas, may I ask you a serious question?" He blinks. "Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to stop seeing other people." He smiles. "I just wonder if you know, since you’re so much closer to the beginning of life than I am… you know, magically those bigger life issues might still be with you… maybe they haven’t washed off you yet. Well, anyway, baby Lucas, can you tell me… what’s the most important thing in life?"

He smiles this enormous grin, all toothy, his chin pointy like mine. "Good bread," he says. "Good pan." And tears start to stream down my face. "Good bread?" I repeat. And he nods his head and smiles. Then I smile, and think. "Oh baby, just wait until you taste mama’s creme brulee."

A YEAR AGO: Sleepaway Camp For Adults
2 YEARS AGO: Handmaidens
3 YEARS AGO: Double Negatives
4 YEARS AGO: Pants on Fire
5 YEARS AGO: Chicken Egg Salad



  1. get ready for a workout! bikram yoga is amazing. the best full body workout i've come across.

  2. Can I be quick with my advice to the Judgy Judgersons? Eh, I'll keep it to myself.

    Thanks for the yoga mention – I just remembered I want to look into Thursday evening classes. I hope you enjoy Bikram … it's been on my "I've got to try it" list forever, but I've never gone.

  3. Hey, watch me tell you how to live your life vis a vis grocery shopping. Check out The dishes aren't super gourmet but they're based on fresh ingredients and they're usually quick enough to prepare that we don't opt for take-out instead. I've used it for three months and guess what, no rotting produce in my fridge. The organized grocery list is the bomb. I used to be the queen of gorgeous farmer's market veggies rotting in my produce drawers, believe me.

    I'm a cookbook reader too. You know whose cookbooks are fun to read? Alton Brown's. If you're science-oriented, anyway. And he has an unbelievable tater tot casserole recipe that he claims to make for his daughter….

  4. i love the babies. good bread really might be the key to world peace!

  5. your sunday evening sounds to me like a little slice of heaven to me.

  6. A little note about Bikram (from someone who's done it many times.) The first time you do it, you'll probably feel like you're about to die about fifteen to 20 minutes in. (If they have it at the actual, correct heat, many places keep it cooler than it should be – a full 105 degrees). And it's INTENSE. But I promise, if you make it past that first hump, it gets easier and I, personally, went BOUNCING out of the studio. I'd never had so much energy in my life as after Bikram.

  7. Thank you.
    You have NO idea how I feel like such a loser most days.

  8. Definitely with you on food and shared memories. There is a reason that so many cultures expresses their love through food, and that isn't always a bad thing.

  9. You will love bikram! I dont know how much yoga you have done in general, but you may want to start off with some regular vinyasa/power yoga just to get into it first. The heat and the difficulty of the poses might be a little overwhelming at first. Just make sure to drink a lot of water in the afternoon prior to your bikram class. It will keep you hydrated and prevent you from getting too lightheaded during the class. Good luck!

  10. Um.
    I actually have that wallpaper in my laundry room. The border, at least. It was there when we moved in and I found it too adorable to remove.

  11. I've quick judged you. Out of pure jealousy. You have impeccable taste and beautiful children.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.