I remember when Scarlett was real little. I was killing some time one afternoon after a Gymboree class and got to talking to another mom. Her one daughter was nearly Scarlett's age but her older daughter was around 5. As I stared at the 5-year old impatiently waiting for her little sister to maneuver across a shallow balance beam I thought, "I wonder what it's like having such a big kid?" It felt like eons before Scarlett could ever be that age. I then asked the silliest question of her mom: "What's it like to have a such a big girl? It must be easier." She turned to me and, without missing a beat, said, "Bigger girl, bigger problems.
So here I am with a 6 year old and our challenges have certainly grown up. I can't believe I even bothered to worry about when to stop swaddling or how I was going to get her to do something other than pee in the toilet. Today's problems of periodic listening skills (This is the 100th time I've asked you to get into the shower.) or friendship alliances that leave her to the side seem more like the real deal. Or are they? Is this all going to be a cake walk in comparison to cyber bullying and the friendship chess match of teenage girls? I'm going to take a gamble and figure this stuff isn't as big and bad as it seems. Instead I'll try to consider them more "mini" problems.
If you celebrate Easter, this dessert is a family tradition that I look forward to indulging in all year. My mother and I are virtually cooking it together tomorrow as we both want one for our Easter celebrations. Sadly, we won't be together this year, but having this sweet cake (on this occassion I used ramekins to make mini cakes) on our menus will make us feel like we are. Even if you don't celebrate the holiday, you may want to try this dessert, especially if you like the idea of rice pudding and cheesecake having baby. This post was originally printed on April 5, 2012. Now I'll hand it over to myself….
The type of Easter that I cultivate for my daughter is not far from the kind of fan fare I experienced while growing up. There are a few things that have changed. For instance, Scarlett doesn't have an older brother who tells her he swears he just saw the Easter bunny leaving the yard via his red corvette. (Honestly, that was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the crazy shit he told me.) I love masterminding a massive egg hunt like my mother used to for us. I totally get into hiding eggs all over the main floor of our house and the more the better. However, there is one thing our holiday has been missing–my nana's grain pie.
A typical Italian Easter dessert, my father's mom passed this recipe to my mother and she has made it each year for Easter festivities big and small. My whole family enjoys it, but it would be a tough contest between my father and myself for who likes it more. In fact, the only other directions I received when my mom emailed me the grain pie recipe for this very post was "cook for 1 hour, then send all leftovers to Daddy!" I ate it all. Sorry, Daddy.
We're going through a really good food phase in our house. Esme has decided she loves mussels and squid and over a recent ramen lunch, Julian announced that he loved Korean flavours. But I'm scared to make too much of it. I do worry that the parenting Gods will smite you if you're too cocky, you know? Like whenever I stupidly say something about how rarely my kids get sick I know we're due for a month of pink eye and chest infections. This actually happened less than a month ago, no joke. Still, I'm cautiously delighted. You can go ahead and picture me whisper cheering (yey!).
But where my kids remain balky is over spice. Any sauce that isn't ketchup is suspect. Frankly, any mention of spice can turn them off of a perfectly good dinner. So, I'm trying out new words to stand in for spicy. What do you think of zesty? It worked well when I auditioned this new dinner with them a couple of weeks ago. The One-Pot Chicken with Red Beans and Rice has a mild spice of chili but I did not announce that when I brought it to the table. And you've never seen a dinner disappear so quickly. I was hoping to pack some in Esme's lunch the following day. Too bad — it was all gone!
I'm hoping I'm getting this one in under the wire. In other words, Winter better finally be over. I'd like to tuck away all my hearty recipes until next fall and start chatting chilled salads and skewers. So sayonara, soup. And buh-bye, chili. It's been real fun sharing the past few months of ice storms, polar vortexes and snow-past-my-bum but I've got a grill to see about a burger, um-kay.
Way before Sophie Dahl was runway famous, I used to sometimes find her drinking tea at the kitchen table of my friend Cass' Notting Hill home. I was intimidated by that insouciant cool that some girls just have. Plus, she was the wide-eyed Sophie from theBFG – the beloved book of all our childhoods.
Fast forward to her modelling days, and overnight, she became a sensation. From Richard Avedon to Tim Walker to Steven Meisel, she was photographed by all the greats and landed on the cover of Vogue six-times. The infamous Tom Ford for YSL Opium campaign, where Sophie appeared, stark naked and smooth as butter cream on larger-than-life billboards caused a scandal, and still remains one of the most talked about adverts of the last 50-years.
In 2003 Sophie launched her writing career with a beautifully illustrated novella, The Man with the Dancing Eyes. After this she bagan writing regularly for The Guardian,The Telegraph, Vogue and Bazaar.