27 June 2012

Culinary Literature: It's summer, and the reading's delicious

Wouldn't you just love to?

In the spring, I anticipated an extraordinarily luxurious summer break...over thirteen weeks of uninterrupted relaxation in the sun.  I envisioned those 94 lazy days to be full of cooking, gardening, painting, golfing, and running.  I would probably squeeze in a shower now and then, build a fire in the pit on chilly nights and toast marshmallows, go camping with David and the dogs in Wisconsin, and drink an occasional mojito in the garden.  I also planned to read...a lot.  I compiled long list of dreamy culinary memoirs and food books that I wanted to read over vacation, and I could hardly wait to begin!

21 June 2012

Thursday Night Out

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
                                                - Douglas Adams, Writer (English)
Sidewalk café on Marion Street in Oak Park

Oak Park is a pretty cosmopolitan little village (most recently voted "Best Chicago Suburb" by Chicago Reader!) that offers loads of cool festivals, cultural offerings, wonderful restaurants, etc. for our proudly diverse population to enjoy.  What is terrific about being a part of all that (besides the secret handshake and the knowing wink and smile we Oak Parkers give one another as we pass on the street) is the sense of harmony and unity one gets when participating in these community events.  We refer to that feeling as "Oak Park-y", which describes a verrry special and unique wholeness, understood and appreciated only by Oak Parkers.

16 June 2012

Vegetable Gardens

My dad and his prized cabbages in the Krasuski family garden, c. 1974

I often wonder why people don’t plant vegetables when given the opportunity.  For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is to cultivate a garden. Growing food is seriously the coolest thing!  I know that this is currently in vogue - blah local, blah organic, blah -  reasons both important and correct, true; but being a stubborn pessimist concerning contemporary ‘trends’, I barely pay attention to these.  Growing some of my own food connects me to my roots (no pun intended).

12 June 2012

Buttery Memories

Nothing beats brioche.

I love a good brioche.  When I was in Paris, my hostess Mme Bastié used to buy this packaged brioche (brioche tranchée nature) from Monoprix (the supermarché extraordinaire) for my breakfast.  It was bright yellow, buttery and eggy, and so soft that I could squish very generous amounts into my mouth at once.  I ate it every morning spread thickly with this unbelievably tasty, crunchy, sea-salted butter. 

09 June 2012

At the Farmer's Market

Who can resist?

Every Saturday, May through October, Oak Park hosts a grand Farmer's Market.  I usually go a handful of times a year, until our garden is ready; after that, I am so disgusted by the prices at the Market that I never want to see a fresh potato again ($3.00 for three teeny, tiny beets that aren't even organic?  Crazy!) But the funny thing is, the locals can't get enough- they are glassy-eyed and practically drooling as they line up, juggling babies, fresh doughnuts, and fistfuls of dollars to spend outrageous amounts of money on anything grown in Michigan.  Ah, well.  The stuff is usually quite good, anyway.

03 June 2012

La Cave

St. Marcelin ripening in my basement.

David is making St. Marcelin, an oozy, delicious, creamy cow's milk cheese from France.  Although since the milk, the cheesemaker, and the cheese are in Illinois, it is probably more correct to say "in the style of St. Marcelin".