Do we realize that when we agree to host Thanksgiving or prepare millions of potentially complicated dishes how stressful it can be? All we currently yearn for is a time to relax amongst the sandstorm that is known as Thanksgiving prep. Amidst this hurricane, what could be better or more seasonally appropriate than a pumpkin chocolate chip loaf. This loaf is overflowing with practicality in the sense that it’s a breeze to whip up, it feeds my pumpkin obsession/compulsion, you get two for the work of one, it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it gets better as it ages. Think of it as your sustenance. Moist, dense, chocolatey, pumpkiny sustenance. As you cut a piece(s) of this, you’ll find yourself taking the edge off. If you’ve been looking for a solid pumpkin bread recipe, this is your match.
Desserts lovers oppose each other. On one side of the boxing ring, we have people who prefer fruit. On the other, people who prefer chocolate. Unfortunately, desserts with fruit as the star get lost on me. I’d die happy with towering pieces of cake with cream cheese frosting or anything with chocolate beside me. Additionally, there’s a million recipes and variations for how to handle fruit desserts, desserts that attempt to take something the earth provided us with that is perfection on its own, ie a good Honeycrisp apple, and transform it into something indulgent. Sometimes it’s not necessary. But sometimes I guess we’re in the mood for a little butter, a little more sugar, a little heat, and a little crisp action.
My family has resided in the USA for decades, but I wouldn’t consider us entirely America. Within our bunch, we hail from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Cuba, and we’ve admittedly become more and more Americanized as each year slips beneath us. The most obvious proof of this is demonstrated by our hefty, voracious, and food-pregnancy inducing Thanksgiving feast. Every year I wait for this meal with nail-biting anticipation, because the gluttonous plate I serve myself is consistently worthy of my last meal on earth. And if you know me, you know I’m one of those crazy people who shuffle through their mind for selections.
Options are irrelevant to the subject matter. The point is: there’s always options. So many and too many that bombard us in all periphery directions. How do we choose? For a somewhat indecisive person like myself, this can be completely overwhelming and distressing. Because we don’t need that many options. For anything. People all around you have found the “something-whatever” of their dreams and in the end of their search, they’ve found peace. And this is the kind of thing that you won’t know until it happens to you. Because you see these people and you’re perplexed. Really, you’re done? Please elaborate on how you did this. Because they’ve found the right thing. I’m currently living this, and the thing has to do with a little squash and a bunch of indecision.
Do boundaries between parents and their children ever cease to exist? Because my dad always chooses to knock on my door at the precise moment that I am undressed or changing. Picture Jack Gellar, Monica’s dad on Friends….the one that walks in on you while you’re changing. Sheesh, I guess this is what happens when you’re 27 years old and still live with your parents, as I do. In Latin cultures this is very typical. Additionally, when you live in your old but completely revamped and comfortable bedroom, your parents leave you alone…. for the most part, give you good food, you’re saving money and they’re always delighted to see you, there’s no reason to not stay.
Who else thinks of Forrest Gump as Elvis pops up in the brain? Particularly, the scene in which Forrest is dancing and creeping along to “you ain’t nothing but a hound dog” (sorry — I just put it in your head) while Elvis stays at the Gump plantation bed and breakfast…later, Forrest witnesses that Elvis totally copycatted his moves on TV. I feel like Elvis was a nice and swell guy and I feel drawn to him. And the need to someday go to Graceland occupies a line on my ever-growing bucket list. Why? Like many things in my life, I have no clue. For some reason this bizarre establishment appeals to me. I’m not sure when my little feet will step into the great state of Tennessee next, but if they do, you’ll be sure to find me at that weird white church-like house. It’s more like a plantation, isn’t it? I’d be taken in to see where Elvis slept, composed his music, tourguided by Lisa Marie or Priscilla. Yeah, I haven’t contemplated this at all.
It’s bizarre how one simple dish can divide like mitosis into completely different experiences, vibing to the environmental mood and energy it was eaten in and who it was eaten with. The food loses meaning as it’s totally engulfed by its surroundings and the significance we’ve subsequently given it. How many times have you eaten a forgettable, mediocre tasting birthday cake, that somehow tasted spectacular because of the lovely people who sang to you? The next day you ate it alone and boo-hoo, you’re shocked to see it’s really not that good. It’s because of the story. It’s because of the hype. On the same wavelength, how many times has someone told you NEED to go to this here restaurant because it’s SO FREAKING GOOD, and then you go and you’re like uhhh…..not really man. Maybe it was their experience, their environment. Their everything that made up their meal, everything except the food.
There is a certain time of year we all long for, the one that makes us feel most alive and connected to each other. Doesn’t it always sneak up on us like a cat creeping around the corner? Summer lazily morphs into October, which overflows into November and then poof, it’s Thanksgiving, and then a day later, it’s Christmas and then oh…hey, New Years, it’s 2013. This time of year is for feasting, it’s for family and friends and it’s for love. It’s for kinda boozy weekday parties and boozier weekend soirees, the ones you get to finally bust out that evening dress, where you’ll actually do your hair and spritz some perfume.
Do you consider yourself a dulce de leche aficionado? If so, you’re living right. If not…seriously, why? You probably haven’t tried dulce de leche. Or at least not the right one. Which is an unfortunate and sad place many of us find ourselves. We either crave this food heaven or see it in a recipe and we need it this instant. But sometimes, it’s nowhere to be found. Fortunately for me, Miami is a good place to find dulce de leche. That’s because a whopping majority of the population is Hispanic. It’d be weird if it wasn’t easily located. Its whereabouts are a problem when you venture up a bit north, and a huge dilemma when you find yourself the Northeast or other areas of the US (out outside of the US, like Italy) that do not have the strong hispanic influence.
Our lives occurrences take place in a fan of departments. Picture life as one big department store, and we’re roaming around the men’s, women’s, shoes, lingerie, sports, and home areas except our real life’s departments aren’t necessarily that simple. Deep down I think we all know the love department always takes precedence. Isn’t that the first thing someone asks you when they haven’t seen you in a while? “Sooooo…are you seeing anyone? How’s it going with fulanito? When’s the ring coming?” Things happen in the our personal home department, you might be getting a total new update or a new kitchen or are bulldozing things all by yourself or you might have just bought a cute little throw pillow or a lazy Susan. All equally worthy updates. The job department. Eek. Things are always-a-changing on that horizon, especially now with the workings of our world. These departments are normal and expected. But my favorite department of all, is the department of you-never-know.