I started blogging in the summer of 2008. It was the summer between my undergrad and graduate program. I was home, not working very much, and I since I was reading lots of blogs I figured I could do it too. I started out writing about politics, life, books, and a little about food, but after the first few months I was writing more about food and not so much about anything else. Cooking, well really, learning to cook was a great distraction from the intensity of grad school. Don’t want to think about cataloging anymore, bake a cake of course! It worked perfectly. When I graduated I had a masters degree along with confidence in the kitchen and a love of cooking. Its been five years! So much life has happened in these five years, but none of it would have been as much fun without cooking.
The food and recipes in this blog have their own memories. The first gingerbread cake I baked in the upstairs apartment (the recipe is stuck on my old blog!). The Christmas tree was so big it took up the entire front windows. The chicken pot pies I made for my family when they came over for dinner, just for fun and how my dad sent me a photograph of my great-grandmother in her kitchen. Those pies I shared with my family around the table made me feel connected to many generations of family. The Stove-Top Ratatouille I made nearly two Septembers ago as I was feeling like everything was about to change. And the marble fudge pound cake was the first recipe I posted after everything did change.
This blog is a chronological timeline of the last five years of my life through the food I ate. I’m eating a lot of food these days, some I cook, some I don’t but I can’t seem to write about it. Somewhere deep inside I know why. Blog life and real life are often just fragments of each other. Slivers of truths and glimpses of reality. No one tells you how to live authentically in real life let alone in the ethos of the internet. We struggle to “find ourselves” in our daily lives and as the blank screen stares me down I can’t even begin to find the words to express who I have found myself to be.
Right after I made that ratatouille I finally realized that I am responsible for my own happiness. It seems like such a simple realization. Such a basic a concept and yet it has a monumental impact on the life we live and the lives around us. In the same moment that I realized that I was responsible for my own happiness I also realized that I wasn’t happy. Much to my own surprise this wasn’t a surprise to those whose opinion I value the most. Isn’t it always like that? It takes us so much longer to realize what the rest of the world already knows.
So, as I was making blueberry muffins I made the single biggest and hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. The blog post about blueberry muffins never made it to the blog, the words got lost. Instead I went to the ocean and then I changed my life. I left my house, my garden, my clematis in the backyard, my rosemary that wouldn’t grow and my new marriage and I created a life I am so very proud of. Not everything is perfect, I don’t cook as often as I should, my garden has weeds, my pants don’t fit and there is (and probably always will be) uncertainty. But I’m happy and the people whose opinion I value the most see it and they tell me that I look happy and they are proud of me too. Oh, and I have a flourishing rosemary plant.
I’ve made blueberry muffins several times since then and they have not had such a drastic impact, thank goodness. I don’t think I need to share the blueberry muffin recipe with you, within a fraction of a second a Google search will give you more blueberry muffin recipes than you could ever bake in a lifetime. Instead, I have ice cream. What’s the connection? My family has always made homemade ice cream. Every childhood birthday cake was accompanied by hand-churned vanilla ice cream. It was a simple gesture that meant so much love and happiness. I’ll be turning 27 soon surrounded by a life of happiness and love so it seemed appropriate to share some with you.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
This recipe is simple and easy. You will need an ice cream freezer, one like this is what I use. Alternately there are attachments for Kitchen Aids or stand-alone electric kinds. I like the act of hand cranking. Also, I should mention that this recipe contains raw eggs. If you have you own chickens you probably don’t need to worry about such things. If you buy your eggs I would seek out home-raised eggs and avoid ones raised on large farms. The risk of salmonella is greatly reduced when you have happy and healthy chickens.
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Seeds scraped from one vanilla pod
In a large bowl whisk eggs until they are light and fluffy. Add the sugar a little at a time and whisk until completely blended. Pour in cream, milk and vanilla and again whisk to blend. Add seeds from vanilla pod and give it one final good mix.
Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to freeze.
Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufactures instructions.
Once it is set, put it in a freezer safe container and freeze until solid.
Enjoy with fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, birthday cake or all by itself.