When I grow up, I want to live high on a cliff in a little house with a red door, with the city close enough to bike to, with green and beach everywhere. There will be maple trees that turn bright orange and red in fall, and baby goats on my house’s grass roof. Nick will hunt in the forest and fish the water, and I will pick clams out of the sand and plant radishes in the garden and write stories from my breakfast nook. We will have kittens and teacup pigs and golden retrievers. There will be dinner parties every Saturday and long picnic lunches with pink wine that last until dusk every Sunday. When you come to visit we will drink hot tea and cold cider, and eat the bread I made fresh that morning with homemade ricotta and jam made from the blackberries that grow on the path down the hill to the shore.
I am a long way away from this, but it’s nice to fantasize and I often let my mind wander. Especially on days like today, where I misjudge the weather and wear sparkly ballet flats and capri pants when galoshes and a raincoat would have been a wiser choice and I come home with wet feet and make-up that’s traveled to all the wrong parts of my face. (When I grow up, I will know to buy waterproof mascara.) Especially this week, when it seems like I could do anything, because suddenly I am unemployed and don’t have any place to be.
There is a blog I like to visit, and it’s written by a charming woman from the type of verdant place I’d like to someday live. I’ve followed it for years now, since she first said hello to me. She writes about grand adventures and everyday ephemera, and the way she writes makes me feel like I am there with her in her kitchen, sitting at her table, nibbling warm pastries filled with homemade jam. And while I am always trying to write a book, she has actually gone and done it. Alana is who I want to be when I grow up.
The Homemade Pantry is a wonderful book, eloquent and beautiful, and it’s filled with recipes for things you can absolutely make but always just buy. Why not fill your freezer with homemade toaster pastries and wholesome chicken nuggets, and why not make your own mustard, butter, tea, vanilla extract, or crackers? These are all things any of us can make with things we already have in our kitchens and just a quiet weekend afternoon or weekday morning.
I want to give you this book. Well, one of you. I would give it to everyone but even in my grown-up fantasy I don’t have a lot of money. (This is something I should amend for future daydreams, maybe.)
Leave me a comment below and tell me a little story about the best thing you’ve ever eaten, made, or grown. On the evening of May 2, I’ll put the names in a hat and pick a winner at random. I’ll mail it anywhere, so it doesn’t matter where you’re from.
I’m really looking forward to sharing The Homemade Pantry with you!