Oriental Duck Soup


One of my dumb ambitions for Thanksgiving was to cook Turducken. I bought turkey and duck, let them both thaw, then decided the night before that turkey was enough, and the duck was a bad idea. So after we ate all the Thanksgiving leftovers, I recalled that I had a duck to cook, stat. I roasted it for dinner Sunday night according to the package directions, which made about four servings and was neither here nor there taste wise.The next day, I boiled the carcass with onions and celery to … [Read more...]

The Thanksgiving Winners

The grown-up table, before food and people.

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner. It was my first time. I wasn't sure if I'd pull it off, but I even (do I admit this out loud?) enjoyed it a little bit. Setting a table was fun. Family pitched in on the clean-up. The bird was fine to eat. The stuffing and the pecan bars, I  confess, were pretty darn good.I used Ina's stuffing recipe (without the apples).Pecan bars from America's test kitchen were super yum and easier than pie.And I had some leftover crust from the pecan bars, which I … [Read more...]

Multiplying by Jesus

I first saw it written on the inspirational billboard in front of the Episcopal Church on State Road 9: "Satan divides. Jesus multiplies." It's terribly cute, of course, but it made me think about the ways that our culture has grown more polarized, and how the divisions are put into strong relief on social media whenever an issue like gay marriage or abortion shows up in the news. People line up on the issues. Unfriendings occur. People stop seeing old acquaintances whose company they used to … [Read more...]

A Few Things I Like

Well, I do, anyway...

1. About once every 365 days, I arrive early somewhere.I like being early, which is surprising, since I've been told that I will likely be late to my own funeral. I've come to believe, however, that I am an early person trapped in a late person's life. When I'm early to things, I walk slowly and smile at people. This morning, twenty minutes early to preschool, I could sit and talk with the other early moms and grandmas. One lady was doing calf-stretches in the parking lot, because that … [Read more...]

Writing About Miscarriage

Ariel Levy writes a breath-taking account of having had a miscarriage while on a writing assignment in Mongolia. (Personal History, Thanksgiving in Mongolia): "I could not keep the story of what had happened in Mongolia inside my mouth. I went to buy clothes that would fit my big body but that didn’t have bands of stretchy maternity elastic to accommodate a baby who wasn’t there. I heard myself tell a horrified saleswoman, “I don’t know what size I am, because I just had a baby. He died, but the … [Read more...]

The Primitive Life

Little Siberian Baby--looks much cozier than she is.

* It's fifteen degrees outside, but the sun is shining, and for the first morning since last Thursday when our furnace went out, it is actually colder outside than it is inside. We can still see our breath, of course, and we are still sleeping in triple layers of clothing, piling as many people as possible into the down sleeping bags at night for warmth--and still, we are never warm. But this morning, it occurred to me to thank God that our furnace died, and that we are wiping out our savings … [Read more...]

An Editor for the Soul

I asked fellow Patheos blogger, Max Lindenman to look over a little piece of fiction I've been working on, with specific instructions to "be brutally honest." It's hard to reassure people that you'll still like them if they offer you anything other than false praise.Thankfully, he took me at my word, and called me out on several instances of "telling" rather than "showing." He also pin pointed some missed opportunities in my plot that might have heightened conflict, added realism, and raised … [Read more...]