Newscasts can’t help themselves and have been going on since yesterday with little information. There is really nothing to say other than 28 people are dead, 20 of whom little…
Trying to make sense of the world and life through food and words.
I am no stranger to radical changes. When I left the music biz to move to the San Diego ‘burbs and “take over” an existing family, in the form of a husband, two children and two dogs, I didn’t really miss the days spent on the phone, the intercontinental travelling, the constant concerts I had to attend or even the Grammies. I was too busy figuring out what a soccer mom was and what PTA stood for (two scary concepts to this day). The only perk I missed was the expense account which had afforded me nice extravagances I wouldn’t have been able to pay for myself.
In time, a second career blossomed, one which was food related. It lasted eight years and gifted me with wonderful memories, new friends and a different kind of stress. Because I tend to be driven and competitive, it was easy for me to both succeed but also to identify with what I did a tad too much. Eventually, it became apparent that what I did was not in synch with what I wanted anymore. Not that I necessarily knew what I wanted but what I did know was that it was time to stop, get off the treadmill and quiet the constant mind chatter that was not helping me unlock the next phase of my life.
It took me a long time to reconcile my palate with some staple American holiday desserts like pumpkin or sweet potato pies and pecan pie. As much as I love custards, pumpkin is not my go to for a satisfying slice of pie and pecan pie, the way I came to first know it, was a cloying, overly sweet and sticky mess I found downright abominable. The reason for it is that most commercial pecan pies are made with an ungodly amount of corn syrup and, regardless of which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to corn syrup, the end result in a pie is an unpleasant sweetness that overpowers the nuts.
I can count on exactly one black tie event a year, in November, for which I never plan well in advance. And that is why, last week, I fell into the usual “what to wear” panic. My life does not exactly require gowns very often so the few hanging in my closet were all bought for this one yearly occasion. There is a beautiful Richard Tyler high-waisted organza number found on sale which is still my favourite and, because LA glitzy events tend to be the opposite of restrained when it comes to fashion, there is also the skin-tight emerald green and blue sequined dress that made me look like a displaced mermaid.
Only two hours east of LA, Palm Springs is the Boca Raton of California, the place where older people of some means go to either live out their golden years or own second homes. It wasn’t always this way. This desert oasis, a valley surrounded by desert mountains which, when the sun hits them at dawn and dusk, imbue the entire city of an otherworldly light, was initially a hideaway for Hollywood celebrities. Away from the prying eyes of the city, they could cavort and relax and, lest we forget this glamorous past, many of the city roads are named after entertainment titans such as Bob Hope or Bing Crosby.
With the resurgence of ’50’s architecture in the last dozen years, a trendy younger and gay crowd has also moved in, along the old folks who still dine at Melvyn’s and the Old Creek Inn, bringing an element of hipness to a previously stodgy locale. The two atmospheres seem to cohabit side by side, making for an interesting mix – getting a decent meal doesn’t require a monumental effort anymore and a week-end in Palm Springs will reward you with balmy weather, wonderful hikes and some interesting shopping and dining. Don’t forget to check out that pink light when the sun sets. Like every desert sunset, it’s unforgettable.
September to May is the ideal time to go. I find the Summer absolutely unbearable, although the locals seem to manage just fine.
In honour of Thanksgiving, sofagirl and I decided to each come up with five things for which we are thankful. We resolved to exclude the essential ‘can’t-live-without’ givens: our fabulous families and friends, our health, our personal safety and the knowledge that we always have food on our tables. Those things, these people, that love – we salute them and deeply appreciate that they enrich and shape our lives. Every day.
For this, we wanted to look beyond the immediate. To examine the year(s) gone by, to evaluate how our lives have changed – and to see what had become essential in our brave new worlds. Here they are: