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A snack for Peter Rabbit: Asian tofu, edamame, radish, and avocado salad

12 Apr

Purple Bunny was my best plush friend for a long time. Given to me at birth by my grandfather, Purple Bunny, or just Purple for short, was an unrealistic-looking, lavender-colored, stuffed animal rabbit. He (gender assigned arbitrarily by yours trulyThe Tale of Peter Rabbit) had stubby legs and arms and was only capable of sitting upright with all four limbs pointing forward. The only feature that identified him as a rabbit was his set of long floppy ears. Purple came with me everywhere and was the ring leader of the rest of my troop of stuffed animal friends, even into his old age when his fur became a soft gray after too much loving and one too many cycles in the washing machine. Together, we were a cute pair.

The other rabbit in my life was Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. Peter was the star of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, a children’s book I liked for my parents to read to me before going to bed. I loved his sisters – Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail – because their names were fun to say, and I admired Peter for his rebellious streak that led him to Mr. McGregor’s garden, ignoring his mother’s warnings. Continue reading

Honey balsamic brussels sprouts with plums

31 Mar

Insects were my earliest predators. As a preschooler, the majority of my outside time was spent in backyards and neighborhood playgrounds. My little friends and I invented ‘make-believe’ universes and spent afternoons cooking invisible pancakes in our invisible kitchens, bossing around invisible students in invisible classrooms, and performing carefully choreographed dances for invisible audiences in invisible theaters.

Juicy plums waiting to be sliced

My favorite character to play regardless of the scene was a puppy (though one time I took it upon myself to be a blind cat, and it didn’t end well. I’ll save that for another post.) How, you might wonder, does a puppy wind up in a kitchen? In a classroom? In a theater? I don’t know, and it never seemed to matter. For some reason, I liked the idea of not only pretending to be a human in another context, but embodying a cute animal that got to have just as much fun. Continue reading

No borscht here: roasted beets with oranges, mint, goat cheese, and blueberries

5 Mar

It was the summer of 1996 when I had my first run-in with beets.

I was at The Concord, a crumbling weekend getaway far past its prime, where my very extended family was having a reunion. My family unto itself, as described in the brisket post, is already the size of a NFL team roster including the injured guys, but this event included everyone descending from my great-great-grandparents’ oldest son, a few of his siblings, and their 15+ kids (and three generations thereafter).Beets and oranges

I remember the hotel room that we used as family headquarters – the “hospitality suite” (confusing as a kid – no hospital there?), where the door was always open with snacks and drinks, and where the family tree someone put up for reference stretched around all 4 sides of the room. I remember days exploring the grounds of the resort* and relishing the independence my parents granted us to roam freely from the mini golf course to the pool. I remember shyly hiding behind my grandmother as I was introduced to a distant, older cousin who wore a Chicago Bulls’ championship ring and thus had the privilege of being the long weekend’s most famous person in attendance. Continue reading

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