I taught my final spinning class at Gold’s Gym this morning. A 6 AM class, surrounded by some of the coolest, nicest, hard-workingest rooster rock stars you could ever hope to meet. I taught the first group exercise class ever at the Pawtucket, RI Gold’s—seventeen years ago (clutch the pearls!)—and one of the first cycle classes fourteen years ago. These folks have seen me through some highs (they got my class named “Best Class for a Music Lover” by Rhode Island Monthly magazine) and some lows (Jay’s cancer, my mom’s death, my dad’s lengthy rehab, my brother’s cancer). I will certainly miss them.
Perhaps nothing (healthy) has defined me as much in my adult life (other than my marriage) than being a fitness instructor. Weird, right? That I should identify with something so frivolous? I, who claim to value intellectual rigor so deeply? But, at the end of the day, I don’t think about my education, or the hours I spend tinkering in the kitchen, or the finish lines I’ve run across. I consider myself a success or a failure to a great degree by whether or not I’ve given a kick-ass class. Were my participants smiling and sweaty? Did anyone complain about the volume or choice of music? The lumination or the temperature of the room? Did they simultaneously love and hate the time we spent together? This all matters to me.
And now, this huge chapter of my life has come to an end. I would lie if I didn’t admit I grieve over this.
According to my husband, my particular Five Stages of Grief are
The one he can’t remember
I have a new Prada skirt and several half-empty bottles of wine as evidence that I am fully exploring all these stages as my Gold’s tenure comes to a close.
My final playlist consisted of songs, some old and some new, I love and find meaningful. One that made the 65-minute list, but not the 45-minute class, is Nada Surf’s delightful “Do It Again,” from their 2005 album The Weight is a Gift. The song is full of boyish sincerity, jangly guitars, and swoon-worthy harmonies, and I’ve always been enchanted by the lyric, “When I accelerate, I remember why it’s good to be alive.” It captures, to me, the moment on the bike when the shackles of the day fall away: it’s just me, the bike, the music, the breath, the sweat, the magic. As I put this playlist together, however, I was drawn to the line, “Maybe this weight was a gift.” I started to think about the weight we all bear as human beings and how our responsibilities to one another—our encumbrances with one another—bring us our greatest gifts—our most wonderful, horrible, soul-crushing and life-affirming gifts. To paraphrase Coach Eric Taylor, having other people depend on us isn’t a burden, it’s a blessing.
So, to my Gold’s Gym riders: It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to ride with you, even though the early hour sometimes clouded my view of it. Thank you for all the gifts.
I’ve been mired of late in a particularly trenchant existential crisis. Of course the EC in and of itself is nothing new to me; I spend approximately eighteen hours of every day drifting in and out of some form of one, but for any number of really sound reasons (end of winter, family health issues, aging, increasing impotence at my day job, mounting frustration at my fitness gig, lack of adequate running and yoga, inability to tell a freaking German Riesling from an Alsatian one, yadda, blah, et cetera) this EC has transformed from a quotidian crisis to a veritable miasma. Amorphous. Nebulous. Globby.
It tempts me to plop on the sofa, clutch the remote like a desperate clutching thing, and give myself over to the entropy of my expanding butt.
I know, however, that the only way to combat the second law of thermodynamics is with a good mental ass-kicking. Schlumping on the sofa never really makes me feel better, only productive activity will do that (one of the chief frustrations I have with my 9-to-5 gig is the lack of product: I organize, I coordinate, I attend, but I don’t really make anything). So, I knew it was time to take on a project: to look for some thrills.
Are you fat-phobic? Then look away. Quickly. Direct that browser to iloveseitan.com, tempehrules.org, or absenceofflavor.net. Trust me: it will be better for all of us.
Did they leave? Good: now it’s just us lard-lovers. Praise the lard!
This time, I moved down (up?) the animal from the rib section, that produced the amazing lambchetta, to the loin section. This is the part of the lamb that gives us those cute mini T-bone chops, and just like on a cow, the larger bit of the T-bone is the loin and the smaller bit is the tenderloin. The section also includes the flank (which I think will be awesome for some lamb fajitas or gyros) and a mess of glorious fat that previously served the important function of protecting that little lamb’s kidneys.
The loin section, with glorious fat cap and flank attached.
The underside of the loin, with even more gorgeous fat.
I separated the section into all these gorgeous parts. Because I’m still not great at this butchery stuff, I ended up with a decent amount of scraps, which will make fabulous (and expensive) sausage. The fat I’ll render and use to confit something (because what won’t taste amazing slow-cooked in lamb fat, right?) and the bones I’ll use for stock.
Butchery done! L to R: fat, bones, scraps for sausage, flank, loin roast, tenderloin.
For Easter, we enjoyed the loin roast, marinated in some lovely Tempranillo and aromatics, seared and roasted, and served with a piquillo pepper pesto (piquillos, garlic, pinenuts, olive oil, S&P). I made an onion panade—essentially a solid form of French onion soup (full props to Michael Ruhlman’s Twenty), and some sautéed asparagus. We had a Tempranillo battle (a Rioja from Spain vs. a wine from the Alentejo in Portugal), but both wines performed well against the food, so we called it a delicious draw.
Our loin roast, resting.
Piquillo pesto and onion panade.
The activity, at least temporarily, distracted me from my miasma. Also distracting: singing along very loudly to the 80s Australian pop-rock quirksters Men at Work. I love the Celtic-infused guitar solo in this ditty. (Thanks to Chef Matt Jennings for reminding me of this delicious ear-worm of a song!)
A few years ago I took at class on beef butchery at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. It was very cool. And by cool, I mean downright cold because the class took place in what (I assume) is essentially a meat locker for the CIA. My fellow classmates and I had to wear hard hats to shield our noggins from the suspended sides of beef, and our chef instructor—who had grown up in a family of butchers on the Lower East Side of Manhattan—encouraged us to use the hot plate at our disposal to cook up bits we hacked off the cow so we could gain an appreciation of the tastes and textures of the different muscles. So, even though I spent most of the time shivering and I ended up with a very unattractive case of (hard) hat head, I learned a lot. I also put a healthy bit of fear into my husband, because, you know, I can butcher.
Fast forward to last year when Chef Matthew Jennings hosted a dinner at his drop-dead-awesome restaurant Farmstead for Chef/butcher extrodinaire Ryan Farr. Chef Farr owns 4505 Meats in San Francisco (and concocts a chili dog with homemade fritos that is so transcendent it will make you question your own worthiness to stand in the man’s presence) and authored the I Ching of cutting up animals, Whole Beast Butchery. That night, he broke down a 350-lb pig in under an hour, carefully explaining each cut along the way. His demo and his demeanor inspired me.
Fast forward (again) to last month, when I took a lamb butchery class with Michael Dulock of M.F. Dulock through Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge. Again: nuanced approach to the animal, no waste, and extreme respect. I left with more inspiration and an itching for some action.
Here’s my dilemma: a cow is really big. A pig is pretty darn big, too. I don’t have a workspace large enough nor a freezer with enough capacity to deal with a cow or a pig. But a lamb? A lamb I could probably handle. A half-lamb I could definitely handle. What? 30 lbs? My purse weighs more than that most days.
The fine folks at Persimmon Provisions procured a gorgeous lamb half for me (delivered on Valentine’s Day, no less! Because, really: what says “I love you” more than a half carcass?), and handed it over the counter to me in a black plastic garbage bag. I loaded it in the back of the MINI and prayed that I wouldn’t get stopped by the cops (“Honest, Officer, I have this garbage-bagged carcass in my car for entirely SALUBRIOUS reasons.”).
Thirty pounds of gorgeous lamb!
The lamb and I arrived home. I gathered my tools and set him up on the kitchen table. (Jay came downstairs in the middle of all this—I had neglected to tell him about my planned activities—stopped short, said “Oh my God,” and high-tailed it outta there. He came back moments later and begged me not to use the cleaver unless he could be around to ensure I didn’t lose a digit.) With some help from my reluctant husband using the hack saw, I spent the next two hours breaking the carcass down into primals: neck, shoulder and foreshank, rack, loin, leg, with Ryan Farr’s glorious tome guiding me every step along the way.
Leg, loin, rack, shoulder, neck, plus a little skirt steak.
I boned out the ribs and backbone from the rack, leaving the belly attached, for a lambchetta—the lamby version of a porchetta. I scored the interior, rubbed it up with a healthy schmear of rosemary, garlic, parsley, olive oil, S&P, rolled it up nice-n-tight (abeit with a rotten tying job—more work needed here, obviously).
Rack & belly: ready for deboning.
Loin, wrapped in belly, tied as if by a pre-schooler.
Seared the hell outta the outside and then roasted it very low (275) for a couple of hours to an internal temperature of 135. Gorgeous, right?
We ate this bad boy sliced on ciabatta with some roasted red pepper aoli and potato chips fried in duck fat. Many times that evening, I said to Jay, “Can we just talk for another minute about how freaking amazing that lamb was?” I also reminded him that he should still be a teensy bit a-scared of me, ’cause I’m taking this butcher-thing to the next level.
Duck fat fried potato chips. Why the hell not, right? Gorgeous copper pot from East Coast Tinning.
Thanks so much to Matthew Jennings, Ryan Farr, Michael Dulock, and Champe Speidel, who collectively served as my Yoda, my Obi-Wan, my Qui-Gon Jinn, and my Han Solo as I worked my way through my first four-legged animal (even though I only had two legs of it).
I can’t wait for future adventures using the remaining primal cuts!
What’s a good butchery soundtrack? Beats me, but I listened to the new Matt Pond album, “The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hands,” twice while I worked. It’s delightful, and features MP’s signature reedy voice and extended use of a metaphor (hands, nature, rivers). Give it a listen if you need to cut up a lamb, or even if you don’t.
What an amazing class this morning! I had the good fortune to sub in for the irreplaceable Charlie; his Saturday morning spinners welcomed me heartily and put their sweat on the line. What great effort, what great spirits, what great fun! And what great voices: the sing-along to “Refugee” was pretty damn epic.
Brand new stuff from Morning Parade and Adele, old favorites from the Von Bondies and Florence.
How ’bout some free music? Get the Adele remix here.
For two weeks leading up to the Portland (Maine) Marathon, I tried to diminish every well-wisher’s expectations. Conversations went something like this:
Well-wisher 1: Oh, wow! You’re running a marathon? That’s great!
Me: If it rains, I’m only doing the half.
Well-wisher 2: Hey, when’s your marathon?
Me: September 30. But if it rains, I’m only running the half.
Well-wisher 3: How long is a marathon?
Me: 26.2. But if it rains, I’m only running the half.
…and so on. Make no mistake: even on a good day I am rarely sanguine or gung ho. You know how Emily Dickinson dwells in the possible? I don’t even visit that neighborhood. I consider the cloud perched over my head a fetching accessory to my daily ensemble. Several years ago, when discussing the moral necessity of giving blood, Jay laughed uproariously when he found out my blood type was A+.
“A-positive?” he said. “A-positive? Shouldn’t that be A-cynical?” Yep: he’s hysterical.
My point with all of this? The ambivalence about the marathon went beyond my normal persnicketies. I was in full-on Eyeore mode.
See, this bout of marathon training was fraught with a series of mishaps. Early on, I was worried about my abilities and my stamina: it had been eleven years since I ran my last (and fastest) marathon. I was younger and fitter then and I had a very well organized running partner with whom I ran every day. She had each day’s workouts planned, she kept assiduous time with her whiz-bang-y watch, and she logged our splits in a spiral notebook (this was before the era real-time on-line running data management). I, on the other hand, and am a very low-tech runner. I have a watch that I use to tell time, but I never use it to record anything. I have shoes, but they aren’t synched to a computer or an iPod. Heck, I don’t even run with an iPod. I have no Fuel Belt or compression socks or fancy tools to stretch my Achilles. Basically, I have legs, a bottle of water that I carry (sometimes), and safety pins with which I attach packets of gel to the waistband of my shorts. Sometimes I don’t even have that, so I’ll shove a couple of sweaty dollar bills into a random pocket (or my running bra) and just hope that I don’t skeeve out the convenience store clerk too much. In other words, I did not come into this year’s training with a terrifically organized personal plan*.
(*I ran this marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training to raise money for blood cancer research and patient/family support. My eldest brother, Mike, recently had a bone marrow transplant as treatment for Multiple Myeloma, a type of blood cancer. Team in Training provides its runners with a detailed training plan and coaching support; because of my schedule I couldn’t take part in the coaching sessions, although I did loosely follow the weekly mileage goals. NB: Team in Training is an excellent resource; any lack of preparedness for this marathon was entirely due to my own negligence and IN NO WAY reflective of their superb organization! Got that? Good.)
About mid-way through my training, I found out I was anemic. In a way, it was a relief: I finally had something to point to as the reason for my overwhelming fatigue and inability to breathe. Over the next two weeks, I also sliced off the end my thumb (hello, emergency room!), cracked a tooth, ripped the skin off the bottom of one foot, and lost sheets of skin off my face due to an overly aggressive facial. No lie: I was pretty much a mess. Then I ran my slowest half-marathon to date. Things were not boding well for a successful marathon.
I decided, therefore, to continue to train for the full marathon, but to keep the possibility of downgrading to the half in my back pocket. Pretty soon, the idea moved to my front pocket, and then to my breast pocket, and then it became the refrain that spewed forth from my mouth at each opportunity.
If it rains, I’m only doing the half.
I continued doing my long runs. 16 miles, 19 miles, 22 miles. And I kept watching the long-term forecast for Portland. To be quite frank, once or twice I prayed for rain, because I was pretty sure I couldn’t finish this marathon and I wanted a good excuse to bow out. The weather looked clear. Then it looked rainy.
On race morning at 5:00 AM, I checked the weather: cloudy, but no rain. 50 degrees. Pretty much perfect marathon running weather. Ten minutes pre-gun, I lined up with the other 4000 runners (3000 of whom were doing the half, the bastards), all taut with anticipation.
And then it started to rain. And it rained and rained and rained. At 6.5 miles I had to make the decision to either take the turn back for the half or keep going for the full. I surveyed my own status: was I soaked? Yes. Could I get much wetter? Probably not. I decided to go on.
Immediately the IBSC (aka, Itty Bitty Shitty Committee, sometimes just “The Committee”) in my head started jabbering. Was that a twinge you just felt in your knee? Is your breathing irregular? I think your bladder may be full. You can’t run twenty miles on a full bladder.
At about mile 11, I met a lovely woman from Brooklyn, Rachel Karlin, who shall henceforth be referred to as “Rachel Karlin, Guardian Angel, Gift from God, Lady of Mitzvah, New Best Friend” (RKGAGfGLoMNBF for short). RKGAGfGLoMNBF and I ran together in the pouring rain for the next 15 miles, chatting profusely along the way. Her sweet demeanor and encouragement kept me in the game and pushed my soggy, dragging ass across the finish line.
I know I had a lot of people praying for me on race day, and believe me: I felt it. I thank each and every person who sent a good thought my way!
Major shout outs to:
Everyone who contributed to my Team in Training fund-raising campaign. I continue to be humbled by the generosity and kindness of my family and friends.
Alex and Kayde from Team in Training for handling all of the administrative details for the race and for their tireless efforts on behalf of blood cancer patients and their families.
Sally, whose sweet and generous nature got me through many difficult miles during my training. Her companionship is a true blessing.
Eva, whose last minute words of wisdom gave me some much-needed peace.
RKGAGfGLoMNBF for her simultaneous angelic and bad-ass qualities.
Melody, whose massages hurt like hell, but kept everything in working order.
Jay, who, despite his own misgivings, put up with my weeks of training, general bitchiness, and fatigue with great equanimity and love.
And most importantly: my brother Mike, whose strength and courage is an example to me and whose ability to love inspires me. I had his picture in my pocket and his name on my shirt; he’s pretty damn delightful and I want to keep him around.
I sang two songs over and over in my head during this marathon. The Elvis is a given; ”Beyond Belief” is one of my favorite songs. The other? Well, even a cynic can get a little mushy sometimes.
I don’t care who knows it: I really (really) like the new album by the Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten. I have a feeling that it’s kind of uncool to like the Gaslight Anthem; they’re a little Springsteen-y, not complicated or challenging like The Tallest Man on Earth or Of Montreal (both of whom I also love), and they remind me of blue jeans and white t-shirts and old cars with push-button radios.
But: this kind of music works for me as the end of summer draws near. It’s angsty, yet hopeful. I look back on the preceding sun-filled months and regret all the fun that I didn’t have, yet I am excited and invigorated by the crisp days ahead and their infinite promise of accomplishment. Of achievement! Of IMPROVEMENT!! And, songs like those on Handwritten give me the chance to sing along loudly (and poorly), to lament lost youth, and to feel a little like James Dean (in a totally middle-aged lady kind of way).
…and all of the above I used as a self-indulgent introduction to the playlist I used in spin class last Friday. Without really planning it, the list is all about grabbing life NOW, taking chances NOW, jettisoning the bullshit NOW.
The lead-off track, Marc Antony’s “Viviendo,” urges us to feel every moment—even if it hurts; the new Pink track (God help me with my shameful love of Pink) is battle cry to us to get ourselves out of shitty situations; and the gorgeous “When Your Mind’s Made Up” is a cautionary tale about what we lose when we can’t see past our own pain. For me, this group of tunes is a finger-wagging admonition of my own pettiness with a great beat.
I’ll sign off with the title track from Handwritten, a song that encourages us to put our own unique stamp on whatever we do. Happy riding!
I just polished off the last of my Friday lunch: a mouthwatering melange of rice, heirloom beans, heirloom tomatoes, and spicy salsa, topped with a sunny side up egg. This bit of ambrosia was prepared for me by Peter Gobin, genius proprietor of Mijos Tacos, and it was so tasty that I’m pretty sure I wept as I shoveled it into my mouth.
Yeah. I ate that.
Whilst slurping away, I was struck, once again, by what a lucky eater I am. This week, I had lunch on Monday with the delightful Mary-Kim Arnold (Do you read Mary-Kim’s blog? You must. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I am humbled by the beauty of her writing everytime I click.) at New Rivers. Beau Vestal, chef and owner, officially opened last Monday for lunch (I went then, too, by the way), bringing his tremendous skills to the midday. I could not be more pleased. Chef Beau is something of a savant in figuring out what I want to eat before I even know it. On Monday, Mary-Kim and I shared a plate of falafel and the juiciest, most piquant take on melon and ham that I have ever experienced. Just the right amount of acid in the vinaigrette, the sharp saltiness of the (American!) ham, the voluptuous sweetness of the melon, and a heady kick of mint. Holy crap. I still get excited just recalling it.
Melon & ham.
New Rivers PBLT: pesto, bacon, lettuce, & tomato.
Then on Wednesday night, Jay and I went to La Laiterie for a quick dinner. My pre-dinner cocktail, devised in the wickedly wonderful brain of David Mangiantine, the Purple Haze, included purple basil, gin, and charred pineapple bitters. Chef Jorge sent out a stunning dish of a soft cooked egg, seared pork belly, and squid ink. We had tiny ravioli filled with beef shank in a broth fortified with marrow. My tomato salad included house-made burrata and kimchi vinaigrette. KIMCHI VINAIGRETTE!*
*I took no photos of this triumphant array of food, because my dining companion ain’t too keen on the photographing-one’s-dinner thing. And he was paying, so…
Was there anything special or important about this week? Any reason for celebration? No. All of this amazing eating happened during a profoundly normal week in the City of Providence. A week so unexceptional that—apart from the eating—one might construe it as bromidic. Banal. Blah.
Fantastic—and I mean that in the sense of unbelievable, outlandish, inconceivable, right?
I’m a gal who doesn’t generally cotton to the idea of “being taken care of.” In fact, I chafe at it. Lots of folks will be happy to tell you about my tendency toward tough love. Doing stuff by myself. Pulling up those old bootstraps. Not being indebted to anyone.
Yet, at each of these magical eating experiences, I was taken care of completely. And it was done in such a subtle and masterful way that only later am I conscious of all the work that went into feeding me. I am, indeed, the luckiest eater.
Thank you, thank you to Chefs Beau, Matt, Jorge, Nick, and Peter for feeding me. To David for such great imagination and Ron for perfect recommendations. Your food and drink inspires me!
PS: I am ashamed…ASHAMED…that I didn’t include the awesome dinner that Jay cooked for me on Tuesday, a day when I was wrecked from work and the aftermath of a week in 100+ degree heat in Texas. My dreamboat of a husband kitted me out with some truly excellent chicken thighs with lemon & capers, a healthy salad, and a bracing Albarino. I think I’ll keep him.
Lately the concept of holding one’s self to a higher standard has taken a hold of me—mostly because I realize that I am slacking off in so many important areas: I’m not writing hard enough, running hard enough, or cooking hard enough. I feel myself not fighting against the ruts in my days and not responding critically to the stream of truly idiotic thoughts that run through my old-lady noggin on constant repeat.
However, when I stepped on the bike last night (subbing in for Matt, whose shoes are pretty impossible to fill), I was faced with twenty amazing athletes: riders with heart and courage, willing to fight and sweat and put their best individual efforts forward. We battled. We struggled. We gasped for air. And in the end, even though we had each achieved our own personal workout, we finished as a team. Each individual breath supported and each single pedal stroke inspired another rider. It was pretty damn awesome…
…and so were the tunes! Lots of new stuff on the list—brand new stuff from The Killers and The Gaslight Anthem (loving this new album, by the way), and a pearl-clutching track from the Japandroids.
You can get the U2 remix here and the Kelly Clarkson remix here.
I cringe when I think about how lax I have been about posting music. I owe Michelle a huge debt for encouraging me this morning to get back on track.
My Friday the 13th started out pretty crappy: early alarm for 6 AM class only to step in cat puke as I exited the bedroom. Thankfully I had a packed house of riders ready to put it all on the line this morning. Their energy helped me get past the cat puke incident and feel better about the day ahead!
So, here’s what we sweated to this morning; it’s a little schizophrenic. I am so stoked right now about the Tour de France and the upcoming Olympics that I mixed my metaphors quite sloppily. We went from the French countryside to a Broadway stage to the medal podium to a bar for cocktails.
I am loving the new Metric album, even though the cooler than thou kids at Tiny Mix Tapes and Paste think it’s a sell out. Will I love it in three months? Dunno, but it got a stainless steel-esque polished sheen that seems appropriate for the blazing heat we’ve been having this summer. John Entwisle’s bass work on Eminence Front still gives me chills every time I hear it. The Muse track is the theme to this summer’s Olympic Games, so I am playing it like mad now because once the games start everyone will be sick of it in no time!
My friend Steve Pearlman died last week. Steve made me (and a thousand other people) laugh. Losing him makes me cry, and remembering him makes me feel lucky.
Steve and I met at a wastewater conference in 2005. We both sat in the back row; I because I am an inveterate introvert; Steve because he was decidedly not. Before the speaker began what I’m sure was a thrilling exegesis on nutrient loading, Steve and I somehow began talking about music*, and discovered a mutual love of Joni Mitchell**. Although ostensibly we did not disrupt the ensuing PowerPoint presentation, for the next thirty minutes, a piece of conference-hotel-supplied note paper flew back and forth between us:
“Yes. The Killers?”
“Ew, no. Listen to The Killers. V. good.”
“Musical gymnastics. Soundtrack of every 15 y.o. in Guitar Center. Spoon?”
“Listen to Deep Purple. No Spoon. Eva Cassidy?”
“YES! Love Eva.”
It went on, and we revisited a similar version of this exchange at three future wastewater conferences a year, often interspersed with Jane Austen references or dialog from Buffy. Steve also introduced me to Joan of Arcadia, Veronica Mars, and the Ralph Macchio flick Crossroads.
*Yeah, I know: at some point every conversation with me is about music.
**While I considered my love for Joni to be quite deep, I had nothing on Pearlman. His Grand Canyon-scale Joni love made my Blue-centric attention look like Mary’s Creek in Benbrook, Texas. As with everything else he loved, his was the real deal.
At one of our regular sewer meetings in Washington DC, Steve and I discovered a mutual love of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda. We decided to grab a couple of other rebels, skip out on that evening’s conference reception and head to a Jewish deli on the opposite side of town. I had a Rueben, Steve had chopped liver, and we both drank a Cel-Ray. That evening Steve told stories of growing up in New York in his family’s deli, of his mother’s devotion to the Yankees (listened to every Yankees game on the radio until the day she died), and of how—when his father went to work at a pajama factory—he used to give his teachers pajamas as holiday gifts. He also told the story of meeting his wife, Nancy, while they both attended a party where he was reading an Immanuel Velikovsky book*.
*This freaked me out because my husband is the only other person I have ever known who has read Velikovsky.
Soon I met Steve’s amazing wife and fell in love with her as well. Smart, beautiful, incisive, warm; full of laughter and charm. The type of person who makes you want to be the best version of yourself. Their gorgeous and talented daughter Leah also exudes these rare and beautiful qualities.
For seven years I have received the blessings of their friendship. I know I am fortunate, but I still want more. Fucking cancer.
chopped liver on rye, picked onions, celery soda
I can’t make it to Steve’s memorial service in Denver today, so last night Jay and I enjoyed a Steve Pearlman Memorial Dinner: chopped liver sandwiches and celery soda. I made the celery soda from scratch, because I’m annoyed with Dr. Brown for switching to HFCS from real sugar. I used Alton Brown’s basic recipe, but added a little grapefruit syrup to the celery because Steve was also a fan of Fresca (guilty here as well). I owe a debt of gratitude to my book club (Karen Borger, Nina Insler, Susan Jacobs, Marcia Gold, and Anne German) for steering me in the right direction for chopped liver (chicken livers ONLY, with onion, chopped egg, and LOTS OF SCHMALTZ!).
Steve loved making music as well as listening to it, and he and his performing partner Rebecca regularly played at their church, Montview Presbyterian. I know Steve loved playing Eva Cassidy songs for the congregation, so I dedicate Eva’s version of Autumn Leaves to Nancy and the rest of Steve’s amazing family. Thank you for sharing him with the rest of us.