Looking for baking inspiration on a rainy day, I was thumbing through some of my favorite cookbooks when I remembered that I just recently unpacked my grandmother’s recipe file. It’s truly a thing of beauty.
The pages are lightly browned with age and falling out, the torn tabs range from “_heese and Egg Di__es” to “Pies and Pastri__,” and all the while my grandmother’s perfect script rolls across the pages. Magazine and newspaper clippings are tattered and falling out from behind their dividers. The advertisements from her magazine recipes make me smile — with a grinning 50’s housewife and lines like, “Everyone loves you when you bake cookies,” and “Sweet treats with marshmallows please everyone.” And of course, there’s a …keep reading…
We open on a girl in her mid-twenties, sipping a cup of black coffee while packing a granny shopping cart filled to the brim with the day’s supplies. In goes butter, salt and vinegar chips, a bread cookbook, a swimsuit, sunscreen (SPF 70…naturally – look at that fair skin), orange juice, three bottles of champagne, and a yellow Kitchen Aid mixer affectionately named “Buttercup.” She counts, “one, two, three, ok got ’em all,” ties her hair up in a messy bun, and heads down the DC streets towards the metro. The day really begins at 10:30 with a mimosa toast, and the two girls turn to the croissant recipe…
And so the epic culinary adventure began. But seriously, what’s the longest you’ve ever spent on one recipe? Now double it…at least. ELEVEN glorious hours croissanting with Elizabeth and worth every minute. Croissants are a labor of love – and patience. There’s a lot of down time when your glorious layers of butter and dough are chilling in the fridge, so you have to come prepared for a full day at home.
As soon as we had this little baby resting in the fridge, we went straight for the Chinese takeout. We sat up on the roof, soaking up the sun, and sat out in our suits for that first bit of color after a long winter. The timer went off and we went in for the first of four “turns” – the rolling, folding, and refrigerating of the dough and butter block. That’s right, I said “butter block.” It’s probably better that you just enjoy the croissants and not think about how much butter goes into those little puppies. Why do you think they taste like HEAVEN?…the answer is almost always butter. And more butter.
Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m not a hoarder. Ouf, that was good to get off my chest. In fact, when I (finally) sit down to clean out my closet, I can be ruthless – my mom taught me at a young age. Oh gosh, wait, that sounded terrible…she didn’t teach me to be ruthless; she taught me to only save things that I need or are really important to me. Moving around so much the past seven years (and the 18 years before that), I’m truly thankful for this discerning skill. It’s really one of the few areas of my life in which I’m confidently decisive. (I’m constantly striving for more executive decision-making in my life…it’s an uphill battle.) Was I sad when I got rid of my favorite troll doll slippers in the first grade? Yes. But in retrospect were they something to hold on to? No. They were weird little guys with purple hair that quickly became too small for my feet.
(If I were you, I’d really be wondering how in the world this story is going to connect to homemade biscuits right about now. Just wait for it…)
Oh hey, didn’t see ya there! How are you today? Is that a new shirt? Well it looks stunning.
So I’m teaching myself some important life lessons lately. Some smaller, some bigger. Let’s talk.
#1: I’m embracing the last minute plans. This one I already knew, but I’ve been doing it a lot more lately, and honestly, the spontaneous plans often turn out to be some of the best.
#2: I ate a fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut and loved every second of it. Then had another one. No regrets. (It had been 40 days sans sweets, so I felt great about it.)
#3: Even when my day is crazy-busy, I’ve been taking 10 minutes to walk around the block and get some fresh air. It does WONDERS. And if a latte is involved, even better.