Friday, November 22, 2013
Thanksgiving and I have a tenuous relationship. On the one hand, what's not to love about a holiday centered around food? And about giving thanks. But really about food! On the other hand, Thanksgiving inevitably brings about this crazy spike in chaos and relatives, singing loudly off-key. Some years, it all feels a bit much.
There was the year we went out for Thanksgiving dinner (don't ask). It was a nice place with nary a paper napkin or golden arch in sight! But with Little Man only a few months old, I spent the entire meal in a freezing car, wedged between a frosty window and car seat, gnawing on a cold piece of turkey, attempting to soothe a screaming newborn while my family wined and dined inside. Minus the wine 'cause you know, Muslim and all. It was not a great Thanksgiving.
Friday, November 15, 2013
As we get closer to the holidays and more importantly, time off from work, I start itching to make things. Cookies, knitted scarves, giant foam reindeer for my front lawn (thanks a lot, Pinterest)! And so, we take a break from our regularly scheduled food posts to talk about my other true love (besides Doritos and Little Man), DIY'ing! The only problem is, I like to think of myself as an optimistic creative. That means I'm generally unconcerned about (and terrible with) silly things like measuring and making sure things will actually hold together. I'm convinced that with enough glitter, hot glue, and good cheer, things will always work out. Except when they don't. That's why, I've gotten smart about my crafting. I've roped in an apprentice who is psychotic about things like measuring and cleaning up. Enter, the Hubster.
As we enter another holiday (read crafting) season, I think it's the perfect opportunity to share something we made last year. See, I saw this bookshelf on Pottery Barn's website and knew Little Man had to have it. I mean, how was he going to learn how to read and develop a lifelong love of books if he didn't have a $150 bookshelf? But something about those curved sides bothered me almost as much as the fact that they insisted on calling the darn thing a magazine rack when it was so clearly a bookshelf (it's even holding books in the darn picture)! Plus, it felt a little on the small side, especially since I totally intended on there being at least one giant Where's Waldo book on that shelf. So I told the Hubster we were going to make one. He took one look at the vague bookshelf tutorials littering the internet and said he'd rather give me $250 so we could be done with it. Apparently, $150 was for the bookshelf and $100 was so I could get over being bothered by the curved sides. And as tempted as I was to take his $250 and run, I knew those curved sides would haunt me forever.
Friday, November 8, 2013
My first exposure to comfort food came about by way of a basement cafeteria. Way back when, I lived in a brutally cold dorm with a mandatory meal plan. The kicker? Outside those dorm walls was the glorious city of Montreal with it's fantastic poutine and bagels. Oh the bagels! But within the four walls of the dorm's bustling cafeteria, we were served a steady diet of ketchup covered meatloaf, sloppy lasagna, and slightly soggy chicken pot pies. In hindsight, it was such a terrible introduction to comfort food but I didn't know any better and it planted in me a life long love of slow-cooked, belly-warming food.
See, I grew up in a house where my mom made real Pakistani meals. I use the term "real" to distinguish her fantastic cooking from my quick-to-the table, Pakistani "inspired" food. I'm talking about hearty curries and fragrant pilaus and fresh naans. Don't get me wrong, my mom was a modern, global woman who mixed it up by making a chow mein every now and then but by large, we ate Pakistani food. Except Saturday afternoons. By that point, my mom must have been so exhausted from cooking for a kid who refused to eat dark meat (me) to a kid who refused any sort of flavoring (my brother), she would let us pick out a microwave or boxed meal. Gosh, how I loved Saturday afternoons where I discovered the world of frozen pot pies and toaster-oven pizza bites. And even with all the options, nine times out of ten, my cheat meal was Hamburger Helper Stroganoff.