Cookery Maven Blog

The Last & The First

2013 went out with a bonfire, a seriously kick-ass batch of Texas Red (recipe here), my last magnum of 2011 Lapierre Morgon, homemade corn dogs, good cheese and good people. 2013 was a stern taskmaster and there were some hard won lessons in between the beauty and laughter. I'm grateful for it all. On New Year's Eve, we laughed, ate, drank, shared stories and danced our way towards 2014 and all the memories, lessons and untraveled paths waiting in the wings.


We put on our hats, mittens, long underwear, snow pants and jackets and went outside to ring in the new year around the bonfire. Ten degrees below zero has nothing on a bunch of hardy souls on a New Year's Eve in Bayfield.

Joy rising into the night sky.

I spent the first afternoon of 2014 in the company of birches, pines, maples and a good friend on cross country skis at Mt Ashwabay and the first evening making my first batch of squash ravioli (recipe here). Skiing and making pasta are meditative for me, there is something enormously soothing about repetitive movements that allow my mind to wander. Lucky for me, all that skiing makes up for all that pasta— synergy at it's finest.

I have a feeling 2014 is going to a big one— full of opportunities, growth and joy. I'm not talking about a giggly, silly happiness but true joy— the kind that makes my heart skip a beat and I feel, with every shred of  my being, the grace and blessings in my life. I want to live an unfettered life, one without self-imposed limitations and cross-country skiing was a good place to start.

Cross country skiing is the perfect sport for me— it's quiet, solitary, the trails wind through the trees and I can ski nice and slow. Except for the hills, that's where it gets a little tricky for a cautious and speed adverse skier like me. When Ellen and I headed out, I explained the program— I prefer to walk down hills as opposed to careening down them in those tracks with no way to slow down. And then Ellen gave me the advice that changed everything— get out of the tracks and snow-plow down the hill. Talk about a revelation and a much more pleasant (and easier) skiing experience. While the groomed tracks make it easy to ski, they don't allow for much improvisation when I'm considering how to navigate a steep hill. And if there is one thing that makes everything better— it's the freedom to improvise.

I don't believe in resolutions but I do wholeheartedly believe in revelations— the nudges, glimpses and bread crumb trail that are the road map for my path in this lifetime. While I don't know what  2014 will bring, I intend to meet it with a joyful spirit free of preconceived notions and ideas. I pray 2014 will feel like stepping out of the groomed cross-country ski tracks and onto the side where I can snow plow to my heart's content. Full of room to maneuver and move towards what's next.

Welcome Morning

There is joy in all: in the hair I brush each morning, in the Cannon towel, newly washed, that I rub my body with each morning, in the chapel of eggs I cook each morning, in the outcry from the kettle that heats my coffee each morning, in the spoon and the chair that cry "hello there, Anne" each morning, in the godhead of the table that I set my silver, plate, cup upon each morning.

All this is God, right here in my pea-green house each morning and I mean, though often forget, to give thanks, to faint down by the kitchen table in a prayer of rejoicing as the holy birds at the kitchen window peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it, let me paint a thank-you on my palm for this God, this laughter of the morning, lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard, dies young.

Anne Sexton