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Bottoms up

I planted about a half dozen plants back in late May, and I don’t know how to explain it, but they’re not dead yet.  It’s difficult to describe how much that satisfies me.  I am not a gardener by any stretch of anything, but I noticed the other morning, as I was puttering around (in a pair of old bagged-out maternity leggings and a tank top that I accidentally cut a giant hole in and can now only wear for puttering), watering the plants with my Hario coffee kettle (because I have no watering can, and because I keep forgetting to buy one, and because I am obviously a very, very classy person), that it gives me inordinate pleasure to watch plants grow.  I don’t think I’ll ever call myself a gardener, but I do like to garden.  I might keep at it.  At any rate, I was glad for that realization.  I think it’s good to keep track of what makes me happy.  I like to think that’s part of what I do on this site, and why I like to keep coming back here.

Which is to say: have you read this piece about summer, written by my friend Gemma?  I’ve been feeling nostalgic about the idea of summer lately, thinking about the kinds of summers I want June to have as a kid, and what Gemma wrote made my chest tight.

I’ve also been thinking about another summer story, from The New York Times.  I never managed to have a teenage summer romance, myself - probably because I never had a teenage romance, not in any season; boo hoo hoo - but in 1965, Joyce Wadler had a one, and it was great.

Speaking of memories, a really interesting piece (and useful tips!) about writing, memory, and how to hold onto ideas.

Similarly(-ish), on keeping a notebook in the digital age.

Once you’ve read all that, you might consider rewarding yourself with a watermelon, mint, and cider vinegar tonic.  I’ve been sitting on that recipe for more than a month now, waiting for our local watermelon season.  I will wait no more.

And speaking of drinks, I am thrilled (!) to announce, last but not least, that Brandon and I are writing a cocktail column over at Food52.  It’s called Craft Cocktails, and every other week, we’ll be sharing a new recipe from Essex.  I’ve long been an admirer of Food52, its smart recipes and good style and very good people, and we are totally, totally thrilled (!) to now play a small part in it.  (Cheers, Kenzi!) Our first recipe went up yesterday afternoon, and it’s for a Campari Shandy, our unofficial Summer Drink of 2013.

Happy weekend, and bottoms up.


Blogger Renée Blair said...

Hi there Molly! Fellow Seattle dweller here and frequent customer of both Delancey and Essex. Just wanted to say how thrilled I am for your Food52 column! I love all that you do and am grateful that I not only get to read about your Essex cocktails on Food52, but I can literally bike 10 minutes to your fabulous bar and drink one whenever I want. :)
Renee @ nourishtheroots.com

11:23 PM, August 23, 2013  
Anonymous Kate said...

I love watching plants grow too--plants give me far too much happiness, really. My boyfriend thinks I'm crazy because I happily chat with and encourage plants, both in the ground and cut flowers. Maybe I am crazy!

11:37 PM, August 23, 2013  
Blogger Charlene Price said...

I'm certainly not green-fingered either, but I've started growing my own vegetables. I have found out that really all they need is some half-decent soil, sunlight and water. It's been quite a shocking discovery!

12:28 AM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous DessertForTwo said...

So lovely.
And congrats on the column, it looks great! :)

5:28 AM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger AuntieAllyn said...

Heh heh, I use my glass coffee pot to water my plants, and they do just fine! I guess that's the secret to success with plants, eh? Congrats on your affiliation with Food52 . . . looking forward to your posts there!

5:31 AM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous Carlinne @Cook with 2 Chicks said...

I saw your Shandy recipe on Food52;so excited for your cocktail column. Also looking forward to reading your suggested links, while drinking your Shandy,of course.

5:34 AM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger Kathy said...

Oh my goodness, we've got a garage full of witbeers and hefeweitzens and I think your shandy recipe might be just the ticket, especially since we're full up on Campari but out of gin (how did that happen?)

I always feel nostalgic in summer, too. My summer memory is here: http://saltycrunchybitterfresh.blogspot.com/2012/07/summer-1978-day-in-life.html

8:04 AM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger pvl said...

I stumbled upon this blog only recently, and am rather pleased with the addition to my digital neighborhood.

Thnx - for thoughtful links, bemused head nodding and what seems like a tasty summer beverage idea.

9:15 AM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger Linda Beeman said...

in keeping with summer memories from childhood, a silly song. I can't attach the music, so you'll have to hum something to yourself...

String Bean Song
Lyrics, Linda Beeman; Music, Tret Fure
©2013 Linda Beeman

summer dawns at J.P. and Noni’s
began with the miracle of chicken coop
eggs in straw appeared like magic
hens marking days in fertility’s loop

ranch at Foster spelled homecoming
so much family cracked our seams
Norvay spilled from stove and cellar
lefse corn and canned string beans

sun-warmed berries winked from vines
plucked and eaten with dispatch
lemonade in frozen pitchers
watermelon smiles cookie batch

so much family cracked our seams
Norvay spilled from stove and cellar
ranch at Foster spelled homecoming
preserve-lined shelves basement kjeller

covered porch swing evening music
murmurs of cicada song
calmed our fears of tall Aunt Charlotte
scolding us all summer long

Norvay spilled from stove and cellar
lefse warm with buttered cheese
so much family grouped in Foster
taking pleasure taking ease

crank telephone in shadowed barn
who might we call if we could reach
swimming hole plunge knotted rope swing
icy drop into the breach

ranch at Foster spelled homecoming
so much family cracked our seams
Norvay spilled from stove and cellar
lefse corn and canned string beans

10:04 AM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger Diana vW said...

Lots of fun articles, so thanks! I've been keeping a spark file for years, and now do it on the Notes app in my iPhone. So, so easy as I wear my phone in my bra (thanks to a phone radiation shield I bought on Amazon).

10:05 AM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous S.J. said...

I can't wait until the farmer's market tomorrow to get some strawberries because I am itching to play around with this strawberry, yogurt, cardamom, rosewater lassi idea I have. It's the color, you see, all sweet pink. And, now that I've read this, I think I'll pick up a watermelon, too. Because if my lassi doesn't satisfy, I suspect your watermelon, mint, and cider vinegar tonic will.

What riches for a lazy sunday afternoon.

10:28 AM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger Nan said...

Lovely stuff.

5:03 PM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous Kate Joranson said...

Thanks, Molly, for reminding us to keep track of the things that make us happy. Gardening is so much fun with little ones, even if our gardens are full of weeds and not as well tended as we'd like.

5:41 PM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Loved the idea for a Spark File. I ran to Google Docs and made it happen. Well, made the document happen . . . gonna have to wait for inspiration to strike.

8:49 PM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous Kate said...

That Campari Shandy looks brilliant. It also looks like what I'll be drinking tomorrow afternoon! Happy weekend!

9:03 PM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous Marissa | Pinch and Swirl said...

I'm so excited about your new cocktail column on Food52. Congrats! I'm still missing your 'Cooking Life' column from BA. And I loved your comment - they’re not dead yet - about gardening. That's my highest ideal in growing anything but herbs (which seem to grow no matter how much I neglect them).

11:14 PM, August 24, 2013  
Blogger Payal Shah said...

Hi Molly, I have loved your Pamplemousse recipe. I have made that many times over. Congrats on your Food 52 column and look forward to making cocktails with you guys.

11:26 PM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous Ellen said...

I've been craving Campari of late-glad to have another use for it!

11:29 PM, August 24, 2013  
Anonymous Katherine said...

Watermelon? Mint? Cider? I am IN. That looks delicious. Congratulations on your new column - I have just bought a cocktail shaker so I can now give it whirl (literally).

11:58 AM, August 25, 2013  
Blogger MitMoi said...

Love Food52 - and thrilled that you and Brandon will be sharing Essex's expert cocktails with us!

3:08 PM, August 25, 2013  
Anonymous Lilli said...

Hooray for a new column! I enjoyed the Campari Shandy tonight--Can't wait to try your next food52 recipe.

7:06 PM, August 25, 2013  
Anonymous Carly said...

Thanks for the links Molly- Joyce Wadler's story squeezed my heart. Best of luck with the Food52 column!

11:51 PM, August 25, 2013  
Blogger Trading Up said...

These put a twist on our typical Bloody Mary Sunday afternoon. Thanks for the suggestion--they were a hit!

4:09 AM, August 26, 2013  
Anonymous Lyz @ Eat Me. Drink Me. said...

There's another dead basil plant sitting on my kitchen counter. You've given me hope... or if nothing else, the recipe for a cocktail to forget about the sadness of having a dead basil plant on the kitchen counter :)

4:16 AM, August 26, 2013  
Blogger Rocky Mountain Woman said...

i have a small deck garden here and the only thing i miss about living in the valley is my big garden...

8:27 AM, August 26, 2013  
Blogger Ashley @ Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine said...

Love all the suggestions for reading :) Checking the summer pieces out now!

10:27 AM, August 26, 2013  
Blogger Unknown said...

I use whatever empty wine bottle hasn't been taken out to the recycling yet to water my plants. It's not ideal, but it gets the job done, so I can have fresh herbs.

12:47 PM, August 26, 2013  
Blogger Evan said...

Yay! I love Food52! So glad you're an addition. Oh, and by the way, I make baked oatmeal religiously now thanks to you. Recently tried Heidi Swanson's recipe with the bananas and I'm in heaven. Cheers :-)

8:30 AM, August 27, 2013  
Blogger Paige Geiger said...

As someone that loves my old school notebooks and journals, I loved this post. Thanks!

10:57 AM, August 27, 2013  
Anonymous Emily said...

There is no treat quite as sweet as a new post on Orangette!

9:32 AM, August 28, 2013  
Blogger Gemma said...

I still haven't tried the Campari Shandy (although I am now wondering whether I could persuade our new favourite bar to make one for me...) but I have been reading these links and meaning to say thank you for your sweet words about my post. I have been so touched by the reactions to it, it makes me want to write more and makes me scared to at the same time if that makes sense.

9:00 AM, August 30, 2013  
Blogger Angelina said...

It has been awhile since I've read your post. I have a small vegetable garden which surprises me with how resilient it is. Even after my neglect it still rewards me with the most delicious tasting stuff. :)

4:20 AM, August 31, 2013  
Blogger Unknown said...

i made it to essex for the first time over the weekend and was (unsurprisingly) blown away by the cocktails we had. delicious! i am so excited for your new column, it will keep me going until my next trip up to seattle!

3:48 PM, September 03, 2013  
Anonymous tea-time365.blogspot.com said...

Good luck with Craft Cocktails!

3:12 AM, September 10, 2013  
Blogger Kathy Leslie said...

I'm a huge fan (have lost track of the number of copies of A Homemade Life I've bought as gifts), and was excited today to see you talking both about gardening and keeping track of what makes you happy. I hope it's not too presumptuous, but, working from a comment you made in your FAQs, am enclosing a link to my blog about "middle ground" gardening, because the most recent post talks about exactly that--what makes us happy!


Your blog makes me so happy--so glad I can now read you in two different places, and will look forward to the Food52 column!

9:57 PM, September 15, 2013  
Blogger Katie Appleyard said...

I'm in a cycle of almost letting my plants die and then bringing them back to life with water haha. Poor things x

Sweet Apple Lifestyle

1:41 AM, September 16, 2013  
Blogger HereBeDragons said...

the love story.
thanks for linking!

3:30 PM, September 16, 2013  
Blogger Linda C said...

The mention of summer romance struck a note with me. I was about to say I never had a summer romance - but I realize that I had several, one I will never forget. It was in a book I read called SEVENTEENTH SUMMER and, while I was reading it, I was the heroine. I still feel like I lived that summer.

I had a few summers when I had a boyfriend, and we did summery things together, but no big romance. My big romance happened in the fall, and another in the winter. But the most vivid one was Seventeenth Summer.


10:21 AM, September 22, 2013  

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