if this were a proper food blog

cloverleaf rolls | the merry gourmet

I have had a lot on my mind lately, and I thought it might be nice to share some of it with you all. You are all very good listeners, and I know you won’t mind if I ramble on a bit.

I’ve been thinking about this blog and how it fits in to the general universe of blogs. The fact that it is January may have something to do with these thoughts in my head. This first month of the year always finds me reflecting on the past, making goals for the future, and pondering what may come. The blog also has a pretty big anniversary next month – five years – and that feels significant.

I started this site as a food blog, a place to share recipes and the stories that held their hand. Through the act of making recipes for blog posts and then writing up and testing those recipes, I became a better cook and I gained confidence in the kitchen. In the beginning, that was enough for me.

everything’s going to be okay

great blue heron

I tend to become melancholy on December 31st. This last day of the year often feels like so many Sunday nights, when I feel sad to leave the wonderful weekend days behind to head into a brand new week filled with unknowns.

This year is different. I’m very okay with leaving 2014 behind.

This has been a tough year, overshadowed by family illness, death, and grief. In my career, I deal with death routinely, so I thought I’d be more prepared when February 27th arrived. I learned quickly, though, that much like becoming a parent, losing a parent is something that you simply can’t understand until you go through it yourself. I understand now. If there is a bright side to this experience, it’s that I feel that I am a more understanding physician for it.

But the year also had many good parts, and I don’t want you to think that I’ve been sitting in a darkened room, withering away, not moving forward. For one thing, my father would have had no patience for that.

she took her name off the list

butter cookies | the merry gourmet

I’m sharing a butter cookie recipe with you today, a really simple and delicious cookie recipe. The recipe comes from Gourmet magazine (of course – all the good ones do), and I only tweaked it a tiny bit, not enough to really count.

But really, what I want to share with you is a story about my mother.

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My mother is a teacher. She is retired now, but once a teacher, always a teacher. During my early school years, she taught sixth grade, but the year I started fourth grade, she transferred to my school and taught the fourth grade class across the hall from mine. The teachers switched classrooms for part of the day – or maybe the students did – so for some hours of the day, my mother was my teacher.

I was so proud of my mother for being a teacher. It was exhilarating having her stand in front of my classroom, and I loved being known as “Mrs. George’s daughter.” I loved watching her teach, but it terrified me when she called on me. I didn’t want to disappoint her by not knowing the answer, and I definitely didn’t want her to think I was stupid. It’s only fitting that the one time I can vividly recall her calling on me in class is the time that I got tongue-twisted and stammered out an answer that made no sense.

My mom continued to teach for a long time after that, until May 2010, when she retired. I think she intended to travel with my father, to spend the daylight hours photographing birds and flowers, to enjoy her grandchildren, and to relax. Instead, my grandmother was diagnosed with lymphoma, moved in with my parents, and my mother became her caregiver.