how sweet this world can be

True Brews
Around here, near Seattle, it generally doesn’t turn summer until after the 4th of July. We live through June-uary, listening to other folks complain about the constant drizzle and gloomy skies. In my mind, I’m saying, “And, since it’s this way every summer, could you possibly stop?” Generally, it turns warm and sunny on July 5th. Put it on the calendar at the beginning of the year. You can count on it.

But this year, this June, has been gloriously unexpected. Warm, sunny, delightful — this summer has helped the pea vines grow higher than the 8-foot tall deer fence around our garden! We’re beside ourselves around here. (Today it’s raining. It has been for a couple of days. It didn’t take long for the complaining to start raining down too.)

However, if the complaining for June drowns out the sound of the rain pattering down outside, just wait until next week. Next week it is going to be — wait for it — 90 degrees in Seattle!

(Anyone living near Seattle is now fainting.)

Our solution for hot weather? Sundresses. Working in the garden before 8 am. Trips to KVI beach with picnics and bottles of ice water. And more homemade strawberry soda from Emma Christensen’s wonderful new book, True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home.

Folks, this book is wonderful. It’s sweet and spiky and wonderfully colorful. Lucy cannot get enough of it. We made strawberry soda — so easy — together and now she begs to make more soda every day. Me? I love the section on kombucha (I’m going to start brewing it soon). And people, there is recipes for sake, mead, cider, and a gluten-free ale.

This is our summertime book, to be sure.

Here are some other stories and words I have been loving lately.

My friend MJ wrote a devastating piece about losing her father to dementia. Somehow, it’s a food piece too.

I adore Alana Chernila. She’s smart, funny as hell, and dedicated to making great food for her family. Her recent piece, begging culture to stop photoshopping models and telling young women that they need to devote their time to reducing their belly fat, left me cheering.

“And I’m sure you’ll agree that if we can do anything to raise a generation of people who aren’t wildly distracted by their own faults every time they pass by a window, we should absolutely do it. Imagine what they could do with all that energy they would inevitably WASTE on trying to make themselves look like your stupid magazine covers. We’re going to need all that extra brain power in these coming years.”

Go, Alana. (Also, with this piece on why we write and putting what feels urgent into the world.)

Luisa at Wednesday Chef wrote a heartbreaking beautiful piece about being in the same sacred spot each year, looking back at her life, seeing her former miserable self, and feeling the joy coursing through her now. “Maybe one day in the future you will look back at these days and wonder how you were ever this happy. Maybe. Probably. But for now, it is everything.”

When I put that piece on Twitter, a reader sent back this David Budbill poem entitled “Sometimes.” It’s just so, so right.

On the food front.…

We can’t wait to make Melissa Clark’s lamb meatballs with yogurt dipping sauce.

Did you know that one of Nora Ephron’s favorite cookies was made in Seattle? Now I have to make these peanut butter sandwich cookies from Dahlia Bakery, but without gluten.

I’m excited to try these gluten-free nut crackers from Green Kitchen Stories. (Do you know them? So good!)

I have been wanting to make this nuts-seeds-whole grains gluten-free bread from My New Roots for months. Now that I’m directing you to it, I think I need to make it today!

Finally, quite a few of you have been writing to say how much you’re enjoying cooking from our cookbook together on the weekends. We direct you to a recipe in the book every Friday. (Psst. Tomorrow’s the antipasti buffet!) If you don’t have the cookbook yet, may we suggest you buy yourself a copy of Gluten-Free Girl Every Day? Also, if you have been enjoying the book, think about writing a review on Amazon. Other people might find it helpful!

Thanks, all. I hope it’s warm and sunny where you are. Or maybe gloomy and raining. Mostly, I hope you’re enjoying it. To quote David Budbill, “because,

I know in the next minute or tomorrow all this may be
taken from me, and therefore I’ve got to say, right now,
what I feel and know and see, I’ve got to say, right now,
how beautiful and sweet this world can be.”