the words that burrow in

avocado hummus


Last night, at dinner, Lucy asked us: “What is a family?” The question came as we ate homemade chicken strips (the recipe is in our new cookbook), avocado hummus dip, and yellow rice with handfuls of fresh herbs. We were contemplating what we’d do next, after dinner. Family drawing time? Or family yoga? (They’re both good wind-down activities before bed.) And so she asked about family.

Danny said, “We three. We’re a family.” She nodded.

And then I said, “But family can be a lot of things. They come in all different sizes. Some families have moms and dads. Some have two moms. Some have two dads. Some are just a kid and one parent. Or two people who love each other.” She knows one of every kind of those families, so this was no big deal to her.

“Besides,” I said. “Family is really however you define it. You know the people we love, the ones we just know we want in our lives forever? They’re family.” So the three of us started listing, and listening to each other’s lists, of all the people we love in the world, the ones we’ll be seeing in New York and Italy in the coming weeks, the ones we’ll hug on book tour. There will be piles of postcards with Lu’s scrawls and hand-painted strawberries moving through the mail to many places. They will all go to family.

Sometimes family is someone you’ve seen once but that person stays with you forever. Or someone you’ve never met but his or her words have burrowed into your heart. You still can’t convince me that Holden Caulfield is not a real person. That crumby kid is family to me.

We’re feeling damned lucky. Today, it feels like everyone is family, really. (After all, as Carl Sagan said, “We are made of star stuff.”)


Here are some of the words we are reading, what has burrowed down into us. 


Have you seen this genuinely moving video about the effect of family in this world? Saying Yes to Love.

These are the lines of a story. How one wonderful woman turned the sight of her imperfect belly into the gift of acceptance. “Our physical presence here matters, no matter its shape.”

I’m so excited about Ashley Rodriguez’s book-to-be, Dating My Husband. (Also, hello? Ice cream cake with homemade hot fudge.)

And I’m thrilled that Bea is writing another cookbook.

“Being genuine and honest makes me happy.” That Jason Collins — and the person who helped him with this piece for Sports Illustrated — is one heck of a good writer. I didn’t expect to be so moved by this.

I read this Henry MIller quote the other day at just the right moment:

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”

Our friend Megan writes about family dinner and quotes one of my favorite blogs, Dinner A Love Story: ““I found that if I was eating well, there was a good chance that I was living well, too.” (If nothing else, go over for Megan’s avocado dressing. Goodness!)

One of the reasons we love our crazy little town — this was posted on the community bulletin board the other day.

FOUND: Riding Mower
The neighbors are stumped. We have a riding mower parked in our ‘hood and have no idea who it belongs to. Should you be missing a rider mower or forgot where you parked your slow ride, please respond and I’ll be happy to share the location.
Tom C

I love that Amanda’s great date with her husband was going to this incredible plant sale.

Dig this chick? Yes I do. I wish we could have gone on this road trip with them.

Nothing has been making me laugh harder this week than our friend Kim’s ebook, Sharp Knives, Boiling Oil: My Year of Dangerous Cooking with Four-Year-Olds. Oh my god, that woman can write.

I admit it. I’m a hippie. I’ve been wanting to start making homemade kombucha and Sarah showed me how. (If you have never read Sarah’s writing at The Yellow House, please read this piece about her family and her grandmother’s pantry. It’s one of my favorite food writing pieces online.)

* * *

We’d like to thank Amazon for naming our book one of the best cookbooks of May!

More than that, we’d like to thank the number of you who have sent us photographs of copies of our new cookbook in your homes. Some of you have written that you read the entire book on the day it arrived! And best of all, you’re telling us about the recipes you are making and loving. Oh, keep that coming. That’s our favorite part. We love imagining these dishes we created ending up on your table.


Finally, we really love this avocado hummus, inspired by Gaby Dalkin’s great new book, Absolutely Avocados. People, it’s an entire book of avocado recipes. The avocado Caesar dressing? Phenomenal. This one? Even better.

You’re going to have to buy Gaby’s book for the recipe, but here’s what we did. We took some of the smoked paprika hummus from our new cookbook (you can use any hummus you have available to you) and mixed it up with 2 ripe avocados, fistfuls of cilantro, and lots of fresh lime juice and salt in the food processor. Need I say more? It’s creamy like pudding, with a strong avocado taste. It’s not guacamole. It’s something more refined. Oh my. Thank you, Gaby.

And thank you all for being part of our family.


15 comments on “the words that burrow in

  1. Lori

    Love this post. Just ordered your new book from my favorite local bookstore and am so excited to get my hands on it….Happy Friday!

  2. MrsK

    Brava! I would also like to nominate my two-person household as a family: some ladies cannot be mommies, but we can love pretty darn hard all the same! 🙂

  3. Jeanne Osnas

    I just love your blog. Your whole-grain bread and a whole-grain tweaking of your pizza dough recipe have become staples in our house, and we’re so grateful. I’ve also picked up a few new books for my little girl based on your recommendations of Lu’s favorites! I’m a biologist, and with a colleague author the blog The Botanist in the Kitchen. I’ll be our perspective on the evolutionary history of gluten will be of interest to your readers:

  4. merry jennifer

    A wonderful post, Shauna. I’ve got Kim’s book on my Kindle but haven’t read it yet, and now I’m kicking myself for not digging in sooner.


    have Kim’s book on my iPad and will be reading it on the plane to Italy – every. single. time. i come here, i fall in love all over again – your words, your words Shauna . . .

  6. Joy

    I have your book! And, First let me say, I love it! I snuggled on the couch with it last night and this morning, soaking it all in. As I am reading, Shauna, it is like you are talking to me. It is personal. It is beautifuI. And you have convinced me to buy that scale, finally, which is no easy feat. I’ve been fighting this for such a long time. I can be so resistant to change. As your words burrow in, I am remembering those days when I was a Mother to two little ones, the smells and sounds, in our sunlit farmhouse kitchen, where people dropped in unannounced for food and …four sticky hands into everything. I wouldn’t trade those delicious days for anything. Sometimes noisy, sometimes calm, always comfortably messy and lived in. Things change. This is evolving. Now, I am divorced with young adult kids. l live in this teeny apartment with a hobbit sized kitchen and an electric stove (argh!). This kind of change is not exactly easy. But…I will invite some friends over for a feast of moroccan lamb burgers and quinoa stuffed peppers and we will play in my kitchen. Maybe some hummus and flatbreads too…mix and match ethnic flavors. All the recipes in Gluten-Free Girl Everyday. I love the FEEL LIKE PLAYING sections in your book! I need to play; we all need to play. Food does matter. Family matters. It is rare when both of my children are here together with me. It always involves food though, handmade lovingly. I’m gonna make that apple pie for my son for his 25th birthday. What could be more loving than apple pie? He will be very happy. So, thank you Shauna, Danny, and Lu…your book is right here in the kitchen with me where I am cooking and healing and welcoming a new way of life. I consider you family, though we’ve not formally met.

  7. Sarah

    You are too kind, Shauna. Keep me up to date on your fermentation explorations! —-S

  8. Sallie Tierney

    Initiated the new book! Made shepherd’s pie this weekend and not a scrap is left. Delish! Want you to know that you, Danny, and Lucy are part of my family though we have never met. I recall fondly all the early blog posts – the announcement of “Little Bean” – tears and joy – the wonderful foods we have explored “together”.

  9. myste

    beautiful post! so sorry to have missed you at powells last night, i had to work. hopefully you will be returning to portland again soon!

    congrats on getting started with kombucha – home fermenting is so rewarding. i would love to share some of our home-made kimchi with you next time you are in PDX. making kinchi is such a simple and satisfying process, and such a great way to eat lots of raw veggies!

    also, so glad you are teaching lu that couples without children are families too!

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