After I wrote here last, sighing into the satisfaction of being home, we went flying off again.
It wasn’t planned. We only found out a few days before we left that we were headed to New York City for the week.
This story amazes me. And goodness knows, I love stories. But in this case, I’m not going to tell it. It’s not that there’s anything to hide. There’s so much light and love and friendship to the story that brought us to New York, all four of us. But telling it here doesn’t feel right. It feels like crowing or bragging or look at me. Suffice it to say that a writer we admire deeply turns out to love our work too. This writer has been reading this site since 2005, before Danny arrived, before Lucy was born, before we had written any of our cookbooks. And for this writer, we feel like family. As a celebration of our connection, this writer flew our family to New York, put us up in a lovely hotel, arranged for cars everywhere, and sent us shopping with the assistant to make a five-course dinner party for this writer’s best friend.
We will never forget this week.
Most days, we don’t think about the legacy of this site or how we seem to other people. We put our heads down and work. (Or we think, some days, man, life has been too busy. I miss putting up new recipes. Let’s go back to it.) It’s the joy of finding the stillness of story in the dancing of our days that compels me to this keyboard again. It’s joy that keeps Danny moving in front of the stove. We love doing our work. What other people think of it is none of our business.
Sometimes, however, there are these ephemeral connections. I get a letter from someone who tells me a story and drops in a sentence like this: “My family and I were sitting around the dinner table talking about you and Danny, as we so often do.” And I stop and think, “Wait, what? There are people sitting around talking about us at the dinner table?” Or we meet someone in a farmers’ market in a different city and she stops, looks at Lucy, looks up at us, and gets tears in her eyes. Now that it is almost a decade since I started writing this site, I hear from young women who say, “I read you first in college. I made my first dish for my husband after we got married from your cookbook. And now I’m feeding my baby gluten-free food I make myself, thanks to you.” Seriously, folks. I don’t know what to say.
It’s all about the connections for me and Danny. Even when the connection lasts as long as a sentence in an email or 5 days in New York. Even when it’s a connection we have to a city far away from ours.
Man, we love being in New York.
(It was bitterly cold, so cold that Lucy cried walking three blocks, “The wind! It’s attacking my cheeks and making them sting and it just won’t stop. Make it stop!” Still, at home, she talked only about how much she loved being in New York. Memories form themselves, leaving out the unpleasant moments sometimes.)
When we returned home, I pulled out a book I hadn’t read in awhile, a collection of essays called Approaching Eye Level by Vivian Gornick. (I so loved reading her interview on the nature of memoir and feminism and language in Believer magazine.)
She writes about New York as a character, in its intimacy and loneliness in a way I’ve never read anyone else capture. She’s flinty and unflinching, tender and marvelously present, even to her own sadness. It was this description that reminded me most of our time on the streets of New York this visit.
“The street keeps moving, and you’ve got to love the movement. You’ve got to find the composition of the rhythm, lift the story from the motion, understand and not regret that all is dependent on the swiftness with which we come into view and pass out again. The pleasure and the reassurance lie precisely in the speed with which connection is established and then let go of. No need to clutch. The connection is generic not specific. There’s another piece of it coming right along behind this one.”
Life goes on.
New York, your skies were high and clear between the buildings this visit. There were cold streets, a morning of snow, twinkling lights, and an incredible selection of foods to buy. You gave us slow drives through the Village, a case full of cheeses from around the world, and candlelight in incredible restaurants. New York, you offered us so much.
I’m grateful for these connections.
Here are some of the places in New York where we ate safely and well this trip.
377 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
339 Greenwich Street
New York, NY
Restaurant Marc Forgione
134 Reade Street
New York, NY 10013
254 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011