Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Club Snacks

In my experience, book club is basically an excuse to throw a low-maintenance themed girls night. The women in my group are impressive and kind and always thoughtfully read the book whatever the selection, so I don’t feel a ton of pressure to choose the perfect book. No, for me the real secret to book club is coming up with clever and delicious snacks. I’m pretty sure that’s the secret to any club. So I made a list of a dozen of my favorite book/snack combinations below!

b perry

Books and food pairings I actually used when it was my turn for a book selection
  • Dandelion Wine: In this book dandelion wine is one of the rites of summer. So I choose Gravenstein apple cider since that is one of my rites of fall.
  • Dad is Fat: Jim Gaffigan has this bit about kids snacks that are healthy in no way, but they’re “organic” so we somehow feel better. I went to Trader Joe’s and bought four kinds of organic kids crackers and cookies. 
  • The Trouble With Poetry: Ideally, you’d serve coffee for this poetry reading, but since we don’t drink coffee I brought a bunch of other drinks you could get at a coffee shop 
  • Upstairs at the White House: a small snacking spread including fruit gushers, since this book was written by the White House chief usher. 
  • As You Wish OR The Princess Bride (which Chris and I read together and then had a date night in where we ate these snacks and watched The Princess Bride) Chips of insanity, mutton lettuce tomato sandwiches, bottle of wits (IBC root beer) chocolate cake balls shaped like a Miracle Max pill, and peanut (Princess) buttercups.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Grandma's House

Please note: not a single picture of our mothers in this photo batch. I don’t know how I let that one slide… but there is a picture of Great Grandma Stokes, so that’s something.

Cinnamon raisin toast smells like my Grandma Horman. Well, not her exactly, but that smell transports me to some quiet early morning in the deep 1990’s, when it was just me and my Grandma having breakfast at her big kitchen table. My Grandma Stokes, on the other side, smells like browning butter. Whenever I’m making a roux at home, if I close my eyes I can see her standing by the oven in her slippers making pancakes or toffee or caramel (butter is the glorious beginning to most of her signature treats). 

We’ve taken Jack to the motherland before, but on this particular trip I was extra aware of the tastes and sounds and smells that will become his childhood memories at Grandma’s. I don’t know what will remind him of his grandmothers, but he’ll have a lot of great options. It may be the taste of chocolate chip cookies, the way the desert smells when it rains, or the sound of the grand pianos. And I know it’s a silly thing to wonder about, but just the thought of it makes life feel fresh and sweet to me. 

b perry 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ice Cream Crawl

When I planned our last date, I made Chris sit through a three-hour lecture that I wanted to go to, because that's the kind of beautiful and selfish spouse I am. When Chris planned our next night out, he came up with three different agendas that he knew I would love, kept them all a secret, and then an hour before the babysitter arrived, gave me the sweetest Choose Your Own Adventure possible. Because that's the kind of handsome, selfless spouse he is.  

Chris' first plan was an ice cream crawl in downtown Palo Alto. Palo Alto is perfect for this because there are more ice cream options within walking distance than we could reasonably consume in one night. And in fact, while there were six destinations on our list, we only made it to two: Cream for cookie sandwiches and Palo Alto Creamery for chocolate shakes. It was barely a crawl, but I guess you have to barely crawl before you can eat so much ice cream you puke in the streets, or whatever. 

b perry

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Upstairs At the White House

a picture I stole from Amanda from our ten year high school reunion, which omg was last week

Sometime during law school, I stopped reading for pleasure. The Brittney from ten years ago would be ashamed of what I had become, but if that chick said anything to my face I would just laugh at her because omg, why are you perming your hair youareridiculous. A lot can change in a decade.

In 2005 I was a senior in high school, and when grownups asked what I was going to do with my life I told them I wanted to be the head chef at the White House. I still consider this a totally viable career option at this point, by the way. Teenage Brittney repeated that ambition a thousand times, but it had been forever since that almost-life crossed my mind. Then last month, my mom mailed me a magazine article about the current head chef at the White House. “Remember your plan to become the White House chef? Who knew you would have been the first female?! Love, Mom.” Her note made me smile, remembering this version of myself that I had all-but forgotten.

And do you know what else I was going on in my life ten yeas ago? I was a voracious reader. And that girl is finally making a comeback. I have to carve out the time, but I am, and I feel like I am uncovering a version of myself that I loved and missed. I just finished reading Upstairs At the White House. It's a fascinating book in its own right, but this week it almost feels like a talisman, protecting a past that I might have abandoned. I crawl into the bed at my parent's house with my White House book, and remember the 17-year-old Brittney crawling into bed with her book. She wanted to move to DC, she dreamed about the courses she'd one day serve the First Family, and she permed her hair like an idiot.

b perry

p.s. related: Goodreads. I love that place, and if you're on there we should be friends immediately.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Favorite Five Victoria Moments

After Seattle, we took the ferry to Victoria. It was Jack's first international trip, and my first time in my Grandma Horman's homeland. When we first arrived, I was just grateful to step off that boat with my bruised and battered worldview that "I don't get motion sick." Then we checked into our hotel and we never wanted to leave. But we were only there for 24 hours. So we did leave. 24 hours later.

1. Magnolia Hotel and Spa
These wonderful people gave us an early check in to an upgraded room, and the first hour in Victoria was bliss because I was so deliriously excited. The view, the bathtub, the chocolates, the crib, the central location, the lunch recommendations, the many elderly guests who fawned over Jack, the staff who insisted that no one complained about Jack crying at 2:00 in the morning. I wished we spent the entire week in this superlative room.

2. Red Fish Blue Fish 
Best fish and chips I’ve ever had. Full stop.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Favorite Five Seattle Moments

Last week we went to Seattle, and now I feel like I understand all my friends from Seattle a little bit better (I’ve never travelled anywhere and thought that). For those lucky ducks who follow Chris’ hilarious blog, you know it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns for the Perrys, but it did have some great moments.

1. Eating freshly fried mini-donuts in Pike Place Market
Our first stop of the trip was lunch at Pike Place. Before we settled into a couple Beecher’s grilled cheeses, we impulse bought donuts from a little stand. Maybe they were delicious, I have already forgotten, but we cherished those omg-I-finally-have-food- in-my-mouth donuts. It was a sweet, private moment, even though we were surrounded by commotion and neon and fish and cherries. My senses were completely overwhelmed, and it was completely wonderful.

2. The Seattle Public Library
There is one point of intersection in the Venn diagram of Chris’ low points and Brittney’s high points, and it’s the Seattle Public Library. I could have spent hours reading under those windows, but apparently it’s a different experience when you have a boisterous, beautiful nine-month old strapped to your chest.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Breakfast Tradition

I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes one year ago this week. I was a borderline case, so I didn’t have to take medication or insulin, but I did monitor my blood sugar four times a day and limited carbohydrates and sugars. Thankfully the diabetes went away after Jack was born, but many, many tears were shed at this diagnosis. A breakfast restricted to fifteen carbohydrates is a perfectly fine way to spend a morning devoid of hope, but that’s not what I want from my life.

Sure, a nice omelette and breakfast salad (which exist, btw) is fine, but hollandaise is like falling in love and getting to eat it, as they say. Chris knows this about me, and last year after a difficult Thursday night with Jack, he suggested we go get breakfast together. That morning we had arroz con leche, breakfast salad, ruby red grapefruit, egg white and mushroom omelette, and eggs on an English muffin with bacon and avocado hollandaise. OBVIOUSLY. A week later, I asked if we could go again. Six months later my pancreas and I have really settled in to my favorite, far-from-fifteen-carbs, Friday morning, family tradition.

b perry