Monday, May 27, 2019

Rain, Learning to Adult, and Family

We have had a crazy springtime, in that it's been so wet and cold. I know that April showers bring May flowers, but we are having all kinds of May showers that will bring June flowers. In addition to the cold wet weather it seems that we are also suffering from a prolonged cold & flu season. Mason started us off with a cold that had him in bed for two full days. Even though we weren't smooching, I managed to contract the same cold. Here's to keeping our fingers crossed that Dave doesn't contract it, but I am hearing the tell-tale signs of his sniffles and dry coughs. I made sure to pick up more nighttime cold medicine and cough drops.

Earlier this week, Placer High School hosted an Adulting Day for their graduating seniors. They asked for volunteers to teach the classes and though I signed up to teach more of a "Winning at Life" class, I was asked to teach a Basic Cooking Skills class. I taught five sessions to 25 awesome kids in each class. I was able to incorporate my "Winning in Life" when I explained that I was asked to teach cooking skills without actually cooking. The kids were bummed but I adapted and created a class that was interesting and fun. The feedback was all good, so I'll call it a success. I hope the school does this every year, it was really well received.

I'm super excited that I have a few days in Southern California planned the first week in June to spend with Michael and Sari. I can't wait to just hang out with them, to be able to talk, laugh, and just share some space. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to get to know him and possibly be a real family for the second half of our lives. More on that later.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mason at BerryFest 3029

This was Mason's 7th year cooking at BerryFest. This is one of our favorite events each year, not only because it's always on Mother's Day weekend, but also because we love strawberries!

Mason did a demo of strawberry banana bread cupcakes with bourbon chocolate ganache each day. At the age of 15, he doesn't even need to practice anymore. He has enough practice and polish, he just knows how to entertain people while cooking food.

I don't know how many more cooking demos there are with Mason in our future, but I hope however many we have left, they are the best, most fun ever.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Honey Festival

Going back to last week in terms of our lives, Mason did two cooking demos at the Honey Festival in Woodland, this is one of our favorites events. My mom has a fondness for bees and I have a fondness for honey. The promotion for the Honey Festival did a phone interview with Mason and I thought it would be fun share.

How do you utilize honey in your dishes?
I love honey! So many people think of it as a dessert ingredient when in fact, it adds so much depth of flavor to savory dishes and is excellent for texture. It thickens sauces, the sweetness can be tempered with bold garlic and onion flavors, it also compliments spicy, and of course, it adds sweetness without adding processed sugar.

Are you particular about the different types of honey when cooking? Do they have noticeably different flavor profiles?
I'm not super particular unless it's an infused honey, then the infused flavor comes into play. If it's infused with lavender and the flowery flavor is not desired in my curry, then I will want to use something purer. Local is always preferred. 

Have you tasted or used local honey in your dishes? If so, what is your favorite and why?
Okay, this is not necessarily the answer with the most technique behind it, but I love Miller's whipped honey. It is like honey butter, but it's just honey and it is AMAZING on a hot bagel. It stays put and doesn't melt and drip as fast as raw honey does.

What’s your favorite thing to taste/see/experience at the Honey Festival? Why?
I think it is completely unfair to ask a chef and foodie to pick a favorite food! It's like asking a parent which child is their favorite and even though they may have one, they would never admit it out loud! I do love Fire Brothers 911 Sauce! For real, Kevin got that stuff right!

Mason Partak, 15
Chopped Junior Champion
Instagram - Mason Partak

On a completely different topic, I got this early in life, and I get it every day. I want to just be with you, I want to know where you like to grocery shop, what you love to eat. I want to watch TV with you all day, or go swing at the park. Let's bake a cake and eat it all! I hope you are so comfortable with me, you snore when you fall asleep on the couch. Let’s sit in silence together, comfortably. I want to laugh with you, laugh at the silliest thing! Want to? I want to have tough talks if it brings you peace. I love you and I love this life WITH YOU. If more people could find the ordinary the actual good stuff, they would realize that it's not about shiny or expensive, it's about who you are with - the people. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Getting Acquainted

Last week was pretty epic in terms of life events. Meeting Michael was something I had been waiting for for over 28 years and for all I knew, it could have been another five or ten years. I’m so glad it wasn’t one day longer than it was. 

Michael and I have been communicating almost daily and it is simply amazing. When I see his name and our photo pop up on my phone, my heart skips a beat, it’s surreal. What I know for sure is that I am so, so thankful that Michael is excited to get to know me, he is kind, smart, and funny. For something that, for all intents and purposes should be awkward and uncomfortable, it’s been incredibly easy. We talked about it and my take was two fold, first it’s my belief that when it’s right between two people, it’s not hard. What is right? To me, right is open communication, respect, and the sincere desire to be together. I have this with Dave in my marriage and it appears I have this with Michael. The second point is possibly Karma, it’s possible that the good choices, the many times we did the right things instead of the easy things are coming back around. I do believe we get back what we put out and if this is my reward, I’ll take it! I will say, I feel things that seem so odd to me, yet so normal. For example, I find myself thinking about him constantly, I want to know what he’s doing, where he’s going, how he lives, what kind of TV do he and his fiancĂ© Sari like to watch, does he have a favorite candy, does he like games & puzzles? It’s all so random but no matter what I’m thinking, all the while I want to hug and hold him. Then I get a little embarrassed and think, “He doesn’t even know me, why would he want me to hold him?” Could it be that missing piece, the physical touch that creates the deeper connection? I don’t know but I will continue with what I feel. It’s what I know and who I am, it’s all I can authentically offer. I feel so blessed, so lucky, so… I don’t know what other words describe what it means to me to have this opportunity to know this man.

Many people have asked me how Mason is taking all of this and for the most part, he’s been great. He was so excited to have Michael and Sari in our lives but I can also see that he doesn’t necessarily love that my attention is not all his. Mason is an incredible young man, he is confident and smart and he knows how deeply I love him. I am sure we will all be fine, no, better than fine, we are building an amazing family of 5!