Love

quilting.jpgIn the French family, we sleep under quilts. Even when a duvet is involved, a quilt absolutely must lie atop it. We are used to the weight of them, and among the five of us, own around three dozen. Each one of these was handmade, stitch-by-stitch, by my mother. To get an idea of the scope of this, she quilts daily, and a single quilt takes over a year to complete. She does not believe in idle hands, or more precisely, cannot relate to them. Last year I found a melon-sized rubber band ball sitting on her desk, held it up to my brother and asked, simply, “Why?” “Because,” he said, “It’s what she does. She makes things.”

My whole life I have slept under one or another of my mother’s quilts, some of which were blue ribbon winners in the Bishop County fair. I dragged them to boarding school in Canada, college in Scotland, then Boston, and back to California again. During a Laura Ingalls Wilder phase, I began to pretend I was huddled up beneath one on the back of a covered wagon. I still like to imagine this when I can’t fall asleep.

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50dove.jpg My husband Mike points out that the room goes silent as I watch a quivering gooey strand of icing bridge a hunk of pastry being pried apart by delicate hands in an Entenman's commercial. And when a pool of thick, rich Dove chocolate swirls around and folds itself magically over a brick of vanilla ice cream, my eyes glaze over. Then, when the caramel and chocolate of a Milky Way is fully exposed in delectable close up, my jaw goes slack. He tells me to face it: these commercials are, for me, like watching porn. Yes, I embarrassedly admit that I have fallen prey to the sexualized enticements of sugary things. 

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emily_fox.jpgCongratulations, you’re pregnant – and for the first time since you were eight, you can eat whatever you want! Because you’re with child and therefore eating for two! And you are supposed to be a little insane from the hormones! So when you decide you must have half a jar of peanut butter for a snack, you only have to shrug helplessly and say, “I can’t help it – the baby loves peanut butter!” as though the kid were tapping out some kind of Morse Code on the inside of your belly.

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 Juliet Maeve Scott,
December 28th, 2007
6 lbs 2

Everyone smiles indulgently at you and touches you kind of inappropriately on your belly area and tells you what a blessing the whole thing is and you agree because it is indeed nothing short of a blessing to be able to order rice pudding after lunch with no pangs of guilt whatsoever.

Sure, you can’t have sushi, but there are so many other perks: cookies and pizza and macaroni and cheese (for the calcium, of course) and real soda and cupcakes, glorious cupcakes, which you can even have for breakfast if you want and nobody bats an eyelash. I was thrilled for many reasons to learn I was pregnant, but I cannot deny that chief among them was the Get Out of Jail Free card that I’d been looking for my whole adult life.

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bartono.jpg We’d finally made it all the way to Park Slope, it was less than warm, and I’m pretty sure I had mascara on my forehead from frantically trying to fix my make-up on the subway.  You can imagine my dismay when the only boy I really wanted to see on my trip to New York wasn’t even home.  But we couldn’t just call him!  It would be much better if we ‘just happened to be in the neighborhood’.  “They can’t be far. Their car is here!” But how were we gonna kill an hour in the middle of residential nowhere in 20 degree weather?   That’s when we found it.  BAR TANO.  A little haven of happiness with pressed tin walls and a zinc bar.

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fish.jpgBettie One sang like a bird and dressed like a pirate and sent my libido into overdrive. She was an intoxicating beauty with a multitude of talent. But she didn’t have a talent for food presentation.

One dinner in particular stands out. Maybe “stands out” is the wrong way to put it. “Haunts me” is more like it. 

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