seven fun things

I’ve been craving sourdough bagels so I made some.

I changed the recipe a little — whey instead of dried milk powder, half the wheat gluten, molasses instead of barley malt syrup. To one batch I added cinnamon and raisins; the other batch I made into plain and everything. I’d forgotten how simple the recipe is, which was a nice surprise. Bonus: they made the whole family very happy.

So on the off-chance you’re looking for a weekend baking project, there you go.


I’ve never worked in a restaurant kitchen, but I’ve heard, according to people who have, that this show is about as real as it gets. 

And then I watched it and was like, Seriously? Kitchens are like that? So I asked one of my fellow bakers who’s had a bunch of kitchen jobs and she was like, Oh, it’s real all right. I used to cry almost every day after work. What the heck?! (Thank goodness Magpie — diner and kitchen — is definitely not that sort of restaurant.) Anyway, my husband and I tore through the show and now he says “behind” when he crosses behind me in the kitchen. 


Not a fun thing (but it could be . . . because readers might leave lots of good comments and then you’d get ideas, too): I need a good book.

So I can lose myself like this kid does.

Help me out?


I first saw these mesh food covers on Gavin’s YouTube channel. I thought they’d be too clunky, or else they’d float away in the slightest breeze, but then the flies started getting to me and I decided to give them a try. 

Turns out, they’re pretty darn wonderful! I use them to cover my cheeses while they’re air drying, but I also plop them down on anything else that needs protection: pies, bread, a plate of food set aside for a working child. My pack came with six — I keep two accessible in the kitchen (they cumple-fold like umbrellas) and store the remaining ones as backup for when these eventually break, or to share with friends. Because you never know when someone might need a food umbrella.


If you haven’t yet seen it, check out this 8-minute NYTimes opinion video piece about journalist and author John Hendrickson and his disability: stuttering. 

Take the time to watch it.


One of my friends shared this story (Katie the Prefect by Joe Posnanski) on his Facebook page, saying, “I have used this specific piece of writing for many years in my nonfiction unit in ninth grade English. It is very much worth the time!” I don’t usually read recommended-on-Facebook articles, but I’d just made myself a cup of coffee so I decided to give it a go. Maybe it’d be good?

And it was good. Very, very good.


I watched this little clip about making croissants the French way, curious to see how it differed from our method at Magpie.

Turns out, our method is actually quite similar, though we brush on the egg wash, not spray it, and we have to pound out our butter blocks by hand. (Oh, to have access to ready-made, flat rectangles of butter!)


Happy weekend, friends!

P.S. This weekend, my husband and I are hitting the theater hard. First up, opening night for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime in Winchester. I loved the book (I’ve never seen the show), and my co-star from Outside Mullingar is playing the father, hip-hip! And then the next night, we’re going to the opening production of Give Us Good at Silk Moth Stage. Some of our friends are meeting us there, and I’m taking cheese and wine for the pre-show live music/picnic time.

Can’t wait!

This same time, years previous: some big news, has anyone made grape liqueur?, a hernia, hip-hip!, home again, the proper procedure for toweling off after a shower, outside eating, calf wrangling, regretful wishing.


  • Anna C.

    “A Psalm for the Wild-Built” followed by “A Prayer for the Crown-Shy” by Becky Chambers. Ostensibly, these are science fiction novellas, but her writing and character development are so beautiful that the science fiction part is mostly just a framework to hang really thoughtful and introspective explorations of being human.

  • VA

    Tim and I both enjoyed Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. Highly recommend! At the library, but usually a waitlist. I also loved Jayber Crow.

  • Elva

    Just reading your comments, and I can add that I really loved Jayber Crow too.
    Also, due to your recommendation, I am watching The Bear. The language is a little alarming (I try to save that kind of talk to when I get crushed by a cow or something), but I must say it makes me feel that I am doing a great job managing my farm all by myself when compared to the absolute chaos of that restaurant!!

  • mommychef

    Five Tuesdays in Winter, short stories, by Lily King, I tore through it so maybe get it at the library? A safe bet for me is if Ann Patchett likes it, I will too. Mary Lawson’s books are also excellent. Crow Lake, The Other Side of the Bridge and Road Ends all kind of follow each other (but that’s not 100% essential). A Town Called Solace, her latest, stands alone. Not exactly light reads but GOOD stories.

  • ccr in MA

    I just read The Change, by Kirsten Miller, and enjoyed the story of women coming into extra powers in menopause, and using them to go after a bad guy (or guys?). Take a look at it!

  • Jenna

    Have you read the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante? There are four books in the series and the first is called My Brilliant Friend. They deal with female friendships, families, growing older, professional success or wasted talent, and finding your place in the world. The characters feel so real. When the pandemic hit, I was unable to focus on reading for a few months and these are the books that pulled me out.

    I’d also recommend author Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver and Madeline Miller for both Circe and Song of Achilles

  • Melissa

    I’m currently reading My Antonia out loud to my teens. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Also, I highly recommend Once Upon a Farm by Rory Feek. There are parts that will make you weep ( in a good way). And finally, my all time fav- Jayber Crow by Wendell Barry. Just read it.

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