“Stacey’s Emergency” Brown Butter Pecan Brownies

by Cara Nicoletti on September 29, 2014

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One morning, about two weeks after September 11, 2001, my mom did something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. My sister and I were eating cereal at the kitchen counter before school, and like every morning, my mom had The Today Show on the tiny kitchen TV. That TV was almost always on when she was in the kitchen, the hum of All My Children in the background while she made lunch, Oprah while she prepared dinner, Jeopardy or Seinfeld right before we sat down to eat. No one, including her, was ever really watching it. Those weeks after 9/11 were the exception, though. We couldn’t peel our eyes away from the TV, despite the fact that we had already seen the same footage over and over and over again.

Finally, one morning, when the plane flew into the tower for the thousandth time, my mom marched over to the TV and said, “Enough.” She switched the channel to PBS, sat down at the counter with my sister and me, and we watched Sesame Street until it was time for school. That became the new tradition. Despite the fact that I was a sophomore in high school, I looked forward to watching Sesame Street every morning with her. It made my world feel calmer, safer.

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“All the Light We Cannot See” Cardamom Peaches

by Cara Nicoletti on September 2, 2014

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It seemed like the peaches were exceptionally sweet this summer—did anyone else notice that? The figs were bland, the tomatoes mealy, the cherries gone before I could make a judgment, but the peaches were perfectly juicy and sweet—a small consolation prize for a summer that was fast and rainy and shrouded in pre-apocalyptic news. There was (is) Israel and Palestine, Russia and Ukraine, Christians being chased from Mosul, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Syria in general, Ebola in Africa, race riots in Ferguson, 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, plane crashes, bombs, volcanoes, floods. Not that you needed any reminding.

There has been a heaviness in my heart these past few months, one that made me feel not-quite-right about posting here, one that nagged at me and said “this does not matter.” But I’m here because this is normalcy, a safe place that I need, a distraction that maybe we all do.
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“The Vacationers” Pasta with Capers and Anchovies

by Cara Nicoletti on August 14, 2014

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I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I updated Yummy Books! It’s amazing how quickly time flies when you’re laying on the beach tanning, and drinking beer on rooftops, and reading in hammocks, and eating colorful homemade popsicles.

At least, I assume this is true. I know that a lot of you are doing these things, because I’m living vicariously through you, obsessively checking your Instagram feeds. I’ve spent most of the summer either in front of a computer or behind a meat counter, and I’ve got the creepy pale legs and dead eyes to prove it. This summer hasn’t been all bad, though. In between all of the work there have been a few shining moments.
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