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June 1

I’d been planning to put up a post tonight about some meatballs that June has been into lately (MEAT! MEAT! she yells; I think you can imagine it). They’re delicious, served in broth with peas and grated Parmesan, ugly but molto Italian. But then, possibly because it is June 1st, the sun came out and the day got hot, and meatballs felt very wrong. Instead, first thing this morning, I texted a friend to propose a late afternoon trip to the beach with a picnic dinner for our two babies, who are really now toddlers.

And then Brandon and I ran into a couple of new friends and their two children at the farmers’ market, so I invited them, too. I am the least spontaneous person on Earth, so I had to mark the occasion. This post really could not be about meatballs. This is a post about the beach.

I’m from Oklahoma. Where I grew up, it is flat. I have no idea what it’s like to grow up near water, or islands, or mountains. Sometimes when we’re at the beach, or even just driving around town, I think to myself, WHOA! June is from Seattle! It sounds obvious, because it is, but I wonder how this place will shape her, what it will be like to grow up near the water, someplace where you can pick blackberries and catch your own Christmas Eve crab, someplace way up north, way out at the edge of the country.

Being out on book tour was incredible - thrilling and invigorating and heady and thank you all(!) for coming out and being there(!) - and it was also the longest I’ve been away from home in a couple of years. I’ve always loved to travel, and to travel alone, and I still do. I knew June and Brandon were fine, helped along by grandparents and friends, and I didn’t worry. I want her to have sturdy attachments to people who aren’t her parents. Plus, it was good to have time to sort of live my pre-June life again. I liked that life a lot.

But there was one big thing that I missed about having her around, and that’s this: being with a young child forces you to be radically present. You can’t zone out, replaying this morning or planning for tomorrow, when you’re at the beach with your kid, because while you’re zoning out, she’s going to put her sticky sandy hand in your friend’s Tupperware of roasted asparagus. You’ve got to stay there. You’re on. I’m glad for that, even if I’m not very good at it. My friends got some extra texture with their asparagus tonight.

It’s good to be home. 

P.S. Hey, Kirkland, I'll be at Parkplace Books this Tuesday night, June 3, at 7:00 pm. See you there?


Blogger Linz said...

Just simply inhaled your book. I laughed, I teared up and I loved every minute. Thanks for teaching a 27 year old about life.

10:54 PM, June 01, 2014  
Blogger Valeria said...

I recently travelled with a couple of friend and their beautiful, curious toddler and it was my first time. I could only imagine how hard being the parent of a small person is – as you say, being constantly there, present, listening to all words and requests, following him/her everywhere. It is exhausting I am sure, but it also felt somehow...healthy? Not sure how to describe it, but for someone who is also used to zone out quite often, it felt quite refreshing. I am eagerly waiting for the book to make it into my mailbox – can't wait to devour it and cook from it like I did with your first. x

11:33 PM, June 01, 2014  
Blogger shelley said...

Good gracious! These pictures are beautiful!

11:40 PM, June 01, 2014  
Anonymous Maja said...

So sweet! Your child is the sweetest ham it seems!

1:51 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Katherine London Notebook said...

I'm intrigued about meatball broth... It doesn't sound very appealing I have to confess, but anything molto italiano I'm up for.


5:59 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Monica said...

Just want to say that little one is such a doll! Enjoy your baby girl! : )

6:04 AM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Karen White said...

What an idyllic day at the beach and such beautiful photos too.

6:20 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Denise in PA said...

I just finished Delancey too! Another fabulous book, Molly. Thank you. Like your first one, I will read this one again and again (and I can't wait to try the recipes)!

7:11 AM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to your blog. I found it through your book. I am also from the flat land of Oklahoma. Not a bad place. I look forward to reading your posts!

8:03 AM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Elissa|PoorMansFeast said...

Oh June. Oh Mollie. So glad you're all together at the beach, with your sandy asparagus and your fabulous chapeau. xxx

8:04 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Zoomie said...

I was sorry to miss you here but Hawaii was a good second choice (just kidding!). June grows more adorable by the hour. How do you stand it???

8:32 AM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Love this. I'm sometimes not crazy about the phrase "Doesn't get better than that!" because so many things are so good: this moment here now with sandy-handed children at the beach, that time standing alone on a Queens subway platform in the biting cold listening to the Be Good Tanyas and thinking how good life is, crazy wedding dance parties and the pure sweet overwhelming relief of the end of labor and a quiet morning cup of coffee. THAT all said ... the kind of day you share here must rank pretty high up here. All that water, all those kids, all those friends.

I've been thinking a lot recently about how it might be possible to draw more of what I loved about my life before kids (and before farming) into all that I want to try out in our family life. So I loved getting a little glimpse of how you got that on your book tour.

8:46 AM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Kacie said...

I don't live here in Seattle anymore, but I was born here (and am visiting here now). Actually, my husband and I met your husband at Delancey this weekend... it's a slightly longer story than I feel like leaving here on this comment! I'm planning already to attend your reading in Portland at Powell's but since I'm staying in Kirkland I will plan to come say hi tomorrow as well! It took me until yesterday to really, finally, get to sit down with your new book and I was still reading it late last night! I couldn't put it down... finally had to because I was sharing a room with my three year old who saw me hiding under the covers with a flashlight and wouldn't stop asking questions. ;)

9:29 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Ileana said...

I love coming here.

9:35 AM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Karen said...

I've been reading your blog for years (almost a decade?) and this is the first time I've ever commented (shame on me!). But, we had our first babies around the same time and it's fun hearing about your (and June's) progress. This post got me (and that's not to say that the countless (!!!) recipes you've shared, and I've attempted, haven't). I couldn't agree with you more about being ever present around these toddlers. Part vigilance, sure (they move so fast now!), but mostly this gift of seeing the world as they do - front and center, right there, now. Phew. It's something! (Thanks for sharing so much of your journey!)

10:11 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Emily said...

Those sunglasses, that hat, those leggings. I...just...can't.

10:16 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Lynne said...

Beautiful! June is a very lucky little girl to have you for her mommy.

But don't forget to share the meatball recipe. It sounds divine, and I've been very into meatballs lately!

10:27 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Laurie B. said...

Thanks, Molly. You can write a great story! Loved your first book and now your second and can hardly wait for blog posts. Your love of food and honesty about how life feels at times gives us all permission to do the same.

10:41 AM, June 02, 2014  
OpenID biochemgal said...

I discovered last yr (and rediscovering it this yr) driving cross country that OK is gorgeous! I had to drive thru it diagonally and loved it. No one ever talks about how beautiful it is. Now flat, well, that's the panhandle of TX!

Looking forward to "Delancey" since I LOVED your first book and the comments have made me want to order it earlier than I had planned.

11:20 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger jopoke said...

I'm seemingly doomed to mid-west flatlands and sense the awe that comes with living in "geography"..incredibly envious. Missed you in Minneapolis, but pleased to visit you on Spilled Milk. Keep up your honest voice

11:24 AM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger PalmerGal said...

Just got Delancey and had to force myself to put it down and go to bed at midnight last night! I ate there once about 18 months after you opened, and since I haven't been to Seattle since, I haven't been back. We are planning a trip to WA this fall, and I will drag my husband with me this time. :) And June - what a cutie!!

11:48 AM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Randle said...

I know what you mean when you say "Wow, my kid is going to be from X city!" It's obvious, but weird to imagine. Can't wait to read you book. Lovely seaside photos!

12:01 PM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous burnttoast said...

The pictures of the line of toddlers on the beach took my breath away. They will be grown in what will seem like a flash, so being present in the moment is essential. So are as many spontaneous beach hangouts as possible!
Seattle seems a wonderful place to grow up in.

12:45 PM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Erin said...

I grew up in Seattle. Lived there until I left for college. For me, the water infiltrated my being and I can't be without it. Whenever I've tried to move away from the coast, things are never right.

Now, I've been in the Bay Area for 12 years and have a 6 and 4 year old. I think to myself, "I am raising Californians! They only know sunshine and year-round outdoor living. How will they ever be able to live anywhere else??" I'm sure they'll experiment moving away (it might even stick), but I know I'll never be able to. Sunshine and the coast!!

1:27 PM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger kt said...

Phooey, my girlie's Drama Banquet is tomorrow night or I'd stroll down the hill to meet you! Will check out other local signings...your girlie is looking quite fetching!

5:17 PM, June 02, 2014  
OpenID ciddyguy said...

291685899942Stumbled onto your blog through Jenny and DALS when she talked about your lastest book, Delancey and then mentioned your restaurant is in Ballard, which means you live/work in Seattle, well, I'm from Seattle too!

However, I live on Capitol Hill now, but may end up off the hill after just over 10 years here when I finally find a home to buy and suspect it could very well be in the Delridge area.

Anyway, love your writing, and your love of food and about life. This post is wonderful as it shows just how wonderful this area is, and I'm a native of the area, born and raised in fact but it never amazes me just how beautiful it can get when it is sunny out, mountains out in full force etc.

That final shot of June in side profile, just priceless. Enjoy her at this stage as best you can.

8:26 PM, June 02, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Extra texture with the asparagus - love it! Sand is just another condiment:)

8:41 PM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger Bullfrog Brown said...

Hunting 'high n low' for a recipe for a meatball broth .. sounds delicious ...

11:28 PM, June 02, 2014  
Blogger tinamaria said...

Lovely blog. We live in Melbourne Australia and our property has ups and downs, like life!! We also have a beach house and adore going there. Our two daughters loved the sand and the sea and their daughters also. It's just winter now and the beach takes on another aspect - dogs and walking. One dog, a Spanador and belonging to one of our daughters and her family loves swimming even in the cold but our German shepherd only took to the water when she. Lottie, saw Oscar swimming and of course had to do the same as he. Really enjoy your blog and am taking Delancey to Bali with us in few weeks when we take the whole family to a gorgeous villa there. June looks a delightful little girl and look forward to seeing more of her adventures.

12:10 AM, June 03, 2014  
Anonymous Kenda said...

Reading your latest book now. Are you planning a trip (book signing) to Florida anytime soon? Preferably Orlando? That's a funky, though very small, bookstore here that would be perfect.

6:51 AM, June 03, 2014  
Anonymous Machaela Brunner said...

It looks like you had a great day at the beach! the pictures are lovely

10:31 AM, June 03, 2014  
Blogger Raindog said...

I know that beach! You must have one of those highly coveted beach keys! Love these photos - I can almost feel the sun on my shoulders. Being present is a gift, freely given by children and animals, from whom we can learn much. Thanks for your awesomeness. :)

4:40 PM, June 03, 2014  
Blogger Wendy said...

I'm leaving for Italy tomorrow to pick up my baby girl who has been living there (looking after someone else's kids) for 5 months.

I bought Delancey for the plane ride.

super excited...

8:27 PM, June 03, 2014  
Blogger Melissa said...

I've been reading your blog for...forever it seems, probably four years now, and I just love the way write. I really loved this post cause you are so right! And you just wrote about it so beautifully. I have a 22 month old and he is busy and has no fear so I am on until he goes to bed and then I fall down on the couch and don't move for at least 30 minutes. I grew up in the Mojave desert and my son is growing on the coast of central CA, I wonder the same things you do about how this landscape will shape him and if he will appreciate it as much as I do. Thank you for sharing!

Also I'd really love to hear about those meatballs as I also have a little carnivore on my hands.

11:19 AM, June 04, 2014  
Anonymous Leah said...

Blackberries! Crab from the beach! Clamming! Yes. I think Seattle is a marvelous place to be from, indeed. Besides, it's almost Canada, to boot. And that's a lovely place indeed.

5:37 PM, June 04, 2014  
Blogger Rosie O said...

But I am looking forward to that meatball recipe!!

8:18 AM, June 05, 2014  
Anonymous Kristin said...

A picnic at the beach with kids sounds so fun ... until you do it. And then the kid drops their food in the sand, and gets sand on their hands and in their eyes, and then--worst of all--they get sand in your food. And then you realize that a picnic at the beach is one of those things that is better on paper than in real life.

1:26 PM, June 05, 2014  
Anonymous Lizy Tish said...

What a lovely day and I'm definitely with you on being "present" --- being a nanny to my niece and nephew (twins,age 2 1/2) has taught me that! Definitely a good way to help to not re-live the things that bothered you or spend too much time trying to control what's going to happen in the future.

4:43 PM, June 05, 2014  
Blogger Tara said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures thank you for sharing! I picked up Delancey and started reading it the other day. This is the first book of yours I am reading and I wasn't too sure how I would enjoy it. Please don't get me wrong, I enjoy your blog, but would the book be too much? I also tend to be more of a fiction book reader which is, of course, my issue. I'm less than a quarter of the way through and the verdict is in... LOVE IT! Thank you!!!!

9:27 AM, June 06, 2014  
Anonymous Karen White said...

Stopping by again to tell you that in the midst of reading 'Delancey' I found time to make the Chocolate Cupcakes from 'A Homemade Life'. Molly, they are the best chocolate cupcakes! I was going to be faithful to your recipe and use the chocolate glaze but in the end used up some white chocolate (to prevent me eating it) and did a frosting instead. And drizzled that with dark chocolate. Amazingly, two days later, there are still some left.
Here's link (I tried to embed but it wouldn't let me)

4:53 AM, June 07, 2014  
Anonymous Karen White said...

Oh and here's a link to my photo of the divinely delicious Coeur a la Creme.

4:56 AM, June 07, 2014  
Blogger Jaleen Kinser said...

I'm a Texas girl & I would relish any close access to the ocean (or water...). I also have a curly girlie named Emma Grace who is 1. I would tell you to relish every second because you will blink & she will no longer be little. Thanks for your books & Orangette, I am a book home cook fan!

4:45 PM, June 07, 2014  
Anonymous earthentrading said...

Good gracious! These pictures are beautiful!

1:43 AM, June 09, 2014  
Blogger Sonya said...

I loved your first book and I have read the 2nd in just about 3 days. As I was reading Chapter 15 and your
describing the Tomato corn salad, I thought to myself, "I hope this recipe is in here!' Yeah, it was. I'm so making this for our family picnic in July. I love your books &

4:11 AM, June 12, 2014  
Anonymous MOMSICLE VIBE said...

We dinner picnic on the beach a few nights per week weather permitting! I found that growing up here in Victoria, surrounded by water that I can't STAND being away from the ocean for long. I instinctively look to catch glimpses of it as I drive about town. I certainly couldn't live somewhere for any length of time with it out of sight (and sniffing range!). I often wonder if my girls will be as tied to this place as I am…

2:10 PM, June 18, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, yes... but what did you eat on the beach???

3:13 PM, June 22, 2014  
Blogger Hope said...

Finished your book..Delancey..made Kate's Brownies.Loved the book and now going through the recipes!

5:55 AM, August 09, 2014  
Anonymous Karen Hoyt said...

I am joining another Okie who found your blog. What a sweet time reading this evening. I am an English teacher who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I have attended the Oklahoma Arts Institute in the past and hope to join your writing workshop this fall!
Wonderful words,

5:12 PM, August 12, 2014  

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