Cracking a Smile

eggs

I have plenty of reasons to smile these days—and I’ll be sharing a few of them soon—but something that never fails to make me happy is gathering eggs from my chickens. The range in hues on the shells is amazing, and the flavor and color of the yolks inside puts store-bought eggs to shame. It’s like seeing the sun on a clear day vs. through layers of clouds.

Despite writing a book about a kid who cooks, I’ve never thought of myself as much of a wizard in the kitchen. I’ve aspired to be someone who follows—and even improves on—recipes to create memorable meals, but my actual culinary skills are … not so much lacking as underdeveloped. But one day I decided to learn to scramble eggs really, really well, and then I moved on to frying. Maybe poaching is next, since it’s something my oldest daughter has already pretty much mastered. Hopefully she can teach me.

My kids would probably tell you that my signature dish is hamburgers. While I do have a go-to house recipe for those, I’ve always found that the most fun is in topping them, and my favorite thing to stack on a patty is, yes, a fried egg. It’s all the more delicious knowing that the key ingredient came from just a few steps away.

construction.JPGDespite having a fancy place to lay (that photo above is me building our coop with help from my parents), my hens have started hiding their eggs around the yard. I suppose it’s my fault for giving them free reign of the yard during the day. They most often now lay them under a jasmine bush, and if I don’t get to them fast enough or I miss a few, there’s a creature in my yard (I’m thinking possum) that snatches one or two away for a late-night snack. I guess I’m not the only one who likes fresh eggs!

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Whether you’re a human or a hen or an egg-thieving marsupial, I hope you take some time today to appreciate something that makes you smile. Or whatever the equivalent expression is for animals with beaks. And if you’re so inclined, let me know what it is!

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Don’t Let Pi Day Pass You By!

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What makes a pie a pie?

Is it the crust? The circular shape? The way it’s cooked?

Most of the definitions I’ve read recently seem to agree that a pie must be baked and that it has to have a fruit or meat-and-vegetable filling of some sort, but several dictionary and encyclopedia entries sort of waffled a bit on whether a layer of pastry on the bottom, top, or both is necessary. There’s a whole cookbook’s worth of wiggle room in the words “typically” and “generally” and “usually.”

My wife whipped up a crustless quiche this morning to celebrate Pi Day, which seemed to satisfy my kids’ desire for a food properly befitting this most mathematical of days.

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Our dinner plans involve taking and baking a pizza from a nearby shop, because pizza is totally a pie, right? I’ve always thought it could sort of slide into that definition, but I just learned of an argument that pizza is actually an open-faced sandwich! I’ve only recently started wrapping my head around the idea that some people consider a hot dog to be a sandwich, because it’s meat between two halves of bread. But pizza? Someone’s oven didn’t fully preheat on that idea.

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If what you’re eating today is not obviously a pie, could you make an argument to justify it as one? Now that I think about it, there may be a case for French onion soup …

(Illustrations ®2018 Hatem Aly, from HOW TO FEED YOUR PARENTS)