Two weeks ago I packed up my desk at Martha (all 14 boxes) and had them shipped to our apartment, which was already in disarray. This summer has been so hectic with weddings and work, it seems we've only had 2 or 3 weekends to ourselves in Brooklyn-- weekends that were not spent dutifully cleaning, organizing, and purging the things in our apartment. We are a bit overcome by things. Only moving in together in March, our major concern was unpacking boxes and not necessarily figuring out functional places for everything. Plus, Brown is a collector of sorts and I'm, well, I'm a bit of a creative hoarder. I wasn't always like this, but after working at MSLO for 5 years, it's a bit of the environment; "this is a GREAT hot pink napkin, I'm going to use this one day" and it never gets used, but instead is stuffed away. It's kind of like FOMO (fear of missing out), but more like FOTO (fear of throwing out).

In any case, I brought home files, research materials, things I've accumulated at my desk, etc. Brown was a bit horrified to see it all and it wasn't until today that I looked around in hectic disgust that I realized: we had a problem. So, I did a bit of fall cleaning. I don't believe that cleaning should just be done in the spring, that every season should have a reevaluation of your wants, needs and items; "in with the old and out with the new".

recipe book

As I was organizing my bookshelf, I found an old red binder that I have not opened in years. When I was 19, I transferred colleges from SUNY Albany to CUNY Hunter and moved in with a friend of friend who was a bit of an eccentric person. The excitement of living in a real life apartment instead of a dorm was overcome with the fear that I would not know anything to cook. Home was an hour away and without a car or any budding social life in Bay Ridge, I needed those family recipes to keep me company. So, in a month's advance of moving, I spent every waking moment going through every recipe, notecard, and newspaper clipping ever given to my mother, tabbing all of our cookbooks, and typing up my own cookbook of the very best recipes. I was confident by having this, I would somehow "make it" as an adult in the city.

I did not live with that person long-- maybe a month--and ended up moving back home to commute as a night student and cook for a year. After going to culinary school and working in food, I took the book with me every time I moved, but rarely opened it. Yesterday, I sat down and looked through it. It had recipes I hadn't made in years: Cookie Dough Truffles, Penne a la Vodka with Proscuitto and Plum Tomatoes (this was my claim to fame back in the day), and about 20 variations of frosting from a high school home ec class. It was nice to take some time and look through it, to see how I've grown and to have a connection to the younger me. It's a bit funny what I thought was critical to take with me, recipes that I have long forgotten about and dropped out of my repertoire, but I know that it was my security blanket into semi-adulthood and self-sufficiency. I think I'm going to do some cooking from that binder soon.-- RED

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