26 years and 26 things

In lieu of turning 26 and of recently celebrating Thanksgiving, I’ve thought of 26 things I am thankful for…

This last month has seemed such a whirlwind. Many a mornings beginning at the harsh hour of 5am walking to work in the cold and dark, to bake. Oddly, it’s almost easier for me to get up at that hour versus nine o’clock. Sometimes I think about trying to hitch a ride with the New Warsaw Bakery truck that’s making its morning rounds through the neighborhood. But once I settle into the brisk walk, my body wakes up (because cold air certainly will do that to you). I enjoy the enticing aromas wafting out of the buildings I pass…the Polish bakery that has been awake long before I and fresh laundry smells, escaping out the air vents of the laundromat on the corner I turn. I love those smells.

And there’s something peaceful and intimate about being the only one in a bakery at 6 am and the routine of baking the usual morning suspects—molasses coffee cake, colossal blueberry and cranberry-orange-walnut muffins with crumb topping, orange currant scones and savories (puff pastries: caramelized pear, pecan and gorgonzola, ham, swiss and herbs de provence and fig and goat cheese). I like watching the molasses-laced coffee cake batter rising up through the top layer of crumb topping and seeing how the “topography” looks (as Shea, my fellow baker likes to refer to it), because it is always different. (When the edges are all raised, that’s usually when the topography is at its finest). I’m thankful for these moments and to have had such a fun job, baking at such a charming bakery as The Blue Stove.

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Then there was Thanksgiving, when this lovely girl and I made a FEAST.

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Instead of just making a few things like any normal person would do, we waved simplicity out the window and decided to cook just about all of our Thanksgiving favorites. It was a bit strange not being with family or being in N.C for the holiday but we had a blast and I think our kitchen culinary endeavors paid off, helping remedy any homesickness we both had.

We made:

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and it was delicious. I’m thankful for food like that and friends like Caitlin.

I also just completed my internship at Time Out—my mission these past four months and my purpose for being here. While it may not have been everything I expected, I learned a great deal there and had many new experiences and I am thankful for bylines and for having had this lucky opportunity and the opportunity to live in such an exhilarating city.

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My last day ended with a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black and my pick of any two books from their collection (one pick happened to be the brand new Food 52 cookbook which was only just released today!) and I’m very excited about it. So I’m thankful for cookbooks and whiskey too.

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I just had a birthday and was lucky enough to escape back to N.C for a few days and to celebrate the actual day with Jay and my family. I’m thankful for them and for the amazing, unseasonably warm weather we had in Asheville, for the insane birthday dinner we had at The Admiral, (more to come soon), I am thankful for being given another year of life, for cupcakes at midnight in the car while driving home, a support network, Christmas spirit, funny faces,  birthday serenades, The French Broad Chocolate Lounge and cozy elephant pajamas, doggy cuddles, laughter, a new yellow dress, getting to sleep in, for the ones I love helping me brainstorm for my future, the ethereal chocolate brownie sundae I had recently at The Chocolate Room and an awesome homemade birthday fort made just for me by a man I am thankful to love.

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