Thursday, January 3, 2013


2012 to 2013 GRACEFULLY

New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. 
- Hamilton Wright Mabie 

2012 was nothing short of tumultuous. We bought, renovated and moved into a new home. Our tiny pup was operated on and at death’s door, his ticket for Paradise purchased twice and then given several reprieves; and we thought only cats had nine lives. Prodigal son – the second one – returned home from a year in New Orleans, more than six months with his grandmother in Florida and three months in Italy and finally, after an entire lifetime of a turbulent relationship with school, found his vocation, his place, much to our joy and relief. Both sons are now well on their way to creative careers in architecture and design, both talented and happy. And the two of us? We are in career limbo, teetering on a creative tightrope, looking for inspiration in all the… well, everywhere. Projects were put on hold as we hammered and sawed, packed and unpacked, pampered our poor Marty, fretted and worried and ate more than our fair share of sandwiches, kabobs and pizzas and now they are back on track.

2013 will be a year of surprises. I dig myself up from the dark side of the planet and try to grab on to something brighter; gossamer unreality. This is a time for making Resolutions, those slippery, devious little imps, ethereal dreams of greatness, promises to ourselves that have the bad habit of turning against us somewhere along the winding, bumpy road of life, that great battle of temptation. Just at this time of the year, I tend to get sentimental, even somewhat maudlin, and stir up those schmaltzy “It’s a Wonderful Life” platitudes, tossing out quotes and images in black and white, painting both the tragedy and the happy ending. I make notes to myself: Do this…Don’t do that…Absolutely MUST do the other… and end up falling back into sarcasm, humor and wit.

2012 was a year in slow motion, peppered with adventure, punctuated by side trips to Somerset, New York, Paris and Normandy, and weighed down by the occasional bout of writer’s block. Many friendships were strengthened, a few new ones forged, a little weight put on, one son moved out and the other moved back in. Some projects skittered to a halt, others crawled forward on hands and knees waiting for some mystical awakening, a fairy godmother tossing handfuls of glittery dust around in the wind to bring them to fruition. My lovely, wonderful, witty band of Merry Mentors gently take me by the hand and lead me forward towards a brighter horizon. Or give me a swift kick in the pants (and a kind word of encouragement) when necessary.

Favorite recipes of 2012:

Cauliflower and Potato Gratin

Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake

 Classic French Beef with Carrots

Strawberry Mascarpone Whipped Cream Tart


Lemon Chiffon Pie


Cherry Prosecco Granità

Cherry Chocolate Chip Maple Challah 

Chocolate Chestnut Fondant

Greek-Style Preserved Lemon & Olive Chicken

Spiral Feta Rolls


From New Year's on the outlook brightens; good humor lost in a mood of failure returns. 
I resolve to stop complaining. 
- Leonard Bernstein 

2013 promises much. Articles are in the works and on their way to being published. Book ideas still find their way down onto paper. A change in my blog, more than a simple redesign, is in the thinking. Like husband and I, my words, my energy and my creativity need a new home. Food presses in on me and limits what I offer my readers, and now after almost five years of blogging, I yearn to open up and tell my stories properly, unadulterated, passionately, not hemmed in by the need to tack on a recipe at the end.

A Few Stories of 2012:

After Newtown

You are what you eat: A food blogger’s dilemma

In defense of dessert: Is it really healthy?

IACP conference NYC

September 15 – September 18

2013 arrives suddenly as we stand at the window staring out into the misty darkness to the sound of laughter floating up from ghostly shapes and drunken roars bursting forth like canon fire. The number of years that I have welcomed in a new year living here in France crosses my mind and I begin to ask myself the question “when is an expat no longer an expat?” I settle into my new kitchen and the urge to turn out comfort food sweeps over me as I move forward in time, lulled by the soothing hum of the dishwasher, the quick tickety-tack of the spin of the clothes dryer, the murmur of rain spattering against the window panes, the restful rhythm of the dog’s gentle snores in the distance. I enter 2013 mellowed, reflective, pondering my future, this impalpable sensation of destiny.

Wishing all of my readers, my friends a brilliant, generous, healthy and safe 2013. Thank you for your never-ending support and encouragement and for bringing Life’s a Feast alive, turning my monologues into a conversation. And a special thank you to those of you who I call my mentors, those who have reached out to offer professional advice and a helping hand, who have worked on projects with me and introduced me to others, offering a step up.


Brian @ A Thought For Food said...

This has been quite the year for you... as it has for many of us bloggers. It's been a joy getting to know you and I'm so glad we got to meet in New York. What a joy that was. Hope we see each other again soon.

To a happy and healthy New Year!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Best wishes for the New Year! Looking forward to all the wonderful posts you'll write, gorgeous pastries you'll bake, scrumptious dishes you'll cook and to hearing about all the new adventures you'll experience! I'm sure 2013 will be fantastic.



Sunchowder said...

Beautifully written Jamie :) I am looking forward to your new adventures!

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

Reading your synopsis of events, knowing where your heart lies not only as you look forward but also as I read through your re-telling of events, I am mostly in awe of the friendship we have forged. That I should have been let in and that despite never once meeting face to face I consider us true friends.

I resolve to not let that change.

Jamie said...

@Brian: It was such an immense pleasure finally meeting you and it makes me feel even more like we've known each others forever! And @Wendy @Rosa @Barb I hope 2013 allows us to finally meet. You have each become cherished friends.

WiseMóna said...

I cannot wait to see where it takes you Jamie and so glad Marty is hanging in there x
Happy New Year to you all.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Wishing you and your family all good things in the New Year. I can't wait to see where the year takes you.

Dewi said...

Likewise Jamie! Have a wonderful and happiest New Year.

orangemonk3y said...

I like the colors in your words. Happy New Year!

Nina said...

Happy New Year to you too Jamie:) Looking forward to more of your great posts this year too:)

Lisa said...

What a beautiful and poignant post. As of late, every NYE I can't wait for the previous year to end. I haven't hit that 'pinnacle - what a great year that was' 'year', the last time being three years ago. Regardless, I like how you summed up your year..with introspection, grace and eloquence. I also liked seeing all the treats of 2012 yore and rereading your fabulous articles! Happy New Year, my friend.. I know it's going to a good one xo.

Rambling Tart said...

I am so excited that you are going to expand your work here to include your stories. :-) I will look forward to that so much. :-) Happy New Year, dear Jamie!! Wishing you truly beautiful year filled with peace and much love. XO

Jamie said...

@Rambling Tart: it's funny but I often think of you and your blog when I think about doing this. What we write may be so different, but each time I visit your blog and read a non-food entry I am so inspired. Happy New Year!

@Lisa: Thank you. And thank you for always being a shoulder, an ear and a friend.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I hope that 2013 is less dramatic for you all! :) As far as moving and sickness is concerned, the less drama the better. I'm just pleased that in 2012 we finally got to meet! :D

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Yes indeed you had an eventful year. Wishing you the best the new year has to offer and looking forward to all of your wonderful and creative posts.

Bunkycooks said...

Yes, it has been quite the year. I think we all are looking to this new year as a time for making changes and finding new challenges. Here's to 2013! I hope we meet again very soon.

Judy@Savoring Today said...

With citrus in season, your lemon chiffon pie sounds perfect and a refreshing way to start the new year. I can relate with your sentiments here, I was ready to see 2012 come to a close and embrace a new year. We are so very blessed, even in the midst of tumult. Hope your '13 is grand!

Vijitha (Spices and Aroma) said...

Happy happy happy new year to you Jamie! May you be blessed with lots of happiness and wonderful memories this year. Hugs!

David @ Frenchie and the Yankee said...

Bonne année Jamie! A great recap! I wish you all the best for 2013 and send you all sorts of positive thoughts.

THE Tough Cookie said...

Wishing you the best of everything in 2013, Jamie.
And I'm also wishing that you work a trip to NY in sometime this year, too.

Lizzy Do said...

Happy New Year, my friend!!! I'm glad that 2013 brings such promise...glad that Marty is well and your boys have found their callings. I'm certain there are many wonderful adventures for you in the year to come!!! xo

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Best wishes for 2013 Jamie - enjoyed your recap. Happy New Year.

Zorica Desančić said...

Happy New Year, Darling! Thanks for wonderful recipes!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

2012 was busy, scary and exciting for you and frankly that's not such a bad outcome. What you weren't able to say was 2012 was boring.

2013 will be a great year for us all.

Jamie said...

@Maureen: Ha! That made me smile. Boring? No, it certainly was not! Happy New Year, dear x

katiez said...

Happy New Year! I, too, am hoping 2013 will be a better year - more focused and more accomplishments... and less construction dust LOL

Carolyn Jung said...

Wishing you a fruitful 2013! Can't wait to see what wonderful stories and photos you will be sharing with all of us.

wendy@chezchloe said...

Happy New Year Jamie... I've been a bit in the weeds but am catching up now. I found 2012 was for many a year where we ( or someone) threw the cards up in the air- some were caught and placed with intention others fell at will. I see 2013 as a time to reflect where those cards are and how we want to play them.
I loved your thoughts in this post and so many with or without a recipe. It's not easy when you have the talent for both- you certainly don't have to decide.
I too, look forward to seeing you and your blog's continual evolution. I look forward to it and I watch it as a sort of guide for myself. Cheers to you and the best for 2013. xo wendy

Tille said...

Amazing ! This is cool!

Valencia said...

This is cool!


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