A Love Letter to Pesto

Dear pesto, It wasn't love at first sight. In fact, I thought you smelled precisely like vomit. "Eat it," said my hardworking mother, cooking dinner after a twelve-hour hospital shift. "You'll like it."

This seemed improbable. But I was hungry and knew this was all I would be getting.

That first bite: revelation.

You shared many more nights with me after that first one -- the awkward middle school years with that lapse-in-judgement perm, the high-stress high school years where getting up at five and going to bed at eleven seemed perfectly normal. But it wasn't until college and beyond, when I was finally cooking full-time to feed myself, that I really came to appreciate your irresistible attraction and congenial simplicity.

Oh pesto, you got me through some dark, lonely nights. Your comforting carbs meant I could make a huge batch and parcel you out slowly over several nights. Your greenery and the sleekness of olive oil made me feel like I was putting good, solid things into me (rather than cheap hamburgers and spinach salads and microwave pot pies, which were my other most frequent staples). You were always warm, always willing to pair up with ravioli or tortellini or toasted French bread.

And then, when I met a marvelous man who loved to cook -- oh, the stroganoff! the curry! the mashed potatoes from scratch! -- you stepped aside while I nurtured this new relationship. Then, when I shyly asked you back, you came at once, sharing your bounty with both of us.

Thank you, pesto, for everything.

All my love,


We Are Chock Full O' Gratitude Up In Here

We here at Olivia Waite consider Thanksgiving the best modern holiday of the pantheon. It's a whole day where you sit down and think about all the wonderful things that have happened to you, all the marvelous people you know, and all the delights of life both big and small. And then you eat beige foods until you can't eat any more because you are too busy falling asleep.

With other holidays, you have to worry about gifts (Christmas) or explosives (Fourth of July) or fires (Hanukkah) or papercuts (any of the false Hallmark holidays that right-thinking people legitimately despise). But the worst thing that happens on Thanksgiving is that the turkey comes out dry. And then there's gravy right there in a boat shaped like Aladdin's lamp!

In short, Thanksgiving is too amazing to let it happen only for one day. So for this whole week, I will be posting daily to talk about what I am thankful for.

Today I am thankful for: this amazing recipe from the amazing Bake It in a Cake: Pumpkin pie cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream.

That is a miniature pumpkin pie baked into a from-scratch vanilla cupcake. I am not a talented baker and I still managed to make a delicious dessert for a Saturday crafting party—a feat which speaks admirably to the recipe's author rather than to my skill. Laziness and the lack of a mixer did compel me to use a powdered-sugar glaze instead of the cinnamon buttercream, but believe me when I say that this is a cupcake where the frosting is optional. Blasphemy, you say? Try it, I dare you!

{Olivia is also thankful for: the 1300 words she wrote today on the sequel to Damned if You Do, the fact that she did not have to go out in the cold winter rain this afternoon, the coziness of dozing dachshunds, and the one pumpkin pie cupcake left on the plate downstairs—which will be hers since Mr. Waite is out on the town this evening.}