Much has changed in my life since I began this newsletter in July. And now that life is calming down a bit after my book’s publication, I am more excited to write you love letters than ever before. And I know what this newsletter is now, after a few months of writing public posts. Now, it is time for me to write for the paid subscribers who have chosen to be here, with only a couple of posts a month for those who have the free subscription. Today is the day we make the switch. If you enjoyed reading my book, ENOUGH, you might enjoy the love letters and conversation of this space. Subscribe today if you would like to keep reading.
An hour before we were due at Thanksgiving dinner at our dear friends’ house, I made up a dish I had never thought of eating. One of the chefs I work with at ChefSteps, Matthew Woolen, is both gluten-free and eats a plant-based diet. He’s pretty genius, this guy, and calm. So when Matthew decides to make something, it is GOOD. I asked him what he was making for his Friendsgiving feast and he mentioned something with persimmons and charred onions. That stuck in my brain. So I bought some ripe persimmons at Sosio’s in Pike Place Market and brought them home in a brown paper bag. (Some of them ended up squished after a long delay in the ferries and walking up hills to find a bus.) The next day, I sliced up leeks into thick sticks, tossed them in olive oil, and charred them on our griddle plan. Then I tumbled them around in a bowl, pinched in Maldon salt, then chopped them up. I sliced the persimmons into thin wedges, piled the charred leeks on top, and drizzled it all with apple balsamic vinegar we had in the pantry. The salad disappeared from this plate soon after I put it down on the counter in our friends’ home. I recommend it.
When I began writing this subscription newsletter in July, I had no idea that I would soon be working at ChefSteps, the best full-time job I have ever worked. I did not know that my brain would be happily occupied with how to write up beef wellington recipes or emails that feel like love letters, like these do here. So when I started, I imagined writing 3 essays a week, sending them to you as emails, and keep going. Of course, I also had no idea in July how many people would be reading my book ENOUGH, sending me messages every day of how it has resonated and what the book means to them in the deep heart’s core. It has been one of the greatest gifts of my life, this community of people who are moved by my book. And I have been traveling, to Portland, all around Seattle, and to Los Angeles, where I recorded the audiobook of ENOUGH. (It is coming out this month!) This has been a full and wonderful time.
In living this time, I have come to understand that my original plan—3 love letters a week, plus recipes, is not sustainable. That worked when I had no other job but not now. And the last thing I want to do is write a newsletter called ENOUGH that is breakneck, trying to keep up with an imagined deadline I created myself.
So, after months of figuring out the pace of this place, I think I’m ready.
This is a newsletter about enough. Does that mean doing and pushing and trying to create the perfect recipe? No way. It means enough. It means that sometimes I will write about something that infuriates me, something makes me say ENOUGH. Sometimes I will write about the constant little shifts I make in my brain to remind me breathe into the feeling of enough in this moment, instead of wishing it could be something different. And sometimes I tackle when I forget to do that, where I don’t feel good enough.
That will be one love letter a week.
Increasingly, enough is about food for me too. I don’t mean that I watch to make sure I don’t eat enough. Instead, Danny and I think about the kind of food we can make that will give our kids enough: enough joy in food, enough vegetables in their diet, enough variety of flavors that they will understand that the world is much wider than familiar flavors.
Lately, that also means doing enough to help with the environment. We all have to do our part in the midst of what is clear climate emergency. In our house, we have stopped buying beef. We eat it out of the house sometimes, but we don’t want to participate in the industry with our weekly food dollars. And we are eating more and more vegetarian and plant-based meals. Neither Danny nor our kids nor I are vegetarians. But we do love the seasonality of vegetables, the crunch of celery root in the winter, the way that a grapefruit tastes with olive oil and sea salt. So we are focusing now on simple, vegetable and fruit-driven foods that our kids will eat and we enjoy too.
One love letter a week will be sharing some of what we have been making.
And more than anything, I love the community that can happen around a shared space like this. I started a Facebook page for this newsletter, but I’m using Facebook less and less these days. (There are lots of reasons.) Substack introduced a new feature, where I can set up a discussion question or two, you will be emailed a link, and we can have conversations here. Have you read my book and you want to talk more about it? This will be the space. Want to talk about weeknight dinners? Here we are. Would you like to talk about moments of awe that moved you this week and made you realize you had enough, in that moment? This is the place for that.
One love letter a week will be an involved conversation in this place.
That is enough.
Now that my book ENOUGH is in the world, and people are reading it and handing it onto their friends and colleagues, my job with it has calmed down. And I find myself wanting to write more, to dig deeper into ideas that have been percolating in my brain. I find that the writing I am doing now is best suited to a dedicated community, people who truly want to be here. And, I want to share these ideas with those of you who want to support my work through subscriptions.
This is why I am—after 4 months of almost all posts being public and free—I am shifting course. From now on, almost all love letters I send will be subscription only. If you want to read what I am writing, learn what we are cooking, or be part of the discussions here? Now is the time to subscribe.
And in gratitude for your reading, a one-year subscription will be 20% off throughout the month of December. You can subscribe by clicking on this button.
(Also, if have the money for both, I highly recommend becoming a member of ChefSteps Studio Pass. I adore working at this place. It is a deeply creative place, with kind people full of huge ideas. The photo above is of the Oaten Shortbread that the chefs—with my help—figured out how to make. They are not only gluten-free, but they are also more akin to the kind of shortbread people used to eat in Scotland for centuries. And delicious.) Not only do I write every recipe, but I also write the emails that go out, which are chock full of information for people who love food. And because they respect me, they have offered me a code for you: GFG50. If you use that code at checkout, your membership will be half off, which means $34.50 for the year. I hope to see you there too.)
It is December, which is the month of giving. I have been so grateful that you have given me a chance to write in this space. With the pace I have decided on, I can keep writing here for years. I would love to have you be part of the conversation here, with so many kind and thoughtful people. Consider subscribing today. And thank you.