Simplicity

A wet and drizzly morning of the sort we’ve been having lately, the usually dry stream that crosses our property burbling happily, the canyon veiled in gray and exploding in every shade of green, brought me back to a memory:

A child, a younger me, dripping in the rain — no umbrella, no boots, socks and shoes wet — setting leaves into the gutter and chasing them down the street. Joy: unrestrained, unmannered, untethered.

Simplicity.

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In the kitchen, after a previous evening’s West/East mashup of spaghetti ai ricci di mare, Venetian carpaccio, spicy fried tofu and three different kinds of sushi, I craved simplicity on the plate, too. More

Kinley’s Egg

My 4-year-old daughter Imogen had her 4-year-old pal, Kinley, over to play the other day. They were outside enjoying themselves, when Kinley approached me sheepishly.

Kinley and her egg

Kinley and her egg

“Sean,” she said, “Can we go get eggs from the chicken coop?”

I explained to her that I had, sadly, already gathered the eggs a short while before. But they could certainly go see if any more had been laid. She then went on to explain to me how her 6-year-old brother, Finn, was trying to lay his own egg. I asked their mother, Amber, about this later, and she told me that Finn actually wanted to hatch a chicken from an egg, not lay an egg. I’m not certain if he planned to nest on the egg himself. More

Naomi’s Blown Eggs

“Why don’t you do a post about me?” 10-year-old Naomi Schneider said, gazing over my shoulder as I showed her various posts about her father and mother.

“Why would I do a post about you?” I answered.

Naomi

Naomi

“Because,” she said.

I assured her that she must be somewhere on my blog, and began opening posts about Tuesday sushi nights and Mexico vacations and Sonoma wine barbecues and other Schneider-related topics, and finally found a group shot at the Ferry Building in San Francisco where a teeny, tiny Naomi could be spotted in a corner. More

Beautiful Simplicity

At times, I can be an elaborate cook — crafting complicated objets d’art composed of long simmered reductions, leaves blanched to ultimate greenness or fried to lacy crispness, powders of brilliant red or yellow, flowers and tiny herbs.

But at other times, I am reminded that nature — God, if you prefer — is the better artist.

It was Sunday morning, I was home alone sipping some Kauai coffee, listening to Nick Cave and reading the paper. And I got a little hungry.

Sunday breakfast

Sunday breakfast

I’m not really much of a breakfast person. In my roguish youth, I’d skip the requisite greasy diner hangover breakfasts my friends would set out for on the weekends, and the languid Sunday brunches of the early career years held equally little appeal. These days, apart from the occasional extravagant Mexican or Japanese breakfast, I typically grab a handful of cashews or maybe a small bowl of muesli and blueberries. More

The Devil Is in the Details

They’re one of the all-time cliché potluck contributions — deviled eggs. But the convergence of a party invitation from our neighbors Chris & Glennis’  with a surplus of eggs from our 20-some-odd chickens proved to be more of a temptation than I could resist. You could say the devil possessed me.

Catalan deviled eggs

Catalan deviled eggs

The first time I’d done something like this was for one of my fancy XX-course New Year’s Eve dinners — a version a few years back with a Spanish theme. I created a deviled egg of sorts, the hard-boiled yolk blended not with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard but rather with those pillars of Spanish cooking: lots of olive oil, garlic and pimentón. More

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