Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memphis Diaries: Part I

Memphis bridge - Adobe Stock

Some days I can't quite believe we made it here. In December, we packed most of the very last of our belongings into the truck and car. Stuffed, more like - the car was on a trailer, and everything I thought I might need in the apartment for the first week was wedged inside. Clothes, kitchenwares, bedding - stuffed.

I wrote "most of the last" because some of it just didn't fit. The vacuum? Left with my brother-in-law to donate (we would have donated it ourselves, but it was, like 11pm or so). And there's a lampshade we barely fit into the truck that we left with my mom to mail later.

The Grand Canyon
The drive was long and grueling. A theft in Reno on New Year's Eve resulted in the loss of personal items that cast a pall on the trip. A side-trip to the Grand Canyon was absolutely breathtaking.

We stopped in Austin (because of course) and ate all the tacos (soooo many tacos at Torchy's, which is the best, and has the loveliest staff). I toured the Capitol Building and enjoyed learning as much as I could before we left for Texarkana.

We arrived at our new apartment in Northern Mississippi during an ice storm, having re-routed to avoid the worst of the related traffic. It was after dark when we got there, the sidewalks slick and slushy. Our apartment was on the second floor, so the four of us - me, Danny, and the two pups - went up and down the stairs, carrying as much as we could upstairs into the empty apartment. We slept on an air mattress, and managed to get to our storage containers several days later for other necessities (floor lamps! Artwork! A table and chairs! Cookbooks!).

But we weren't in Memphis long before Danny was sent out to a job site in Long Beach, CA - for what turned out to be a five week stint.

I spent those five weeks exploring a little but working a lot - because of the move, I had a little time to do a lot of editing. Also up? Recipe testing.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Kolache! You'll find the recipe in Jane of Austin

I was huuuuugely grateful to my street team, who agreed to help test scones, cornbread, hand pies and a tea-spiked Texas Sheet Cake. I still tested many of the recipes - one of my favorites being the Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolache!

Central Park in Southaven, Mississippi

The dogs and I discovered new parks in between long hours of editing. How long? I found myself taking the pups out for piddle breaks at 2 and 3am around the apartment complex, and there was an over-nighter in there, which I wasn't good at in college, and I'm really not good at in my thirties. But I bullied the manuscript into a good place - that book is on the list of Things I'm Really Proud of That Were Worth the Work.

Galley edits!

In between the copy and galley edits, I cooked. I made Ottolenghi's Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake (by way of Smitten Kitchen, by way of my friend Janell, who uses more turmeric and more Parmesan), the Kale Caesar Salad from the Forest Feast cookbook, which is sooooo good and if I had Greek yogurt in my house I would make it right now. I made a Flourless Chocolate Almond Torte, which a.) I should make again, but b.) should bake it in a water bath. Also, I should have soaked my silicone Springform pan with vinegar between baking the cauliflower and chocolate cakes, because the flavor of onion and turmeric infused the edge of the chocolate cake, which wasn't exactly the flavor profile I was looking for.

The Dixon Galleries & Garden

The weeks passed, and springtime came to Memphis.  Danny came home, and we got to revisit favorite spots, like the Memphis Botanic Gardens and the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. And a few weeks later, we put an offer in on our house. But that is a post for another day.

Tulips at the Dixon!

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