Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Recipes

Photo credit Chris Perry. This was a couple of years ago, we think.
So, annoyingly, as you will see from the list of recipe links below, I have posted many of the less crucial Thanksgiving meal bits and pieces over the years, but very few of the absolutely sine qua nons. Like the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes (unless someone else brings them, I make these), and, of course, the turkey itself, which is below, with no pictures, sorry!

This year, we will be hosting A Very GF Thanksgiving with Very Vegetarian Options. This is not a hardship for me, as I, weirdly, appreciate the challenge of restrictions. Also, neither constraining factor affects my excellent mashed potato recipe, which is this: boil 10 pounds of peeled, halved yukon golds in very salty water until very tender. Put them through a ricer or food mill, then stir in 2 cut-up sticks of butter, 2 -3 cups of sour cream, and enough whole milk or 1/2 and 1/2 to keep everyone loose and happy. Salt the potatoes as you go. Scoop them into a buttered casserole dish and dot heavily with butter (like, another stick, sorry), then cover. These can sit on the counter for up to 4 hours or so (don't refrigerate them). Around 30 - 45 minutes before you plan to sit down to eat, pop the covered dish into the oven to heat (whatever the oven is at is fine). Uncover and pop under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the top is browned and sizzling.

I am always embarrassed when a guest seems my neurotic holiday to-do list, but dude! It's a lot of things to remember to do. 
Okay, here are some other potentially useful recipes, and then the turkey below. I dearly hope you know how grateful I am for your company, some of you for many, many years. Have a wonderful holiday. Try to add an act of resistance or two to your to-do list!

I am still using this annoying fake photo of cut-out magazine pictures because I never think to take pictures during the actual holiday. Mostly because I am too busy whisking gravy and drinking and eating, and then whipping cream and cutting pie. And then eating pie. Trust me, the below turkey comes out looking fantastic.
How to Make a Thanksgiving Turkey
First, buy a turkey. Then, ewwww, dig out the bag of things and the neck (make gravy with the nasties!) and brine the turkey, ideally for 2 days, but one is fine. Here is my brine recipe (enough for a 24-pound turkey): Dissolve 2 cups of Diamond kosher salt and 1 cup of sugar in 1/2 gallon of warm water. Then stir in the other half of that gallon of cold water, a second gallon of cold water, a handful of bay leaves (let's say 6-12), the zest of 2 lemons in strips peeled off with a peeler, and a quartered onion or 2. Put the turkey inside a large ziploc bag inside a plastic bucket, and then carefully pour in the brine in and seal the bag. If this contraption will not fit in your fridge, you can definitely do just the bag. I don't only because it makes me nervous and revolted.

An hour or two before it's time to roast it, take the turkey out of the brine and arrange it on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Heat the oven to 425. When you're ready to roast the turkey, rub it all over with a softened stick of butter, scatter some chunked carrots, onions, and celery into the bottom of the pan and stuff some into the turkey along with a sliced lemon and a handful of fresh thyme. If you're going to make gravy from the drippings, pour a cup or two of water into the bottom of the pan, so that they don't burn. Roast the turkey for 1/2 hour, then turn the heat down to 350 and roast it until it's done. 4 1/2 or 5 hours total seems to be the necessary time for a 24-pound turkey.; replenish the liquid in the pan as necessary, adding a splash of hard cider or wine towards the end, if you like. Try to have it coming out of the oven an hour before you plan to serve it, so that it has time to cool and firm up a bit. Make gravy with the pan drippings.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Charred Broccoli with Mint and Pink Pickled Onions

I picked a fight with Ben. It's hard to explain what happened, exactly, because parenting him is so easy-breezy. He's practically an adult, and all you need is the lightest touch--just plenty of food, a credit card number for his standardized tests, the willingness to listen occasionally or offer the barest thread of guidance. Mostly he just wants to hang out and be the best person to have a conversation with, or bring his crazy caramelizing friends over so they can blow-torch various items in the kitchen after sprinkling them with sugar. 

I am putting this in a Snapper caption: I wrote this, over at Full Grown People. And my parenting-teens advice column has, I'm thrilled to report, moved over to Motherwell! Please send me your questions.
But this was like one of those dreams where you're on a giant trike, riding merrily through a meadow of wildflowers, only it's not a tricycle, it turns out, it's a steam roller, and you hear the crunching sound of glass Christmas tree ornaments behind you. 

Do you know what I'm saying? Because one minute we were having a conversation, and the next minute we were having a wrenching conflict, and I felt terrible and confused. A bit later I called my friend Nicole, who lovingly said back to me the thing I always say to her: "Just because it feels bad doesn't mean you're doing something wrong." Which really is sometimes true and, in this case, either was or wasn't.

Ben is a sunny and forgiving person; we made up quickly. But he is tired and he is working hard, and all I have to offer sometimes is a really great meal. Our resident vegetarian was at a friend's house, so I made these ribs and the famous plum cake--GF, natch!--with plums I'd had the foresight to freeze when our tree was laden, and this here broccoli salad.

The plums sank, but the cake was delicious. I subbed in 2/3 cup King Arthur GF flour and 1/3 cup almond meal. No, as we like to say, xanax gum.
It's really extraordinarily good. Tender and crunchy, herby, spicy, and sour, and flecked with plumped, jewel-like chile flakes that have gone syrupy in the sweet-tart dressing. Also, it's gorgeous. Ben, because he is a darling, claimed to be the best broccoli he had ever eaten in his life. And, because I wanted to, I believed him.

Here is the broccoli, NOT BEING STIRRED BY ME. #restraint

Charred Broccoli with Mint and Pink Pickled Onions
This is loosely adapted from the fab Myers + Change At Home recipe for Sweet-and-Sour Brussels Sprouts. This would be so, so good with the called-for pound of halved Brussels sprouts, but I had broccoli from the farm share, so I used that instead, and then it was so good that I got more broccoli and made it again. I think that salty roasted peanuts would make a phenomenal addition to this dish, but we don’t have any at the moment. (Also, if you wanted to start with Crack Broccoli, and then just add the sauce, onions, and mint, I’m sure that would be good too!)

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup white or unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I bet coconut oil would be perfect for this, but I used sunflower)
1 medium-sized bunch of broccoli, stems trimmed and peeled a bit, and everything cut up bite-sized
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pink Pickled Onions (below)
½ (or ¼) cup coarsely chopped fresh mint (I bet cilantro would be good here also/instead of the mint)

Combine the sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small pot (use the dirty one from the pickled onion brine) and bring to a boil over highish heat. Turn the heat down and simmer until the sauce gets syrupy, around 3-4 minutes (or until you remember that you forgot about it because of the house filling with choking smoke). Set this aside. 

In a wok or large, heavy, flat-bottomed skillet (I use the latter because my crappy wok sometimes makes everything taste like you cooked up a big batch of nickels), heat the oil over high heat until it’s shimmering, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli to the pan (it will spatter), and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and then leave it alone for 2 to 3 minutes. Myers + Chang actually recommends walking away so that you won’t be tempted to stir or otherwise fuss with it, and I think this is great advice!

Once they’re charred on the bottom, cook them another 3 or so minutes, stirring a bit every minute or so, until they’re charred all over and the oil has more or less disappeared. If the broccoli is crisp tender by this point, great. Otherwise, add a couple tablespoons of water and cook, shaking the pan, until it’s cooked to your liking.

Put the broccoli in your serving bowl and toss it with the sauce, the onions (drain them first), and mint. Serve right away, or wait a bit, or serve it cold out of the fridge. It’s really, really good.

Pink Pickled Onions
The original recipe calls for shallots, and unseasoned rice vinegar. Whatevs. I figure that, because I don’t want to wait for the liquid to cool down, I can put an ice cube in it and thereby cool and slightly dilute it simultaneously!!!

¼ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 smallish red onion, halved and thinly sliced (or 2 thinly sliced shallots)

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic in a small pot and heat over medium-high heat just until everything’s dissolved. Let it cool, or dissolve an ice cube in it, then pour it over the onions which you have put in a mason jar, then stick this in the fridge for at least an hour, but ideally more like 4 hours, and up to a week. It may not look like enough liquid, but when you check back a bit later, you can shake it around, and it will probably have become enough. (Metaphor! But what for?)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Winners Winners!

My friend Moira took this picture and I love it, even if it does look like I live in a tiny little haunted house. 
Ah, my loves. Thank you for the buoying, wagon-circling contest entries. How many times have I thanked you for shoring me up over the years? I am feeling seen, heard, and lucky lucky lucky. Thank you. Get in touch if you win! Or if you didn't and you feel truly and deeply disappointed about it. Otherwise, please buy the books! Review the books on Amazo and Goodreads! Come visit me at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival, where Nicole and I will be selling Stitch Camp this Sunday from 9 to 4! Or come to our joint book party at Amherst Books on November 16th at 7! Or just enjoy your weekend and stop feeling so micromanaged by me!

Mepbeet and Kirsten (the one with the crafty daughter) won Stitch Camp.
Stircrazy and S. (the one with the currently crappy life) won One Mixed-Up Night

Thank you again. xo

Friday, October 13, 2017

Nacho Cheese Sauce + FREE BONUS RANT (and a give-away)

Photo by Linda Schneider, although everything in my house looks just exactly this perfect too, natch.
I know I've linked to this nacho cheese sauce before but a) the link seems to be broken, b) we've been making a lot of this lately, served both as full-on dinner nachos with pickled radishes, black beans, and sour cream, and also just in a bowl with a bag of chips for dipping, and c) the apocalypse does seem to call for orange and unctuous melty comfort.

This one's mine.
There was, originally, a different (b) up there, and then I deleted it, because I'd referred to one of my editors as a mansplaining a-hole, and I live in fear of never being hired again. But then I so fucking HATE colluding in the same culture of fear and silence that is all over the news at this moment. Not, to be clear, that this guy took me out to Junior's and jerked off into my red velvet cheesecake or anything. Just that he e-bullied me half to death, and had a lot to say about how I should write, which turned out to be more like him. Like, picture yourself with a waxed handlebar mustache and a monocle, drinking sour beer in a Brooklyn bar, and then write like that, after first deodorizing your vagina. Sigh. Anyhoo, I'm still glad I deleted that comment, because of not wanting to make myself unhire-able. Ha ha ha! Note to potential editors: I swear I'm super-pliant and easy to work with! Ha ha ha. Sigh.

Photo by David Van Taylor
Are you safe? I hate this moment so much. The shooting and fires and floods and hurricanes on top of the constant threats to our sanity and liberty and personhood. I'm so sorry. I wish I could offer more than cheese sauce and books but, as you know, that is what I have to offer.

FREE BOOKS, though, at least! Comment here, in any way you like, by noon EST on Friday 10/20, to enter the give-away. I'm going to give away 1 or 2 copies each of One Mixed-Up Night and Stitch Camp, which is already shipping from Amazon, although the pub date isn't until the 17th. It is the most beautiful book, thanks to my brilliant friend Nicole, who made all the crafts, and my brilliant friend Carolyn, who designed all the pages. You will love it, I promise.

Wait, who's that? Yes! Free Birdy sightings in every book. Shown here with one of her real-life besties.
Also, if you get a chance to review either or both books on Amazon and/or Good Reads, I'd be so grateful. As you know, the world is filled with people who take precious time away from damning us to hell to offer a lot of 1-star ratings to books that don't share their values. If you know what I'm saying.

And what I'm saying is: Have a lovely weekend! Forgive me my darkness. I will be sunnily back next time! I really will. Life is beautiful, I know it is. Make some nachos and enter the give-away. We will solace each other into the light.

In love and hope. xo

Perfect Nacho Cheese Sauce
The cheese sauce is easy and almost fool-proof (as long as you don’t use pre-shredded cheese, which will make it inclined to solidify), and there’s none of that disappointing lack of cheesiness you can experience when you make the classic kind of cheese sauce that starts with a béchamel and ends with your own feeling that there’s not enough cheddar in the world to make it taste the way you want it to. This one is sharp and tangy, smooth and rich and, in a word, perfect. Stirred into cooked noodles, it makes a wonderful mac and cheese. Or skip the hot sauce, serve it with cubed bread, and call it fondue.

One last thing? You don’t strictly need to use orange cheddar in the sauce. But if you don’t, it won’t taste quite as cheesy. Don’t ask why. Just trust me.

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated by you (not pre-grated)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup evaporated whole milk (but keep the rest of the 12-ounce can handy)
A dash or 2 of hot sauce

1. In a large bowl, toss the cheese with the cornstarch.
2. Put the cornstarchy cheese, evaporated milk, and hot sauce in a medium-sized pot over low heat.
3. Heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is smooth and not quite as thick as you want it to be, since it will thicken as it cools. This will take around 5 minutes, and it will go through different phases as it heats: clumpy, grainy and thin, then glossy and gorgeous. If it gets too thick, you can thin it with additional evaporated milk.

Leftovers are easily microwaveable, and it is weirdly delicious if you just slightly over-microwave it so that the edges get brown.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mahogany Tofu (aka Mock au Vin)

I fell down, down, down in a burning ring of tofu. Not shown: brisket, arugula salad, apples, gf noodle kugel, gf honeycake, gf bread. Raise your hand if you've got a brand-new celiac diagnosis in the house! [raises hand]
Happy New Year, oh beloved ones. Not that I am very capital-J Jewish myself. More Jew-ish, as people say, raised as I was by a religion-hating Jew and an atheist disavowed Catholic. But I do love food and festivity, and I like to pick and choose my celebrations. Rosh Hashanah is a favorite, because brisket, which I am crazily good at making.

Okay, they weren't dressed up like mafia hitmen for the holiday. We went to a memorial over the weekend. My late, great friend Ali's brother Jeremy, who is my oldest living friend, lost his beautiful wife to ovarian cancer. Are you following along? The horror. We are heartbroken (despite some of us looking like we're about to tie a cinder block to somebody's foot).
Even though I have zero patience anywhere else in my life—I am the person who breaks a new picture frame trying to tear the plastic off of it, who sighs sharply because it’s taking you longer than I think is strictly necessary to explain what you need me to do, who yells “Aaaaaaagh!” and waits for someone to run in and help me unjam the printer cartridge, which I’ve incorrectly wedged into the printer in some kind of fit—I have the patience to cook tough meat for a long time. A loooooong tiiiiime. I will post the brisket recipe sometime, but honestly? It’s basically my stewrecipe, adapted for a ginormous single piece of meat. You have to cook it for 5 or 6 hours. And you have to make it the day before, because otherwise forget about slicing it.

Also not related to the holiday. Have I mentioned my kids' book? Oh, I have? Sorry! Are these not the most wonderful pictures? Please send me yours! Please review the book on amazon and goodreads! And hey, if you can get it into the hands of someone at IKEA, will you please? Or reach out to me about it. (Reach out to me! Who even am I?)
But, there were vegetarians in the house! Even beyond the usual Birdy. So I made our famous fancy tofu, which Michael and I have always festively called “Mock au Vin,” because it’s seasoned a lot like that chicken dish, minus the bacon. And minus the chicken. And plus orange, because why not? I kind of can’t believe I’ve never posted this recipe here. I think it is my favorite tofu recipe, which is saying a lot, because I have a number of near-favorites, like this. And this. And this. Ooh, and this one, that I stole from Jenny.

I doubled the recipe, naturally. Honestly, even for just four of us, I have to double the recipe.
But it is really, really good: dark and tangy and salty, inoffensively winey and citrusy, a little buttery-rich and oniony, and with a lovely tender-firm bite when you, er, bite it. It’s also just fantastic cold or at room temperature. If you’ve ever made the . . . oh my god, I was looking it up for linking, and it’s not here! The Double-Soy Ginger Tofu. What? Oh, okay, it’s here. But I need to move it over too. Anyhoo, if you’ve ever made that, you’ll recognize the method. And the method is: give all that good flavor nowhere to go but into the tofu.

Shanah Tovah, my Jewish, Jew-ish, not-at-all-Jewish darlings. May the season and year ahead bring you every blessing. And may you call your senators and ask them to please, compassionately, oppose the new and terrifying Graham-Cassidy "healthcare" bill. xo

The blinding white pieces were not quite as blindingly like that in real life, but it's true I could have done a better job with even marinade distribution. Plus, I have a tilty oven rack.
Mahogany Tofu (aka Mock au Vin)
This is the tofu we make "for company," like the weird suburban ex-hippies that we are. To double the recipe, put it all in a giant roasting pan, as shown here, or simply use two lasagna-sized pans.

1 (14-ounce) block of extra-firm tofu
Juice and grated zest of half an orange
1 shallot (or part of an onion), chopped
Black pepper
½ cup red wine (chianti is a good choice)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon each sugar and kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 generous tablespoon butter

Drain the tofu, wrap it in a clean dish towel, and put something heavy on it. For me, this is a small cutting board that I then put the tea kettle or a can of tomatoes on; press the tofu for at least five minutes, but longer is better—up to an hour. You’re getting all the water out of it so that it will get really thirsty, and then it will greedily suck up all that delicious wine and juice and butter.

Heat the oven to 400 and grease a lasagna-sized baking dish.

Cut the tofu crosswise into twelve slices (this is easiest to do evenly if you cut it into quarters and then cut each quarter into thirds) and lay the slices in the pan, where they will just barely fit. Grate the orange zest over it, then sprinkle on the onion and give it a good grinding of black pepper.

Stir together the orange juice, wine, soy sauce, sherry vinegar, sugar, salt, and thyme, then pour this over the tofu and tilt the pan so that the liquid makes contact with all of the cut surfaces of the tofu. Dot the tofu with butter.

Bake until the liquid has completely evaporated and the tofu is a deep brown (the pan may start to look a bit burnt around the edges—don't worry), about 45 minutes. Allow to sit for fifteen minutes or so (it's firmer and tastier once it cools a bit) then eat. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Neon Pickled Squash / Bean Feast redux / Books

I am running a new recipe below, for Neon Pickled Squash, even though what I really want to do is run the recipe for Bean Feast again. Because I’ve run it before, I know, but I cannot overemphasize the staple-ness of this recipe at my house. We have it at least every other week, if not weekly. And it’s almost always pinto beans, but sometimes I mix it up with black beans, because we’re crazy like that. If you are too lazy to click over to the link, the idea is that you cook up a perfect pot of plain beans, in your pressure cooker, with plenty of salt. I start with 2 or 3 cups of dried beans, a handful of salt, and water to generously cover; bring it to a boil, shut off the heat, leave for an our; cook at high pressure for 8 minutes (6 for black beans), then let the steam release on its own. 

A perfectly doctored bowl. I sliced the squash pickles into planks.
A pressure cooker yields beans that are perfectly tender and creamy inside, while remaining unmushy. You can bite them, and the skins are intact, but they middles are soft. I can’t even explain how wonderful they are; you simply can’t achieve this level of bean perfection with regular boiling, and believe me, I tried for years. (If you have a newfangled Magic Pot, please let me know what you think.)

The classic Bean Feast. Photo credit Ben Newman.
Then you serve everyone a glorious dishful of steaming beans (with or without rice, as you prefer) and put out an assortment yummy and attractive DIY toppings such as:

·      Escabeche and/or pickled jalapenos
·      Pickled radishes and/or squash (below)
·      Crumbled feta or shredded cheddar or Jack
·      A little cruet (!) of tasty olive oil
·      Coarse salt
·      Lime wedges
·      Hot sauce, including something smoky
·      Diced avocado
·      Slivered cabbage or romaine lettuce
·      Cilantro leaves
·      Chopped white or red onions
·      Sour cream

You are going for maximum flavor, color, texture, nutrition, so assort the toppings accordingly.

From the New Yorker. . . amiright 
But if you’re really here just for the pickled squash, and a bean feast isn’t even in your future, you’re still in luck. Because these are wonderful pickles—sweet-and-sour and good on a sandwich or burger, in a quesadilla, with cheese and crackers, or right out of the jar—and they’re easy to make. Plus, you’re not canning them, so you don’t even need to lie awake listening for pings and fretting about botulism and imagining gravestones that say "Thanks for the pickles." Just stick them in the fridge, like a normal person.

Beauty x 4 
Meanwhile, thank you to everyone—all of you parents and readers and teachers and librarians—who already bought One Mixed-Up Night, blogged about it, ordered it for your school or library, read it to your kids, reviewed it on Amazon or Goodreads, requested it at your local bookstore, wrote to me about it, and recommended it. Those things all help books sales SO MUCH! Also, there is a movement afoot to leave copies of the book in IKEA stores as a form of guerrilla book publicity. Please stay tuned for more on that, or go rogue, and sneak a copy into your local IKEA and enjoy my eternal gratitude. Also, if you send me photos, I will post them here!

For you grown-ups out there, I just finished this book, which I loved, and am reading this book now, which I am loving. Oh, reading. It really is a haven in a heartless world. Stay safe, beloved readers and resisters and dreamers and Floridians. Love to you all. xo

Trombetta, c/o Renees Garden seed company
Neon Pickled Squash
This is adapted from the recipe for Zucchini Pickles in the wonderful book preserving book Put ‘Em Up. The pickles are crazily yellow and perfectly seasoned—bread-and-butterish, but spicier and less sweet. Also, the ice treatment keeps them nice and crunchy. I make these every September because my friend Meredith grows these enormous crookneck Trombetta squash that are so enormous and so crooknecked they look like green pythons that have swallowed swans. They are very firm and lovely, though, and they make wonderful pickles. You use, like, half of one to get two pounds of slices. Seriously. Then you keep the other half in the fridge and saw away at it intermittently, like it's a gigantic and bland vegetarian salami.

2 pounds summer squash (crookneck, zucchini, or the ginormous trombetta), sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 onion, sliced into half moons
1 tray of ice cubes
½ cup kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 small red chili or 1 teaspoon pepper flakes (if you like spicy pickles)

In a large bowl, toss the zucchini and onions with the salt, then crack the ice over it and add just enough cold water to cover. Leave it for two hours, then drain it, fish out any unmelted ice, and use your clean hands to pack the veggies into a large, very clean 2-quart jar (or several smaller jars). (The original recipe has you rinse the squash, but I find the salt amount to be more perfect if it’s unrinsed. Up to you!)

Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil, then pour over the squash in the jar(s). Use a canning funnel if you have one. And if you don’t have one, buy a canning funnel, for god’s sake. You will use it everyday to fill lunchbox thermoses, and you will wonder what you were thinking, not having one.

Once the pickles are cool, store them in the fridge, where they will keep indefinitely.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


My friend Moira Greto took this photo of Ben. 

Oh, my friends. You know how this is for me. These first low, low back-to-school days. I believe I have mentioned them before, yes? The wild grapes just starting to perfume the air, the sunlight gone sharp and cool, the street dotted with bright maple leaves. Things I love! And yet. "I think the cats are depressed about the kids being gone," I say to Michael, and he smiles at me, nods. "Do you think I have Epstein-Barr?" I ask him. "I'm so tired." "Probably," he says, and I laugh. The house is echoing. I bake a plum cake to kill time. I blitz half a watermelon in the blender with the juice of a lime, drink the entire thing and feel a little better. The cats lick my face.

And of course: Hurricane Harvey. I mean, my god. I remind myself of. . . myself. Once, during a terrible El Nino storm in Santa Cruz, I went to the SPCA to borrow some Hav-a-Heart traps. "Missing pets?" they fretted, and I said, "Oh, no. Just mice in the attic." They suggested, gently, that I waited until the disaster had passed to attend to my miniature, insulation-chewing concerns. Which seemed fair, if entirely mortifying. So yes, I will remember not to call the Coast Guard about my children having returned to school. I am sending love to you, my brave, beloved Texas people.

And, in the meantime, this middle-grade novel is about to be published! In a week. September 5th. Please order it! Please review it on Amazon and Goodreads! Please ask your local library and bookstore to order it! I will be so, so grateful. Kirkus even wrote something nice about it, concluding: "Readers will revel in Frankie and Walter’s cathartic romp and learn much about grief, family, and friendship along the way." The same Kirkus who once described a book of mine as so dull that it made you wish you were Captain Hook just so you could claw your own eyes out more efficiently. That was, at least, the gist of the review, I felt. Anyhoo. If you know anyone who writes book reviews or is a children's librarian or a bookshop owner, and you wanted to put me in touch with them, I'd be thrilled! Thank you so much, as always, for your help.

p.s. Speaking of help, and how I'm always asking for it: will you please send me questions for my parenting-teens advice column? Thank you!