“It makes one’s mouth hurt to speak with such forced merriment.”
— David Sedaris (Holidays on Ice)

Last time I think I was complaining about feeling like I wasn’t getting out of the kitchen. Ironically, enough, now it’s the exact opposite! After all, who in the world has time to cook these days? *big sigh of sadness* While, according to my calendar, it’s supposedly the season of cookie baking, menu planning and putting up decorations while watching Charlie Brown and drinking mulled wine or eggnog (all glorious things, right?), the academic calendar instead tells me that it’s crunch time. So, since I last posted, I’ve basically been focusing my attention on reading about icons, reading and grading 17 papers and, in general, running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Didn’t you know? On academic campuses across the US, that’s totally the “it-look” right now–frazzled and slightly pale (from blood loss or your general fear that your adviser(s)/professors, etc. could randomly decide to behead you). But, since the picture of the card and chocolates above came from one of my now-former students, clearly there are some perks to the “beheaded-chicken” lifestyle (“some,” of course, being the operative word).

In any case, since I have nothing to really show for myself (at least, in culinary terms), I’m going to tell you about what I’ve been dreaming of doing in the key moments of procrastination that keep the whole academic machine going….

A few recipes, for both food and drinks, that I want to try ASAP:

I tasted this amazing Quince Tart (at least what was left of it) at our departmental holiday party this past Friday and, let me just say, it’s unfair that, in terms of fall fruit, apples and pears get all the glory. Long live the quince!

I love perusing the Dining section in the NYTimes, but seeing this eggnog recipe–one that will seemingly knock your socks off–made me love it even more.

Before discovering this recipe, I had no clue what amaro was, but I think it’s high time to experience this for myself. I like the idea of a bitter and herbal twist on the classic Manhattan.

I’ve been in the mood for a crumble. Or a pear crisp. Really, either would do. I’m just really into the idea of oats, toasted nuts and gooey, oozing baked fruit right now. I think the rain might have something to do with this….and maybe the thought of the east coast air with which I will soon be reunited.

Returning to PA also makes me long for Strudel (and I love love love the title of this blog. Can you guess why? Hint: childhood reading).

And, last but not least, something a little heartier, but still exciting: from the Minimalist, a Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad. Or, never far from my muffin-loving mind, a little something with pumpkin and feta. And maybe Pastitsio. And wedding soup, but my mom’s recipe because it’s the best (maybe I’ll let you in on the family secret). 🙂

And a few other random things that are keeping me going….

The Year’s Best Cookbooks, the thought of snow, Zoey-bug the mad(ly cute) dachshund, seeing the family, no more student papers, a completely finished prospectus and fun books galore–Pnin, Corelli’s Mandolin, Oryx and Crake…..and whatever else I can get my greedy little fingers on (cookbooks clearly included).

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