Why not a list

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the idea of writing about just one thing, so instead I’m going to list 5 things I’ve been thinking about this week.

1. Flan. I know how to make Brazilian flan, which is called pudim.


But the way I learned is not as thick and creamy as I want it to be. I tried a new recipe (4 eggs instead of 3) last Sunday, that I didn’t like. And as I type this, I have my next experiment (3 eggs + 1 egg yolk) in the oven. The #1 reason to make flan? The caramel sauce. Did you know that if you dump a cup of sugar into a hot pan and stir, it will liquify? So fun.

I want to try making Vietnamese flan next, because whatever they’re doing over at Le Viet is killer. Recipes, anyone?

[update: burned the hell out of it. Onto flan #3!]

2. Catalina Estrada. I first found out about the Colombian designer Catalina Estrada from one of those Paulo Coelho planners that are all over the place. I love her use of bright colors, flowers, leaves, and animals.


It’s like grown-up Lisa Frank. She designed one of Shakira’s perfume bottles (major points in my book). But the big news this week is that I was looking for a new comforter and found out that Catalina Estrada now designs bedding. OMGGG. But I can’t figure out where to buy it.


Somebody help me. I actually don’t own one single Catalina Estrada dress, either. What am I even doing with my life.

3. Mindy Kaling on entitlement. My voracious-reader friend Alexis lent me Mindy Kaling’s second book after carefully removing the dust jacket per the Alexis Lending Library Rules. The best part is at the very end, where Mindy says that confidence is entitlement. And entitlement isn’t actually a bad thing, it’s “simply the belief that you deserve something.” And then she follows that up “how do you know you deserve something?” The answer is hard work, which is pretty much always the answer to everything. I like this because it’s the first time I’ve ever heard the word “entitlement” coupled with the idea of the person actually deserving the thing they feel entitled to.

4. Sweet dumpling squash. Is not at Whole Foods. And I am sad. Does anybody know where to find some?


I used to sell it at Gardens of Eagan in Minnesota, together with the very lovely delicata variety. If you want to read a lush and epic farm story, check out Turn Here Sweet Corn by Atina Diffley, who taught me everything I know about selling squash (and thumping watermelons, and feeling for worms in corn instead of ripping the husk off like a total barbarian).

5. Agates. Yesterday I was walking around John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge with my friends Lauren and Bergs, and we saw some really cool mushrooms, egrets on egrets on egrets, and a turtle chasing another turtle underwater. As we walked, I found myself constantly scanning the gravel trail for agates, which is something I used to do as a kid in Minnesota. Raw agates look like this:


But if you polish them up, they look like this:


I used to find them and bust them open with a hammer to see what pretty crystals I might find inside. I still get excited just thinking about it. Hammers + potential surprises = fun times.

That’s my list. Things that got scrapped: Anjelica Huston’s wild and crazy life story, the Uber driver that told me all about his blackout motorcycle trip to Alaska (he knows it happened, though, because he has pictures), and this really beautiful song.


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