So, How Was Your Day?
Lavender rooibos tea. Chilled overnight oatmeal with chia seeds, vanilla, hemp and strawberries.
: Huge salad with arugula, kale, shaved fennel, cabbage, chopped dill + scallions, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, and cider vinaigrette.
Leftovers from this butternut squash + quinoa tian (recipe I’ve been working on). Gelato.
I wake up at 7am to my dog, Maggie, pouncing on top of me, and decide that I’m going to go for a run. I suit up, have about two minutes of temptation by way of the warmed up coffee maker and decide to head out before I cave in. The run is good for the first half, most definitely. The clouds come in for the second and absolutely pour all of the rain down. Feeling a distinct “warrior vibe” at this point, I basically sprint all the way home. I dry off, make a hot cup of tea and enjoy the oatmeal that I set up in the fridge the night before. The first local strawberries are here so the ratio of oatmeal to fruit is 1:1. I drink tons of water, clean up and head out to pick up a few things for a recipe development sesh. I check out the new health food store down the road from my house on the way back. After I ask her about it, the owner shows me her amazing 80’s Jeep Wrangler Islander series in the parking lot. It has a sunset stencilled on the side and I am so jealous.
I’m developing some quinoa recipes for a magazine and basically working out the kinks on a few of the last ones at this point. This afternoon, it’s a maple roasted butternut tian with french lentils, quinoa, kale, pine nuts and a bunch of other goodies. I munch on a salad intermittently while I fix up the components and make notes. The finished product is really delicious and comes together pretty much how I imagined it. I snap a couple photos to send off to the stylist, along with the final recipe and I cross it off the list. I answer some emails and moderate some stuff for the blog. I get an email about photographing a muffin-centric story for a mag and get so excited. I have a brainwave on a summery gazpacho recipe and jot some frantic descriptions of the idea down in Evernote before it gets away.
I eat a fair amount of the recipe development project leftovers for dinner and ask my man if he wants to go for a bike ride with the motivation of gelato at the end of it all. He just took my little cruiser for a spring tune up (what a guy) and I’m pumped to hit the road. We enjoy our treats (I get lemon ice, he gets chocolate + strawberry) in the alleyway beside the gelato shop, leaning on our bikes. The sun is setting, the breezes smell of the lake and flowers, and my fave denim cutoffs have emerged from the closet for another season. That summer feeling has me in a pretty dreamy mood. We ride back in the last shred of daylight and talk about some future trips to New York, Denver and Brazil. I fall asleep while watching some of the new season of Arrested Development, dreaming about the badass Jeep that will one day be mine.
Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with Spud Mckenzie?
She is the biggest sucky baby ever. If she hears so much as the rustle of a blanket from 20 feet away, she’s on the case and ready to snuggle up.
2. Chicken or the egg? You started your site and got hired to develop recipes or you were developing recipes and then started your site?
I started my site first! I had a friend from school working at a food mag and she saw that I was taking the work on my site fairly seriously, so she asked me about doing some work for them. Sometimes balancing the freelance stuff with my real-life scheduled job is way hard. It tends to be feast or famine with the creative work, but I sort of live and die by that. I like to get swallowed up by the project and just breathe through it as the days go on. I hate everything for two minutes, refocus, take stock, and then I try to think of some new approach that feels uncomfortable/intimidating, but somehow manageable. Clocking in at the restaurant helps with this process a lot actually, and so does pursuing other creative channels. I’ll overhear a guy in pastry talking about how malted milk powder is made and I’ll have this bizarre lightbulb moment on colour composition. I think people can see the focus that comes from the push and pull, and in turn I’ve been getting some cool opportunities.
3. Top three favorite places in the world to eat when you’re not cooking.
1. Liverpool House in Montreal. That place is a party. Period. 2. Blue Hill in Manhattan (although I want to visit Stone Barns pretty badly). We ate these snap peas there that were like, the Platonic ideal of snap pea enjoyment (that’s such a gross “foodie”-type thing to say—I’m sorry). Still can’t believe how good they were. 3. My Aunt Carol’s. She pretty much crushes everyone in the home cook department.
Laura Wright is a recipe developer and photographer living in Niagara On The Lake, Ontario and the creator of thefirstmess.com, a site that focuses on accessible, seasonal, and healthy vegan cuisine. She also works at a farm-to-table restaurant and is a casual gardener. thefirstmess.com