Barley Water: Daffodils, Spring & An Ode to Mary

Cancer has been on my mind a fair bit recently — not too many mornings ago, I awoke to the worst news. A dear friend and longtime mentor had passed away. Another victim of breast cancer.

The world knows Mary Corey as many things — the first female editor of the Baltimore Sun, an elegant writer and intrepid reporter who covered breaking national news and fashion’s frothy runway shows with equal aplomb, a graceful leader of a major regional newsroom at a time of great tumult in journalism.

But I simply know Mary as just about the best boss anyone could have asked for — and an intensely big-hearted friend.

Mary was my editor in my years as a young features reporter — she pushed me to think big and nudged the (then) very-reluctant me into covering fashion, sparking a career path that I’m on to this day. It would be an understatement to say that I would not be the writer I am today without Mary.

By all accounts, even as cancer overtook her life, Mary remained as sunny as ever, still thinking of others above herself. That was just the way she was — big sister to everyone, no matter the circumstance.

So when my Let’s Lunch international lunch club — inspired by cancer survivor Karen at GeoFooding — decided to post a dish today inspired by spring, life and daffodils to promote cancer awareness, I jumped right in.

Mary, this one’s for you …

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Cinnamon Buns: Faith, Restored


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What you are witnessing here, folks, would be what they call “getting back on the horse.”

After the smoke, the blackened loaves, the almost-blazing defeat that was my attempt to make ciabatta last week, I’d begun doubting my quest to bake my way through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice along with 200 plus amateur bakers around the world.

Could I really pull this off? (Without burning down my apartment, preferably.)

Should I even try?

But love can be a powerful motivator. In this case, that would be Mike’s profound love for cinnamon buns.

Since I joined the bread bakers’ challenge in May, Mike had been waiting impatiently for cinnamon bun week. And by the time cinnamon buns came up, I had begun to see a greater purpose to baking them — I thought they might help assuage my lingering guilt over a not-so-little visit I made to Stella McCartney in Paris recently. (Hey, 50%-off is pretty good, even in Euros.)

So I grabbed my saddle and called for my horse.

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A Mouth Full of Booger


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Slowly and carefully, Greg and I chewed, on the verge of both laughter and disgust as we tried to put a name to what it was we were tasting.

“It’s like a bad taco,” Greg said.

“Tequila or margaritas — regurgitated,” I said, thinking suddenly of a college night long, long ago.

It was actually vomit that we were sampling — vomit-flavored jelly beans, to be precise.

When we had passed a display of rather unappetizing-sounding new Jelly Belly flavors at the Fancy Food Show in New York City, we had known it was a silly gimmick but hadn’t been able to resist. And so we spent some unpleasant minutes with mouths full of centipede (which tasted like grass and earth), skunk spray (as billed) and canned dog food (think Chef Boyardee). (Canned dog food and centipede are new this year.)

Drawing the line at Baby Wipes, we decided to walk away while our tastebuds were still intact.

“I still taste Booger in my mouth,” Greg whispered as we slunk away.

Well, somewhat intact, I suppose.

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