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8.27.2007

What to do next

Well. After all the baby beets and fancy farro and salmon straight from the boat, I think you’ll be somehow pleased to know that our diet for the next ten days consisted of a lot of French fries, and beer, and Frosted Mini Wheats. I should also mention the Newman’s Own Arrowroot Alphabet Cookies, and the one night that we ate salt-and-vinegar potato chips, cornichons, and an oatmeal cookie for dinner, in our rental car, waiting for a ferry.

After all the hullabaloo, it was really kind of nice.




It’s hard, let me tell you, to plan a honeymoon. I mean, planning a wedding is hard, but planning a honeymoon is not much easier. Not for us, anyway. We felt as though we had so many options, and so many places we wanted to go, but none of them felt quite right. A honeymoon, so it goes, is supposed to be some sort of exotic, romantic, sun-drenched escape with bottomless piña coladas, the proverbial trip of a lifetime. It’s an exciting proposition to go away like that, with no obligations or agendas. It’s also pretty daunting. We didn’t want to waste our chance, or blow it on something only so-so. For a while there, we felt sort of paralyzed. One night - on the way to look at proofs of our wedding invitations, no less - we even fought about it. I’m not proud to say it, but I actually cried. Honeymoons are not for the faint of heart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

We wanted a road-trippy kind of honeymoon, but one without too much driving, and we wanted to be outside, and we wanted to walk a lot, and we wanted it to be pretty. First, we thought about Scotland, but being the land of haggis, it wasn’t the best idea, food-wise. Then we thought about New Zealand, but it would be winter there. We thought about Italy or parts of France, but they would be packed with tourists. Then I saw an article in Saveur - it was last September’s issue, I think - about Vancouver Island, a long strip of land off the coast of British Columbia. Apparently, we could find mushroom foragers there, and a farmhouse bed-and-breakfast, and even water buffalo. Needless to say, we were smitten. It felt a little silly to honeymoon so close to home, but it sounded just right. Plus, it might be nearby, but neither of us had been there, and anyway, it’s hard to think of a better place to be in August than the Pacific Northwest. So we made our reservations, and on July 31, two days after the wedding - just enough time, you know, for doing our laundry - we boarded the Victoria Clipper, and away we went.




I understand now why people go on honeymoons. For one, you’re exhausted. Second, you’re really exhausted. And third, it’s hard to do all that planning, and put in all that work, and party so happily with all the people you love, and then have it just - ta daaa! - be over. It’s really sort of traumatic. Nobody warns you about that part. They just cheer and wave goodbye. I guess some newlyweds feel nothing but happy, but we felt a lot of things. We felt relieved, and of course ecstatic, and triumphant, and newly wed. But we also felt weepy and out of sorts, with no idea what to do next. That’s why, we learned, there are honeymoons. We needed ten days to nap, to read, to play cards, to pet water buffalo, eat fries, and get used to ourselves again, just us two.




We started in Victoria. It’s a pretty little city, the provincial capital, on the southern tip of the island. We arrived to sunshine and rolled our suitcases along the harbor to Swan’s Hotel, our stop for the night. Our room had tall ceilings and exposed wooden beams, and I’m sure we would have really enjoyed it, had we not fallen asleep right after dinner. I blame that on the beer at Spinnakers, a pub just cross the Johnson Street Bridge. Their beer was stunningly good. We shared samplers of six different kinds - they were small glasses, I assure you - and by the last sip, we had quite a crush on British Columbia. I like to think that Washington and Oregon make wonderful beers, but these were stunners, every one. The food wasn’t so nice, not unless you like your fries with a lump of pink aioli, but the beer warrants a return trip.

But the next day, we picked up our rental car and drove 30 minutes north, to a town called Brentwood Bay, where we had booked a night at the Boathouse.




To get there, you drive through a residential neighborhood to a particular house, and you park in the driveway. Then you knock on the front door, and Harvey and Jean, the couple who live there, help you carry your bags down the hill behind the house, 89 wooden steps in all, to a one-room house on the water. It’s painted red, with a dartboard hung on the deck, a queen bed and a table for two, a tiny kitchen, and a sitting room the size of a closet, with two armchairs and big windows that tilt open to the bay. On the counter is a plate of homemade cookies from Jean, and the small refrigerator holds a pitcher of milk, to go with your coffee or tea.




The bathhouse is next door, about 10 steps up the hill, and the rowboat is right out front, at the end of the dock. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a few seals through the binoculars on the ottoman, and maybe some giant purple jellyfish under the house, and then, later, your husband will row - row! - you to dinner at the restaurant across the cove, and your heart will burst, core to cockles, clean out of your chest.




Never mind that said dinner isn’t particularly good. (Shrimp + andouille + canned tomato sauce does not equal jambalaya, in case you ever wondered. Blessed be the convenience store nearby that sells Frosted Mini Wheats, a sturdy stomach filler in such emergencies.) When you’ve been rowed to dinner, such things can be excused.

We would have stayed longer, but the Boathouse was booked, so we headed to our next stop, in the Cowichan Valley, the agricultural heart of the island. We had reserved two nights at Fairburn Farm, the idyllic bed-and-breakfast profiled in Saveur, not far from the town of Cowichan Bay. It was at the end of a long, unpaved road, a white-and-red farmhouse with three guest rooms, a wood-burning brick oven, thirty-odd water buffalo, goats, sheep, chickens, a mutt named AJ, a wraparound porch, and a gray-haired farmer who rips around on a dirt bike. We were met at the door by Mara Jernigan, a professional chef, cooking teacher, and leading voice for the Slow Food movement in Canada, who also doubles as the keeper of the guesthouse. She was the reason we came.




Each morning, we woke to eat breakfast on the porch. It started with a spread of homemade granola, yogurt, fresh blueberry compote, and a pitcher of juice on the sideboard. Then Mara made a second course, hot this time: a frittata, say, made with farm eggs, their yolks like liquid goldenrod, or thin, crepe-like pancakes with a length of turkey sausage.




At night, Mara was in the kitchen again, cooking four- or seven-course meals for her guests on the porch. For us, she served heirloom tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella made nearby from the farm’s own milk, doused with balsamic vinegar from Venturi-Schulze Vineyard, just down the road. (It’s an amazing vinegar, by the way, totally worth the price and shipping.) Then she served a corn-leek soup topped with a single zucchini blossom. It tasted pure corn milk, what you get when you give the cob a good scraping, sweet and slushy and delicious. Then came a choice of lamb, again from the farm’s own stock, or sablefish poached in miso from Denman Island, and finally a light, buttery cake layered with mascarpone and fresh berries. Then the stars come out over the mountain up ahead, and we drank mugs of the house mint “tea,” fresh mint leaves steeped in boiling water. Then we slept, until we did it all over again.

The best part, though, was when AJ came zipping up the yard on his short, unlikely legs, chasing the buffalo from their pastures to the barn for milking.




Water buffalo are like big dogs, friendly and affectionate. They’re enormous, really, so you have to be careful when they nuzzle you, lest they knock you over or skewer you with their horns. If there happens to be a calf running around, hold out your hand, and he’ll lick it. Certain types of water buffalo, we learned, have purple tongues, the color of dried lavender.




But then, of course, it was time to leave. We had a reservation in Tofino, a little to the north and then three hours west, straight across the waistline of the island, on the coast. For fortifications, we stopped by Hilary’s Cheese in Cowichan Bay, the shop-slash-deli of a local cheesemaker, as well as True Grain Bread, next door, for a baguette.




(Just so you know, The Udder Guy’s Ice Cream Company, just a few doors up, also is worth a stop. We shared scoops of the mint chocolate ice cream, and of raspberry with chocolate. Pay no attention to the jelly bean they smash, willy-nilly, into the top of the scoop. No idea what that’s all about.)

And then we came to Tofino. If you’ve ever been to Boulder, Colorado, imagine that, but with surfers instead of hikers and skiers. It’s relaxed, welcoming, and a little touristy, and everyone there is outdoorsy and attractive, and all the little boys have long hair and tans. The beaches are lined with white sand and rimmed with evergreens, and the water goes on forever.




We stayed at a place called the Middle Beach Lodge, one of the more affordable options in a town of very expensive lodging, and nestled high on the rocks between two beaches, it was just what we wanted. In fact, unless you happen to dislike tide pools and sea anemones and beaches shrouded in morning fog and sunsets on the back deck and waking to the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls - which, I have to say, would make you straight-up wrong - it’s close to heaven.

We took naps and peered into tide pools, and Brandon thrashed me at Double Solitaire. We bought our second box of Mini Wheats - who knew they were such a good snack? - and we also found SoBo. Short for Sophisticated Bohemian, it’s a phenomenon not to be missed, a purple lunch truck in the parking lot of the Tofino Botanical Gardens that churns out everything from ceviche to soba noodles, cornmeal-crusted oysters, and polenta fries so stupendously good that I spoiled my lunch. At night, service moves to a cozy building in the garden, where they pour good wines and foamy beers. For a chilly evening, I especially recommend the hot soup - carrot-ginger with coconut milk, if they’re making it - and a hunk of warm cornbread.




One day, we took a float plane out to a natural hot springs cove nearby, and had the water not been so crazily, ferociously hot, and had I not been savagely bitten - I still have scars - by giant(!) mosquitos(!) in the rainforest(!) there, oh Tofino, I might never have left you. And woe that we did, really, because we had a terrible time getting back to the mainland, waiting in parking lots at three different ferry terminals because it was the end of (what we had no idea was) a provincial holiday, and everyone was traveling. But one could do much worse, I think, than a dashboard dinner of vinegar-laced potato chips (bought in Cowichan Bay), cornichons (brought from Seattle), and an oatmeal cookie from SoBo, washed down with some water from a vending machine.

We did get to our last destinations, eventually - to Halfmoon Bay, on the Sunshine Coast, and then on Vancouver - and honestly, I could go on and on and on. We loved it all, and then, even more, we loved coming home to find our friend Sam at our kitchen table, with fixings for tabouli and mint juleps. But I brought home a souvenir for you, and rather than make you spend any more time in these rare, fleeting last days of summer - the very best part, the filet mignon of seasons - reading my never-ending honeymoon treatise, I want to hurry up and give it to you already.

I think you might know what it is.




It’s those polenta fries. The recipe, at least. I know you’re going to love them. Imagine creamy polenta with a cup of asiago stirred in, and plenty of butter to boot. Imagine, then, that you let it cool, and then you cut it into fat, sturdy batons - like Lincoln Logs, only edible. Then you fry them until they’re golden and crisp and a little puffed at the seams, and then you eat them, alongside a hamburger, say, or another something hot from the grill. I hope you might want to make them for Labor Day - those of you in the U.S., anyway. I know I will.

Thank you, friends, for making this trip with me through our wedding, and what came before and after. You’ve indulged me, and for that I am so grateful. Coming here has bolstered, calmed, and inspired me. It’s been a great summer.

Onward, September.



Polenta Fries
Adapted from Lisa Barber-Ahier, SoBo, and Saveur

SoBo serves these with a creamy garlic sauce - a cross, flavor-wise, between aioli and Ranch dressing - but we like them plain. We made them for a dinner party the week after we got home, and everyone agreed. (They also inhaled them.) These fries don’t need any help.

Also, if you happen to have an outdoor grill with burner on the side, consider frying your polenta there. It’ll keep that nagging fried-food smell out of your house. Or, if you don’t feel like frying at all, you could just eat the hot, cheesed-up polenta on its own. It’s spectacular.

4 cups vegetable stock
Salt
2 cups coarse cornmeal
1 cup finely shredded asiago cheese
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
Canola oil, for frying

Combine the vegetable stock and salt to taste in a heavy medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and slowly, whisking constantly, add the cornmeal in a thin stream. Cook, stirring constantly, until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pot and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the cheese and butter.

Transfer the polenta to a nonstick 8-inch or 9-inch square pan. (Or, alternatively, pour the polenta onto a sheet pan, and quickly shape it into a 9-inch square.) Smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and allow to cool slightly at room temperature. Then refrigerate, uncovered – you want it to dry out a little – until chilled and set, about 2-3 hours.

When you’re ready to fry the polenta, pour oil into a heavy, large pot to a depth of 2 inches. Place over medium heat until the temperature hits 375 degrees Fahrenheit on a deep-fry thermometer. Meanwhile, turn the polenta out of the pan, and cut it into twenty 1”-x-4” sticks. Working with 4 polenta sticks at a time and taking great care - oil spatters are dangerous, and they hurt! - fry without stirring until the sticks are deep gold, a pretty shade of amber, about 4 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined sheet pan. (If any fries are stuck together, gently separate them.)

Serve immediately.

Yield: 20 fries, serving about 6 to 8 people

8.20.2007

So we feasted.

When you care about food, and when you’re marrying someone who also cares about food, and when you met this someone because of a particular food, and when both of you spend your days – or the better part of them, anyway – cooking, scheming, and daydreaming about food, well, let’s just say this: there’s a lot of pressure to feed people well at your wedding. Which, quite honestly, is no easy feat.

In most circles, the word “wedding” isn’t exactly synonymous with “delicious.” Usually, it’s just the opposite. Many venues equipped to host weddings – hotels, gardens, museums, and so on – require that you use their (often iffy) in-house caterer, or at least limit your choice to a few companies. That’s part of the reason why Brandon and I felt so picky about our wedding site. We didn’t want to choose a caterer – and, by extension, the food we would eat on our wedding day – just because some stodgy administrator told us to. In fact, the more we looked around, the more we more we found ourselves thinking about the caterer, not just the site where we’d be eating said caterer’s food. In the end, when we chose Bellingham, we chose it not only because it was pretty and on the water and blah blah blah, but also because of Ciaò Thyme. We even changed our wedding date – from July 28 to July 29 – to match their availability. We meant business. We just knew they were right.



I mean, I don’t know about you, but my kind of caterer is the type that claps his hands and gets giddy when you ask him to make fingerling potato chips. I like the kind who, when you tell him – somewhat sheepishly, almost apologizing – that you want deviled eggs during the cocktail hour, grins, rubs his hands together, and starts gushing excitedly about crème fraîche and herbed aioli and capers and caviar and the little, tiny chicken eggs he can get from a farmer nearby. I also like the kind of caterer who calls to ask whether you’d like the mirepoix for your farro salad kept crunchy, or more caramelized. It’s also quite terrific when he calls to tell you, giddily, that he’s been out meeting with his usual farmers, and that your beets have just been picked, and that your potatoes are being harvested on Lummi Island right this minute, and that, you know, he’s been thinking about the blue cheese for the beets, and if it’s alright, he’s feeling kind of excited about a particular Spanish type, rather than one from Oregon. I also like the kind of caterer who dances with you at your wedding, and who hugs you and kisses you and your new husband on the cheeks. I really like that kind. Which, luckily, is just what we got.




I can’t say enough about Ciaò Thyme. It’s owned and run by Jessica and Mataio Gillis, she being the coordinator and keeper of all details, he being the chef and chief forager. They call their operation a “restaurant without walls,” featuring local produce and doing all cooking on-site. Because they deal only in seasonal foods and every menu they make is different, they don’t do tastings, so until our rehearsal dinner – which they prepared, along with the wedding – we hadn’t tasted a crumb of their food. But given what we’d heard from our friend Ashley, who tipped us off to them in the first place, not to mention all the promising meetings and phone calls, I have to say, we weren’t worried in the least. In fact, it kind of made it more fun.




Our rehearsal dinner was held at Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale, about 15 minutes north of Bellingham. We reserved a clearing between a big, red barn and the Nooksack River, with a dozen picnic tables. Brandon’s dad strung tiny globe lights around the two white tents we rented, and Jessica and Mataio covered the tables with ivory cloths and kraft paper runners, kraft-colored napkins and Bambu veneerware. Each table was topped with a bundle of flowers in a Mason jar - blue cornflowers, nigella, lavender, and thistle - and a carafe of fresh raspberry lemonade, and three jars of our pickles: finger-size carrots with garlic and thyme, grapes with cinnamon and mustard seed, and cornichons with pearl onions. (Okay, yeah, we didn’t make the cornichons, but we did hunt down our favorite brand, Roland, and repackage them into half-pint jars. That’s got to count for something.)

We were aiming for an upscale picnic of sorts, the kind of thing where the bride can wear jeans and a messy ponytail and her favorite yellow flats, and where the buffet is spread with all sorts of summery things in their finest incarnation. The kind of thing that goes nicely with a bottle of hefeweizen and a game of Frisbee. The kind of thing, let’s say, where my uncle Arnold can sport a ponytail and my niece Mia can sleep in her stroller, parked under a tree.

So this is what we ate:


Pulled chicken served with salted rosemary buns from Breadfarm, red leaf lettuce, Dijon mustard, basil pesto, tapenade, and sun-dried tomato pesto (and Brandon’s red onion pickles, a big jar full)

A platter of roasted vegetables, including Roma tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, shallots, shiitake mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes still on the vine

Sliced tomatoes, basil, and fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella

Fingerling potato salad with sweet marinated onions, haricots verts, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette

Fresh berry tartlets with honey mascarpone

and oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies with coconut


Now, you know I’m not much of an exaggerator - not compared to my new husband, anyway - but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a sweeter, juicier piece of chicken. My aunt Tina, too, swooned into her roasted Roma tomato. And my brother David told me later that he nearly ate two sandwiches, just so he could have another roll. They were tender, like brioche, with shiny brown tops and flecks of fresh rosemary. Mataio told me that night, as he nestled a gooseberry into the top of a tartlet, that he worked closely with Breadfarm to get the buns just right, size and texture and taste. (You know you’re working with the right people when you want to plunk down by their set-up table and hang out all night, rather than mingle with your guests. Nothing against our guests, of course, but you know.)

And though this is getting a little bit long here - pause if you need to, of course, and grab a sandwich or something - I want to tell you about about our wedding menu too. It just made us so proud.


Before the ceremony, at the park:



Housemade fingerling potato chips with rosemary lemonade


During cocktail hour, as passed hors doeuvres –



Deviled eggs two ways, with crème fraîche and domestic caviar and a chive garnish,



and with herbed aioli and capers



Quartered apricots wrapped in prosciutto and grilled, served on thin toasts with herbed chevre



Little corn cakes with basil aioli, bacon, avocado, and roasted grape tomatoes

And sweet butter on toasts with assorted thinly sliced radishes and salt


The buffet dinner


Alderwood-smoked sockeye salmon with nectarine-serrano salsa or fresh herbs


Thinly sliced fennel with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, tossed with lemon, olive oil, and sea salt



Baby roasted beets with roasted shallot-blue cheese vinaigrette and crushed local hazelnuts

Blanched green beans with olive oil and salt

Farro salad with caramelized onions, carrots, and celery, with feta and a red-wine vinaigrette


and for dessert



My “winning hearts and minds” cake - 20 of them, transported in pizza boxes from our freezer to Bellingham by Ashley and Chris - with unsweetened whipped cream and a choice of three flavors from Mallard Ice Cream: chocolate malt, super vanilla, or raspberry sorbet.

We served the same wines and beers at both events, selected with the help of our friend Renee Erickson of Boat Street Café. They were 2006 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny, 2005 Domaine Joel Rochette Régnié Cuvée des Braves Vieille Vignes, Dogfish Head Raison d’Être, and Hacker-Pschorr Weisse. We were spoiled, for sure.

And so we feasted. Brandon, my budding fish-eater(!), ate his largest piece of salmon to date. My eyes nearly popped clean out of my head. Our friend Sam declared himself “destroyed” by the fennel salad, and two friends have called me to beg for the farro recipe. One reports, too, that she has already tried to replicate the beets at home, with blue cheese and hazelnuts. (Mataio, are you reading this?)

I don’t know when I’ve ever felt more proud - of the two of us, of the people around us, of what we come from, of what we love. I also don’t know when I’ve ever felt more sorry for not eating enough deviled eggs. I’m telling you - and I learned the hard way, people - don’t let socializing get between you and your deviled eggs. Just feast. That’s all I’m saying. And then take the dance floor with your new husband, preferably to Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” and when he dips you at the very end, when the horns are blaring, close your eyes tight and thank heavens - but heavens! - that the planning is through, and the beer is cold, and you can dance, dance, dance.




Thank you to the Ciaò Thyme and their website for the first photo posted above, and to Michèle Waite for all the others featured here. (And on her blog!) She
’s the most fun, most wildly talented wedding photographer we could have ever hoped to find. And yes, she found that red velvet couch on the beach. Bellingham, I love you.

8.13.2007

Dramatic and wonderful

So you go and get married, and you eat deviled eggs with herbed aioli and dance for three hours, and then you go on a honeymoon for ten days, and you take lots of naps and ferries and put your toes in the Pacific, and then, you know, it’s kind of hard to know what to say.

Most of all, it was just really pretty.



To start, I guess I should tell you a little something. When you get engaged, a few things happen. First, you agree to marry someone. Second, your head sort of explodes. Third, you are handed a ticket - rather sneakily, I should note, with no warnings at all - to an amusement-park ride known as the wedding, at times mildly disorienting, then utterly terrifying, with tears, beers, pimples, and speeding tickets, and then, at the very finish, rip-roaringly fun. When Brandon and I got engaged, we didn’t know any of that. We knew only two things: that we wanted to be married in the summertime, and that we wanted our wedding to be more of a big party than a serious occasion. Our families are scattered across the continent, from Florida to Toronto and New Jersey to San Francisco, and we wanted to gather them around us somewhere special, where we could spend a weekend in celebration. We also wanted to show off a little. Contrary to what you might hear about the Pacific Northwest - that it rains, and it rains, and oh you must be crazy to live in Seattle because gah, it rains! - it’s pretty darn gorgeous out here. We wanted to gather our families and friends in a place with a view, with water and mountains both, somewhere big enough to fit us all but small enough to feel cozy, free of city hubbub.




We scouted here and there, searching for just the right spot, and then, one fortuitous evening, over after-work mussels and beer, some friends of ours - Ashley and Chris, please stand up and receive your applause! - told us about their wedding, held two years earlier in Bellingham, a college town on the coast about 90 miles north of Seattle. They’d had their ceremony in a small, secluded park by the water, they said, and their reception a five-minute walk away, in the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, where ships come and go to Alaska and the nearby islands. It had exposed brick walls and steel beams, a grand staircase in the center of the building, and a 15-foot domed window that looked out onto the piers. It was just what we wanted.




So, stealing borrowing ruthlessly heavily from the blueprint that Ashley and Chris kindly shared, we began to put the pieces into place. We blocked rooms at three hotels and hired a photographer. We called a caterer. I bought a dress. We hired a coordinator to help us on the day of. We got a longtime family friend, Marsha See, to take our engagement photograph. And then we asked Ashley, a book designer by day, to design our print materials, from save-the-dates to programs. (She’s a treat to work with. If she likes you, she’ll even give you strawberries and ice cream to eat while you proofread.)

That’s how it began. And so it came to be that on Sunday, July 29, at 4 o’clock on a cloudy afternoon, Brandon and I got married. Our ceremony took place at Marine Park, just down the road from the brick streets of Bellingham’s historic Fairhaven District, in a clearing between two trees, along the water. We stood under an enormous white tent with pretty scalloped edges and open sides, and word has it that a corgi was flitting around the beach behind us for the better part of the ceremony. I have to admit that I didn’t notice, but I like the thought of it.

We were married by our friend Shauna, better known to many as the Gluten-Free Girl, who we knew could lead us into marriage the way we wanted to go. We wanted our ceremony to be filled with the voices of people close to us, so we asked a number of them to speak. We asked my brothers Adam and David to talk about my family. We asked Brandon’s sister Courtney to speak about his family. We asked Keaton, one of my bridesmaids, to speak about me. And we asked our friend Sam, a groomsman, to speak about Brandon and, as Sam likes to call us, “the institution of Brandon and Molly, or Brandonandmolly.” Brandon and I wrote our own vows, and I sobbed only slightly during mine (which, if you know me, you will understand is quite a victory, if a only small one). And then everyone clapped and cheered, and we ate handmade fingerling potato chips and led a procession to the reception with Sam and the best man Steve holding my veil - which, yes, contrary to what I said, I did wind up wearing, for the ceremony anyway, and it felt dramatic and wonderful, even though it was very long and cumbersome and a fly got caught in it - and then, oh then we were married.




It was just right. It was exactly what I hoped for, and still, it was a total surprise. It felt just like us.

I have a lot more to tell you - namely about food, which is what you come here for, I hear - but I hope you won’t mind if I save that for next time. And then, of course, there’s the honeymoon, which is another story too, with polenta fries and plenty of beer. And at some point along the way, I hope to have more photographs to share. (Aside from the lone one of us above, taken by our friend Dan, a.k.a. Shauna’s husband “the Chef.” Thank you, Dan.)

In the meantime, thank you for all your cheers and sweet wishes and wisdom. It was exactly what I hoped for, and still, it was a total surprise. xo