Hey, are you gonna eat that?

My, how a week can change things.

A week ago last night, we safely delivered our third child, a 7 lb 13 oz baby girl. She and I are both doing quite well, and I for one am happy that we have made each other’s acquaintance. Sometimes she seems to differ on that, but I’m hopeful that I can eventually convince her of my loyalties.

Now, this event has necessarily changed our household. We’re a family of five, which has consequences in several areas — from the type of car we drive (we did reluctantly purchase a minivan a couple months ago) to the fact that the boys are now outnumbered. By the time you do this a third time, many things seem much less overwhelming, much more manageable than the first or even second child seemed. But there are also those things that you forget about, and are reminded of in dramatic ways (how can a five-day old girl produce that much poop that shoots that far out of her diaper, managing to get all over my pants and all of our bedding?).

But this blog is about food, right? And that’s the change I’m here to discuss. I mourned (via blog posts) for my entire third trimester the loss of my appetite. It was so severe and so challenging (you can’t just not eat when you’re growing a baby), it seemed as though I would never really enjoy food again. To paint a clearer picture for you: Tim and I actually dined at 5&10 one night a few weeks ago, and I didn’t even write about it. And it was a really good night, but I just didn’t have it in me, the next day, to ponder the meal enough to share.

But there are these things called hormones. They pull crazy stunts, wreak havoc in a body. Sending signals here and there, calling shots, like a chemical version of Captain Kirk sitting at the bridge (ok, if I thoroughly examine that analogy, I would have to say that our brains are the Captain, and the hormones are little ensigns, or some other little worker-bee, carrying messages). The point is, I have been amazed at how, once again, my appetite returned with a joyful vengeance within just hours of delivering a child.

Our daughter was born at 10:30, and by midnight or so I found myself sitting in my postpartum room, starving. I asked my nurse if I could get something to eat, and she looked at me like it was the first time she’d ever been asked that question. Um, well, the cafeteria is closed, and I guess I can look around in the snack room for something. And I’m thinking, really? I’m the first woman to deliver in this hospital late at night, and the first one who happens to work up a hunger after GIVING BIRTH TO A CHILD? So she manages to scrounge up a couple of half-sized turkey sandwiches. I willingly give one to my husband, because he had quite a physical and emotional workout that night as well (I was still feeling a bit generous when it came to sharing, at that point).

Over the next several days, with the exception of the meals the hospital did actually willingly provide — I’m still convinced that what I was served would not really fall under the definition of food — I began to consume more and more with each passing day. Tim brought me a pumpkin latte from our local coffee shop each morning (sweets are no longer causing nausea, so it’s like I’m making up for lost time), as well as a dinner spread (complete with chocolate layer cake for desert) from The Grit. I think I maxed out my “snack room” privileges by requesting regular bowls of cereal, peanut butter, and graham crackers (to make up for the lack of nourishment from my “meals”).

We came home Sunday afternoon, and I began exhibiting characteristics of a starving canine. A friend wanted to bring me lunch one day early in the week, from a great local Cuban-esque restaurant called Cali-n-Tito’s. I ordered my favorite: a fish taco, with a side of sweet plantains. She told me that they have a lunch special like that, but it includes two fish tacos, and I said sure, get that, and I’ll share it with Tim. See what was happening? My mind still had not caught up with my new eating habits. So she brings lunch, and before I can sit down, Tim had scarfed his taco and left for a meeting. I sat down with my taco and plantains, and moments later found myself staring at a clean plate. And my thoughts began to turn a bit vicious — How dare he eat my taco? See what was happening? My mind was beginning to convince me that all humans in my general vicinity were only there to compete for my food. Had my friend not gotten a head start and already finished her lunch, I might have taken desperate measures.

Outside of the fact that I could be considered a potential danger to others when faced with the question of who’s gonna eat the proverbial last piece, there are several things for which I’m quite thankful during this season of perpetual hunger. First, it’s just nice to be hungry again. With no heartburn, no nausea, no physiological reason to not eat. Second, we have a host of friends who have generously offered to bring us meals — so I don’t have to think about cooking, I just have to eat. I can do that. And third, I’m a nursing mother. There’s a reason I’m hungry, and a reason why I really don’t care at all how much I eat. Oh, the glorious freedom.

So if you happen to live in Athens, and by chance end up being at the same place as me, and there happens to be food present, you might want to give me some room. I can give the appearance of a content, glowing new mother; but given the right opportunity, I’m afraid I might bite. If you’re unsure what you might encounter, just throw me a piece of dark chocolate, and take that opportunity to run. And, you might want to take your plate with you.

Happy October

My friend Megan called me last Wednesday for the sole purpose of wishing me a Happy October! on the first day of the month. It’s our shared favorite month of the entire year, so it was only appropriate — yet I was still caught off-guard by the call. Only because the month really snuck up on me; we’ve got a lot going on. It’s proving itself to be a month that will be busy every year for our family, since three of the five of us will have birthdays within the 31 days. I was halfway complaining about this fact to Megan; her response was that it was even more excuse to bake yummy fall treats throughout the month. Well, okay then. Twist my arm.

And it’s true. For four years now, I’ve had quite a fun time planning the menu for my daughter’s October birthday parties. Every year so far we’ve had caramel apples — an autumn favorite replete with Mississippi’s State Fair memories. We’ve also had pumpkin bars, spicy pumpkin seeds, and of course apple cider. This year I’ve got a hankerin’ for some popcorn balls on sticks, and I think they will replace the caramel apples. To date, I’ve gotten away with completely hijacking the menu — with the exception of the cake, which she is now old enough to choose. This year, it looks like it will be a “Barbie’s Chocolate Dream Cake,” which is fine by me, since the inspiration came from that very cake, on display behind the glass case at The Grit (one of the best places in town to get a slice of homemade, old-fashioned layer cake).

This year, though, there is that slight distraction of the impending birth of our third child. Any time now, as they say (officially, anytime in the next week or so). Funny things happen in the last weeks of pregnancy; women have been known to kick it up a notch in the housekeeping category. I have found myself fallen squarely into that stereotype — furniture has been painted, pillows sewn, drawers cleaned out (although none of this has occurred in a “nursery” — the third child doesn’t really get one of those). I’ve been brainstorming ways to make the birthday-party-preparations a bit less time-consuming; and in general, baking hasn’t been a top priority for me.

Until tonight. I’ve had snickerdoodles on the brain, for days now. Even mentioned them this morning to my friends Julie and Sarah, as they asked me about bringing us meals after the baby arrives. After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about them, and found myself telling my children that they could help me make cookies after rest time today. It was a bit of a harried experience, since we were out of cream of tartar, and by the time we found a neighbor who could provide, were well into dinner preparations. Making dinner and cookies at the same time isn’t the way I like to do things, especially when the eyes of your two-year old aren’t quite high enough, even when standing on a stool, to see into the mixer. Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But, one distracted toddler, one cinnamon-sugar-coated pair of five-year old hands, one hell of a mess later, we had ourselves a cooling rack full of crackle-topped snickerdoodles. Fall’s first cookies. Joy to be had. I used a Joy of Cooking recipe, which proved to be a little hard to work with due to the high ratio of fat to flour (leaving the dough in the refrigerator before rolling them into balls helped a little). They make a very simple version of the cookies; basically a wide-spreading sugar cookie with the addition of cinnamon (you can find some really complicated snickerdoodle recipes out there, as well as some that are more cakey). I’ll post the recipe with my minor alterations below. Make some for yourself, and see if the temperature outside doesn’t drop a few degrees, and the leaves get one shade closer to umber.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the cinnamon-sugar topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ยบ, and have cookie sheet(s) ready, lined with silpat, parchment, or lightly greased.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl (or the bowl of standing mixer), beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until very fluffy and well-blended. Add the eggs one at a time, until fully combined.

With the mixer on low, or stirring by hand, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until well-combined.

(At this point, you might want to stick the dough in the refrigerator to solidify a bit before rolling in sugar.)

In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar to make topping. Pull off pieces of dough to form 1 1/4″ (or larger) balls, and roll the entire ball in cinnamon-sugar. Place on cookie sheet, about 2-3 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 8-12 minutes, or until slightly golden. Remove pan to a cooling rack and let stand until slightly firm, then remove cookies to rack to cool.