I’m being forced to get a manicure. Nail care is not my forte – it never has been. Other than trimming my nails on a regular basis, I rarely, if ever, think about them. My friend has embarked on a personal mission to drag me to a nail salon by espousing promises of wine and cuticle conditioning that will change my life. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s up against a lifetime of non-interest in nail care. The only manicure I have ever had was when a friend of mine took me to get one the day of my wedding. Honest to goodness, the thought hadn’t crossed my mind until she scheduled an appointment for me. I even have vivid memories of my mother yelling at me to do my nails and threatening to not let me walk out the door until my nails were filed.
My lack of interest in doing my nails is one of a handful of intrinsic habits that have followed me my entire life. Do you ever look at your adult self and chuckle at the habits or traits that plagued you decades ago and are still front and center? I rarely wear socks unless I absolutely have to, I tend to leave the house without a coat (or hat, gloves or scarf), and I still have a hard time keeping my room clean.
It makes me appreciate the fact that there will be things that I’ll want to change about my children that will be virtually impossible. If only my mother had known that 20 years later I would still not be doing my nails. She could have saved herself a lot of angst and energy.
My high school year book was recently unearthed in a raid on my bedroom by 4 and 6 year old boys. I hadn’t seen it in some time, so I took a moment to flip through. Initially, I was looking forward to the pictures but was sidetracked by the part I completely forgot about – the signatures. As I read each signature, I began to wonder if, much like my aversion to nail care, any of those teenage perceptions still held true today:
“You’re a really nice, smart, pretty person.” Well, at least he ranked them in the order that I deem important – kindness and brains before looks.
“You always make class fun when the teachers make class suck.” I like to think that I can still infuse fun into the most mundane situations.
“You always look good…” I’ll bet he didn’t know that I never did my nails.
“I hope you remain the same friendly, smart, sarcastic person you have always been.” Sarcastic, huh? I don’t think I’m sarcastic – maybe he didn’t know what the word meant. I mean, let’s face it, 16 year old boys don’t have the best vocabulary.
And so I put away 1994 and smile, knowing that there are some things about myself that will just always be part of who I am. My nails might not be done, but darn it I’m smart, pretty and sweet and I make class fun when the teachers make it suck.
A friend of mine posted this to my Facebook page with well wishes for my personal holiday – National Pie Day. It was the pie I’d been waiting for – unique, simple and perfect for the winter months. The recipe is from a pie company in Brooklyn that I’ve been dying to try – Four and Twenty Blackbirds. This pie is for honey lovers, so buyer beware. It is sweet, but by scaling back amount of honey, the sweet calms down and is complimented by a splash of salt making it a fantastic pie. Ingredient note – custard and honey are the stars of this pie. If you are able, purchase the best products possible. I used eggs from a local farm and local wildflower honey.
1 recipe of choice for a 9 inch single crust or best of both worlds pie dough
1/2 c butter melted
1/2 c white sugar
2 Tbsp white cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c honey
1/2 c cream
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp extract and 1/2 tsp bean or powder)
1 or 2 Tbsp sea salt for finishing (Maldon or fleur de sel )
Make pie crust and refrigerate in a disc for a least an hour or up to two days. Roll out pie crust into a circle 1/4 inch thick and line a 9 inch pie plate. Leaving about an inch overhang, tuck the ends under and sculpt the edges. Place in refrigerator while preparing the custard (at least 20 minutes).
Preheat oven to 350
Place sugar, salt and cornmeal into a medium bowl and mix. Pour in the melted butter, making a thick mixture.
Mix in the honey, vanilla and vinegar. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well with each addition. Pour in the cream and blend well. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell.
Bake for 50-60 minutes on the center rack of the oven. You will want to be sure that the middle has puffed up and just slightly jiggles when you shake it. The top should be beginning to brown.
Let cool completely and then top with sea salt. Don’t be too shy on the salt (I ended up putting more on after I took these pictures) – it’s a great compliment to the sweet honey. Refrigerate and serve cold. Enjoy!