I Know It's a Cliché to Crave the Pickles...

Maybe it was my subconscious working hard to inform me, when a month ago I craved egg salad and I changed my Facebook cover photo from honest autumnal carrots to hard boiled eggs soaking in a bowl of ice water.  Maybe I realized it a few days later when I couldn't stand the sight of some perfectly wonderful sourdough scones I had baked up for the Sourdough Surprises baking group.  Maybe it was shortly after when I disappeared completely from the Internet world (which despite my relaxed approach to networking, I actually do put some time into cultivating).  For awhile there, I could not read about food.  I wondered what crazy people (myself included) are deluded enough to spend most hours of the day pining over baking and cooking and plotting meals.  And the pictures people were endlessly snapping of things made, ordered out, or devoured was seriously painful to me.

Gram's Dill Pickles

And all of a sudden this week things are beginning to smell good to me again.  I still don't have a normal appetite, and usually root around to find something mostly already made in the fridge to eat (Thank You, big bowl of cooked rice that seems to taste good with everything!).  I'm finally feeling a little more like concocting and cooking, but my tongue is hopelessly off.  Yesterday I couldn't tell the difference between a yogurt cucumber sauce and a creamy blue cheese dip, and I wish I were kidding.

Yes friends, it's time for me to announce the reason for my strange behaviors:  I am having a baby.

Even sitting here to type in those words brings a huge catch to my throat, the same catch that has caught nearly every time I've told a family member or close friend.  I could blame it on the hormones, but moreover I blame it on the overwhelming confirmation that I know I am not in control of my life, but that I know Who is.  Like my first kiddo, this isn't something I've planned or picked for myself, but something I am honored to receive and do my best with.  I've spent a fair amount of time in self-comfort of my paranoid medical fears by reassuring myself that this new life may actually be an adventurous eater, one who is a polar opposite of my intrepid son:  the missing link that will drive our family suppers to full family approval.  Maybe about a year and half from now, my new being will enjoy eating every wild contrivance I can dream up. 

The idea that a new life will spring up and cling to me, the notion that I will have the chance to experience all of the small wonders of childhood a second time, the moments I thought had passed me for good as my son has grown too quickly into a first grader, these all make me too overcome for words.  Compounded by the Christmas season, the overpowering greatness of it all surpasses all of the fleeting feelings that I'll once again lose some of my independence, that I'll have to put my own ambitions on hold for the time being.

So, please forgive the gaping holes in my kitchen life as I do my best to finish up my cookbook on time and battle fatigue and strange appetites.  A few Friday nights ago, I nearly cried at the deliciousness of a Greek fish fry my husband brought home for supper.  I could scarcely remember the last time a pita bread and hunk of fried fish draped heavily in lemon juice and tartar sauce appealed so greatly to me...

baked sourdough scones
I made a thin glaze of orange zest, powdered sugar and milk.  The best thing about these is that they go from freezer to oven, sitting out only a half hour as the oven heats.

Meanwhile, I did flake out on the past two editions of the Daring Baker Challenge.  I'm planning to make up for it this month, as it is something I am beyond excited to make - no matter my ailments.  In November, I did bake up the Sourdough Surprises challenge of scones (according to this recipe from Susan at Wild Yeast).  In fact, I have 4 left in my freezer and I take particular delight that they are there just in case of pop-in visitors.  I'm hoping I have a few spare minutes, and sweet tooth enough, to bake some sourdough cookies this month!

Now that I'm feeling more like myself on the food front, I'm (perhaps prematurely) plotting my new-baby meals - looking so far into the future that I'm distracted from my pressing tasks at hand.  This is the strangest holiday season for me in years - one where I have not baked a single cookie (or where cookies even sound appealing to me).  Ordinary years would find my fridge stacked with extra pounds of butter and a canister of sugar in residence on the counter.  I'm hoping a flurry of industriousness will suddenly accost me, and my tastebuds will wake up and cause me to bake.  If not, I'll take solace in the comforts of my Mom's homekeeping and baking, where (weather-permitting) I'll spend Christmas in 12 short days.

So in the meantime I'll give into my sour and tart desires, because I deserve it - and it's home canned after all.  Cliché or no, this could be the last time I'll experience such roller coasters of cravings.  I will try to remember to enjoy every strange minute of it.