Nancy Gaifyllia's Paximathakia Portokaliou
Corinne Trang's Rice Porridge with Chicken and Lemon Grass (Chao xa ga)

A Few Things of Importance


1. Have you made this salad yet? You must, you must, you must. It, quite literally, might be the best thing since sliced bread. I made it for a dinner party on Friday night, along with a plethora of other delicious things, and this salad was the one thing at the meal that made everyone stop speaking and start pointing at their plates, mouths full, in wonder and greed. It is delicious. Hot and spicy, crunchy and cool, complex in texture and flavor. Wondrous. Deb got the recipe from Sasa who got the recipe from her mother who got it from a cooking magazine in New Zealand - all of which simply serves to reinforce the fact that the internet is the best thing to happen to cooking since the gods gave us fire.


2. I didn't realize until a few months after moving in that I, once again, had chosen an apartment with an unencumbered view of the sky, which means that we've been hard at work documenting all the glorious sunsets that come our way. And lately, the sky has been so generous.


3. The good people of Berlin are getting happier, whenever the sunshine intermittently cracks through the ever-present clouds, sometimes thin and menacing, sometimes plump and cottony, flitting across the sky. In general, Berlin is coming alive, as it always does once spring descends. The parks and meridians and sidewalks are bursting with overgrown grasses, blossoming trees, blowsy dandelions. The air is sweet and fragrant - just last night, I walked up Schlossstrasse taking great, deep gulps of air, scented with lilacs and chestnut blossoms and earth still damp from an earlier, brief hail storm. It feels like magic, it really does, when you're in the gloaming in Berlin and the greenery around you moves and beckons in the wind and you feel like there could be fairy sprites hiding in the bushes, peering out with glittering eyes as you pass by.


4. Finally, you've all been very patient with my coy attempts at, uh, implying the presence of, er, romance in this space. I guess I've been a little shy. Remember back in the fall when I said that sometimes, when you're given the chance to do something that might change your life totally and completely, you have to take that step, make that leap, take that chance? I wasn't only talking about leaving my job, writing a book and moving to Berlin. I was also talking about a love story, the defining one of my life. One that helped me move mountains, or continents, if you will. Our story is a big one, one I'll tell you about some day, but in the meantime I figured it's time to make it official, time to bring him into the fold here, the man at my table, my heart.