Mark Bittman's Tomato Jam
John Willoughby's Tagine-Style Lamb Stew



Within two days of arriving in Greece, all the worry and anxiety of the days before evaporated. We traveled by ferry from Athens to an island called Serifos, staying in a house that a cousin of my mother's lent to us. With no Internet connection and no phone line and hardly a soul around us, there was nothing to do but swim, read, contemplate the impossible beauty around us, eat sun-warmed figs plucked off the tree next to the front door, swim and read some more. Thank goodness.


I read five books in the first week. Actually, if we're going to get technical, five books in five days. Yes, this is the kind of crazed bookworm I am. If given some free time and a stack of books (or a Kindle, as the case may be), I will plow through them like a house on fire. Look out.


We walked through hilltop villages where everything was as white-cubed and blue-domed as in the picture books.


We held our breath as we swam, goggled, through crystal-clear water. We saw black sea urchins, holding on tightly to the rocks, and schools of fearless small fish that darted towards us again and again.


We met Greece's silent majority: Street cats.


We photographed every sunset and felt a million miles away from everything we'd left behind. It was just the two of us. Just the way it should be.


Whenever we saw horta on a menu, we ordered it. There was feta galore and there were tiny fried anchovies and, by the side of a small beach one day, a plate of pork meatballs that could redefine the genre. We dragged the meatballs through a smear of tzatziki and munched, hot, cold, crunchy, smooth, while we watched a teenager walk in from the water, a speared octopus in hand.


It occurred to me at some point that in my adult life, I have never had a vacation that lasted for two whole weeks. The Europeans are onto something here. As the days melted into another and I started forgetting if it was a Monday or a Thursday, I practically saw the tension lift off my body like steam and gently float away.


When our time on Serifos came to an end, we took leave of the impossibly clear water, the sprawling fig tree, the stone floors and the dirt road in front of the house and boarded a ferry, heading to Milos and then Santorini.


It was lovely there, but we missed the stark, lonely beauty of Serifos. Our quiet little beach. Our dirt road. Our fig tree. The sound of waves each night as we fell asleep.


But really, that's just splitting hairs. I still found it possible to fall more in love with my husband every single day. Feeling like I hit the jackpot for getting to spend the rest of my life with him. In fact, even when the trip came to an end, it was hard to feel sad. We got to go home together! Our lovely, cozy, homey home.


Honeymooning, man. It's pretty great. In fact, I've decided we'll be needing a honeymoon every year. Stopping at one just seems silly. Wouldn't you say?


I'll be back with new posts, recipes and more in a day or two. It's so good to be back.