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Recently, I’ve returned to my normal hair style. The short bob, one that I’ve sported for years in grade school and college. As much as I wanted to have long hair, I had to admit that I have no patience for it. I’m the type of person that likes to spring out of bed and spend no more than the three minutes it takes to drag a brush through the tangled mess before sprinting out the door. So yes, I very much need hair that will withstand bed-headedness.

Yesterday, one of my mom’s friends looked at me with my mussed up nap hair and then at my mom with her pristine locks, carefully dyed each month and meticulously groomed each morning, before making this astute observation: “You must be very different from your mom, huh?”

Most definitely.

My mom is the embodiment of orderliness, beauty, femininity, cordiality and warmth. Whereas, I am slobness manifest. She makes a frumpy sweater look good. I make a frumpy sweater look frumpier. People gravitate towards my ever cheerful mom. People flee from my awkward social gestures. And when it comes to creativity, she’s the most creative mom I know.

I bake goodies because I can follow directions. But my mom knits because she’s technically skilled and aesthetically gifted. I’ve learned a long time ago to defer to my mom’s opinions for all things fashion related. Thus, everything that is presentable in my wardrobe has been her doing. I am 25 and I let my mom dress me. I am not ashamed. You would let her dress you too if you’ve seen my knitted sweaters, tunics, and scarves.

This is still in the works, but go take a look at my mom’s knitting blog at joyofknitting.wordpress.com. She makes the most adorable baby clothes with fine quality yarn. They would make perfect gifts if you’re looking for something special. She also takes custom orders if you want a certain design to be made with specific colors.

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Peach Pie from Smitten Kitchen

Vicky and I made this pie on a warm, sunny afternoon in her homey Cole Valley apartment, where I was seeking refuge from my own gloomy, fog-shrouded Sunset abode. I had been itching to make a pie with the eight ripe peaches sitting in my fridge–my last chance to make a quintessential summer dish before the season ends. We divided up the recipe; I took care of the crust while she handled the filling. Meanwhile, Bessie the cat snoozed on the kitchen chair. I didn’t do it here, but my favorite part of pie-making is when you crimp the edges of the top crust with the tines of a fork. It reminds me of the scene in Snow White where the birds use their feet to make the fluted edges of the pie.

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It’s been a week since I left Boston and I already miss my ice cream runs in Cambridge.  I love Toscanini’s Grape Nut, Christina’s Khulfi, and Lizzy’s Ginger.  But my latest obsession was JP Lick’s Peach flavored ice cream, which apparently only makes an appearance during the summer.  It’s so refreshing and light that I forget it must be chock-full of calories. On any hot day, it doesn’t take much convincing to make me gravitate towards the nearest creamery.

One of the best afternoons was spent sitting at a booth in the original JP Licks store in Jamaica Plain.  Despite the long line of eager tourists and neighborhood residents waiting to get their sugar fix, we usurped the table to play an epic game of Risk that lasted four hours.  Long after we finished our cones, we were still duking it out on our board game.

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JP Lick’s peach was also the last ice cream I had in the city.  Emerging from the crammed shop with a decent sized scoop in a waffle cone, my friend and I headed towards the river by the Harvard houses.  Sticky cream was dribbling down the sides, almost faster than I can lick.  The heavy heat was bearing down on us, turning my frozen dessert into a sweet molten mess.  We finished our treats in a tranquil courtyard, the sound of leaves rustling above our heads and traces of peach lingering on my tongue.  Contentment.

Most people like to savor their ice cream; I inhale mine.  Not because I’m impatient (well, not only for that reason), but because I get stressed out when ice cream isn’t eaten before it begins to melt.  It needs to be in its pristine form!  That is why when Juan and I bought frozen yogurt two weeks ago, and he asked me not to start eating during the 5 minute drive home where we can both enjoy them together, I said, “Yeah right!” and proceeded to gulf mine down.

That is also why it was so torturous to take these pictures, because I almost could not stand to see the ice cream sitting untouched, in the heat of the kitchen.

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Juan had bought me an ice cream maker.  It only made sense that we should try to make our own peach ice cream.  Using Ben and Jerry’s recipe book, we chopped fresh peaches into large chunks, let it stew in some sugar for a few hours, and used the juices to flavor the cream.  As the machine churned the mixture, we poured in the leftover peach chunks.  The result was a quart’s worth of fabulous peach ice cream that was gone in three days.  If I had to change anything, I would cut the peaches smaller next time to avoid biting into large frozen fruit pieces.

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It’s been almost a week since I started my “fast” from facebook and People magazine.  I do this because they have become sinkholes of unproductivity and addiction, and a detriment to intellectual health.  Status update blurbs and celebrity gossip headlines are only worsening my already alarmingly short attention span.  Surprisingly, or more like embarassingly, it has been tough to wean myself off those websites, as if my fingers are programmed to type in their URLs at any idle moment of the day.  Without the media noise, my mind is pleasantly quiet.

My friend, who apparently has an amazing memory for words, never reads the photo captions on People because she cannot bear to clutter her brain with information junk.  I told her I didn’t think there’s a capacity limit to your memory.  But now that I think about it, she’s completely right.  I’m not saying that mindless entertainment is wrong, because everyone needs mindlessness every now and then.  But at some point we need to be responsible for censoring what sort of materials get into our brains.  That point is when I find myself having difficulty finishing an article about food shortages for Pakistani flood victims while having no problem watching a youtube video of someone playing with their kitten.

While it’s easy to ignore the important issues of our generation—and I am definitely not exempt from this guilt—apathy is only an attitude that could get you so far before you begin to wonder what there is beyond the meaningless things you fill your mind with.

As a kid, the first thing I’d do when I went to the grocery store was to run to the peaches in the produce section.  Delicate to the touch and imbued with a warm hue of red orange, peaches are one of those few fruits that is gratifying to all senses.  What I loved best was to pet their furry skin which seemed to me something like the smoothness of a baby’s cheek.  I always thought that the scent of peaches is pleasantly unintrusive and ephemeral, unlike the bold tanginess of citruses or the sticky sweet, pervasive odor of overripe bananas.  It is one of those things where I cannot quite remember what a fresh peach smells like until I have one sitting in front of me; and at the first whiff, I would wonder how I could ever forget its dreamy aroma.  A nostalgia that only the aroma of fresh peaches-not canned or artifically scented perfume—can evoke.

For my coworker’s housewarming party, I decided to bring a peach cobbler—the quintessential neighbor-next-door welcoming gift.  I was fortunate enough to buy perfectly ripe yet firm peaches.  From the moment I washed these juicy suckers, I knew that this was going to be a success.  The most time consuming part was peeling them, but even then, all I had to do was gently rub the skin to reveal moist, yellow flesh.  I would have snacked on the fruit, except I was still full from lunch.

When I pulled the final product out of the oven, peach juice was bubbling up from beneath the lightly browned, buttery biscuit topping.  Gawd, I’m so glad that I’m bringing this for someone else, because I doubt I’d have the self control to restrain myself from eating all of this.  It’s not a fancy schmancy cheesecake, but sometimes the simple desserts are the best kind there is.

Hm, I realize that posting this up on facebook defeats the point of my post.  But I’m just hoping that the people who read my blog (if there are any) are the ones who enjoy baking and sharing recipes, and looking at pictures of food.  That’s not too mindless, right?

Peach Cobbler from Annie’s Eats