I Have Returned….For Real This Time

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has posted here, emailed me, stopped me on the street or called me on the phone to extend best wishes and the hopes that all is well with my family and myself. My readers are among the best people in the world–caring, curious, interested, intelligent, compassionate, kind and creative, and, luckily, patient.

Secondly, I want to apologize for my recent silence. Long-time readers probably noted that my posts had begun to dwindle from a hearty gush of verbiage to a steady stream to a bare trickle over the past few months, so I am sure that some of you were not particularly surprised by my sudden absence in the blogosphere. The reasons for my absence are simple, really, but are not ones I want to go into publicly–I don’t think it is proper to go into what exactly happened to cause me to go silent. Suffice to say that what has been on my mind for the past six weeks when it comes to food, cooking, restaurants and recipes is not appropriate for me to opine upon publicly. I just don’t roll that way. (Although, if one is curious, and one sends an email, and one asks nicely, one might get a private answer to further enlighten one–especially if one is a long-time reader or internet friend.)

Basically, I had to make a hard decision, one that affected how I felt about food while I was making it, and which potentially would affect how I felt about food in the immediate future, and I didn’t want to give an expose on my thoughts while I was thinking them.

The astute among you have probably divined the nature of the decision, but for those who don’t know me as well as all that, I decided to stop working at Restaurant Salaam, and have instead decided to focus my time and energy on my family and other projects, including this vastly neglected blog. It was a hard decision, and in poring over the facts and assumptions in my head as I prepared to make my decision, I had to keep it all to myself, for many, many reasons, especially professional ones.

Now that we have the not fun stuff out of the way, let me tell you a bit about what has been going on in my life that is more positive!

As you can see from the photograph above, which I posted for Kat’s internet family of virtual aunties and uncles, Kat has started eating apples on her own. That is her first one–she just plucked it up from the fruit basket graciously sent to us by Dan’s parents over the holidays, and took a big old bite from it. And, as you can see, as she chomped, munched and crunched her way through the crispy fruit, she had a great time. There was much lip-smacking, finger-licking and teeth bearing involved in the process.

She is finally learning to talk, although her expressive language (that means talking–her receptive language skills, which relate to how much she understands and comprehends–is above average for her age) is significantly delayed. This is a cause of concern, and we are currently working to get her in with the best local speech therapist available, who comes highly recommended by just about every professional we talk with on the issue. Just this week, Kat’s speech has improved greatly–words are starting to come out perfectly and clearly, and she has started using more of them, even in combination, which she had not done before. She also knows her letters–which makes me think at times that she will learn to read before she effectively learns to speak!

But we are being patient, reading up on the issue, taking her out to play with other kids, talking and reading with her and doing all the stuff we should be doing. It is just–well, it is frustrating, especially for her. But, we are confident that she will get there, especially with two parents around more often than not, both working with her at every opportunity..

Morganna is doing great–she started her second quarter of college a few weeks ago and is having a lot of fun in her classes. She is still working as a line cook at Salaam, which she loves doing, and she is happy, especially now that her best friend from childhood has decided to move here to Athens.

Zak is doing great–he has taken up learning how to fingerpick acoustic guitar and after a month sounds like he has been at it for about a year. He is planning on returning to playing out in public again, which is great for him, not only because it is fun, but because he even gets paying gigs now and again.

As for me–I have gone back to cooking and enjoying it at home again. I had stopped really liking food for a while, and while I still don’t eat as much as I once did and have lost over twenty pounds in the past six months or so, my passion for culinary arts is re-awakening. I also have been busy sewing gifts for my family and friends–for the past holiday season, I have completed a queen sized rag quilt, a throw sized quilt, about fifteen aprons, a case for Zak’s Japanese bamboo flute (shakuhachi), a set of patchworked and embroidered placemats, a doll quilt, mattress and pillow set for Kat and have started assorted other projects. I am looking into starting an Etsy shop to sell my aprons and other kitchen-themed quilted items, and as soon as that happens, I will let readers here know about it. In the meantime, if there is interest, I will post photos of the holiday projects here to show people what I have been up to while also being wrapped in my self-imposed cocoon of silence.

So, there you have it. The news of my and my family’s whereabouts, health and well-being.

I have some original recipes to share with you coming, so look for them in the near future.

Blessings and thanks to everyone who has asked about us–and I hope that everyone of you had a great holiday season.

35 Comments

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  1. Glad to have you back, I’ve really missed reading your thoughtful posts!

    Comment by Bethany — January 23, 2009 #

  2. hello!
    I visit your blog (which I enjoy very much), because we have food spice/style/experimentation in common. I also am comfortable with your “humanity”.
    I have never commented before, but thought I might share with you something about my oldest son, Roland. He approached 2 with a very,happy perceptive nature; but a minimal vocabulary. We were waiting for the “2 year language burst”, which was slow to come. His first word was spider-um for spider man. Just before he turned 3, he took his chalk and wrote on his blackboard superman, man and women! Out of the blue! He could read before he could speak properly. His preschool teacher took me aside to ask for my method of teaching him reading and writing, ( the first time they sang BINGO, he wrote the B I N G O, I N G O etc, descending laterally down the page). I could tell her nothing as this child was hard to even read a story to, as he liked to control the page turning…verbal tales worked best!

    Sometimes, they do what they do when they are ready.

    happy new year, and best of luck!
    mac

    Comment by mac — January 23, 2009 #

  3. Glad to see you back. I cooked your recipe for butternut squash-lentil soup with tomatoes in place of lentils and my dinner guests loved it. I I actually couldn’t find butternut squash that particular day) Grating apples in it is a great idea as is panch phoran.

    Looking forward to more new recipes

    Comment by Vishakha — January 23, 2009 #

  4. Barbara, welcome back – I am so glad it wasn’t anything dramatic. Or at least you and your family are all okay so far as I can tell…!

    I have a couple of slow talkers too and we just decided not to stress out about it. My eldest had about a hundred words (mixed English and French because we were in Paris) at 2.5 years, but at the age of two you could have counted them all on two hands. And now my second is approaching two and so far all he says is Daddy, Thank-you (!!!) and occasionally, when he really wants to indulge his mom, UP to indicate he wants to be picked up. It’s clear he understands everything we can throw at him and more and my feeling is he’s just being stubborn! I’m sure Cat is much nicer-minded, though… ;)

    Comment by Meg — January 23, 2009 #

  5. So glad to see you back, and that you are finding a direction in life that makes you happy.

    Comment by Cindy — January 23, 2009 #

  6. Glad you’re back, I missed you. Sorry you had a bad time.

    I forwarded your blog onto my brother and sister in law as they have a lovely little 5 month old baby, Poppy, and I think they would benefit from your wisdom.

    Thanks!

    Comment by jennywenny — January 23, 2009 #

  7. I am so glad to see you back on line. I really was worried and hope that you feel comfortable, at some later date, on divulging some more information. But in any case, it’s great to get a family update, great to know that you are well and that your family is healthy, happy and moving ahead in this Year of the Ox. Stay well.
    namaste!

    Comment by Nancy — January 23, 2009 #

  8. Glad to have you back! I’m sure if it were my kid I’d be working to see a speech therapist too, so bravo for that, but I want to add to the reassuring chorus as well. For some reason, boys in my family are always significant speech-delayed, but once they say one thing, they say lots of things, and they swiftly become on par developmentally for their age. Given that Kat has facility with expression other than talking, I wouldn’t get too stressed about it.

    Comment by Truc — January 23, 2009 #

  9. Good to see you back — tough decision to make… made that one when I had little ones, and it was really hard to let go of work.

    Comment by donna — January 23, 2009 #

  10. Well now. It IS good to have you back.

    -JJ

    Comment by Mama JJ — January 23, 2009 #

  11. It’s great to see you back! I’ve missed your posts and your wonderful recipes and was hoping everything was okay.
    Happy New Year!

    Comment by floribunda — January 23, 2009 #

  12. Yipee!!!! You’re back! Sometimes we all have to take some time to reflect. I am delighted to hear all of you are doing well – was beginning to worry a little bit there. While quiet on the blog front you certainly were productive in your sewing room. Would love to see pictures of all your projects. And….hear your stories whenever you are ready to share them.

    Comment by maureen — January 23, 2009 #

  13. Welcome back! It took me a while to figure out you weren’t posting like you normally did. Sounds like you needed a break.

    My brother grunted and pointed a lot, and then we weren’t allowed to give him anything he pointed for because the dr said he had to ask for it. Then when he finally started speaking, he had a pretty bad speech impediment (I still go by my family nickname because he couldn’t pronounce my name).

    The impediment lasted until he started school, so my parents sent him to private just in case the kids picked on him for his speech. They had a speech specialist, and within 1-2 years, he spoke completely normal! Speech therapists did wonders with my brother, and it sounds like they’re doing great with Kat 8^)

    Comment by Shreela — January 23, 2009 #

  14. Welcome back. Glad to know you are okay.

    I rec’d a wok for Christmas, chosen from the wok shop and based on your recommendations. I am enjoying it so much.

    Visited the local Asian store with a pic of your basics in hand. “So, many sauces…why so many sauces?” asked the girl at the check out. I told her I was learning!

    Thank you for your wonderful blog.

    Comment by Stuff — January 23, 2009 #

  15. You sound very much at peace with the decisions you’ve made, and are obviously enjoying your life at home. Good for you. Looking forward to more of your writing.

    Comment by Zoe — January 23, 2009 #

  16. Love your blog and have missed it very much!

    If you are satisfied with the changes you have made in your life, then that is what is important. Sometimes choices are difficult. I hope all is well with you and your family’s health.

    Kat is adorable, of course!
    I have a son who has Hyperlexia. He could read before he could talk. He still doesn’t talk much but he writes poems and is a math whiz. :)

    Blessings to you!

    Comment by Jehannamama — January 23, 2009 #

  17. Glad to see you back, Barbara. I had been wondering how you’ve been since you haven’t been posting lately.

    My, how little Kat has grown! Hope to see more postings soon…

    Comment by Becke — January 23, 2009 #

  18. Missed you. Great to have you back, Barbara. :)

    Wish you and your family a blessed 2009!

    Comment by Sailaja — January 24, 2009 #

  19. Welcome back Barbara. I have been a terrible blogger of late and so must admit I didn’t notice the absence ~ I’ve been too busy being absent myself, I guess you could say. I am sorry you had to go through some difficult things in the background there, I do hope things will be looking up for you from hereon in.

    Comment by sam — January 24, 2009 #

  20. Welcome back, Barbara and family. I really missed you! Glad to hear that everyone is OK.

    Comment by Grace — January 24, 2009 #

  21. Welcome back, I missed you and your posts. I’m glad to hear you’re all feeling well, so I belatedly raise my glass and wish all the best to you and your family for the new year.

    Comment by Mamlambo — January 24, 2009 #

  22. I’m so glad that you and you family are happy and healthy. I was worried that something serious had happened. I’m also glad that you are returning to regular blogging because I have missed your posts!

    Comment by Dana — January 24, 2009 #

  23. Very, very glad to hear from you again.

    Comment by wwjudith — January 24, 2009 #

  24. Welcome back! :) I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing well. Looking forward to new recipes!

    Comment by Alison — January 24, 2009 #

  25. Dear Barbara,

    It’s lovely to have you back.
    I’ve been missing your posts.

    Hugs

    Comment by Maninas — January 24, 2009 #

  26. good to have you back, and very glad everyone is ok.

    Comment by nancy — January 24, 2009 #

  27. I’m glad you’re back – while perusing your archives is fun and is much appreciated by those at the dinner table, I’ve missed your thoughts. I’m glad that everyone in the family is healthy and well, and I’m very much looking forward to all you future posts :).

    Comment by Alexis E — January 24, 2009 #

  28. I’m so glad you are back and that you and your family are well. I was worried! :)
    I love your recipes and your writing and I would love to be able to buy an apron from you should you open an etsy store.
    My best of wishes for a terrific 2009!

    Comment by Kristin — January 24, 2009 #

  29. Thank you all for the wonderful welcome home–I feel so loved!

    It is also great to hear from all the parents of late-talking kids. I generally am feeling better, because this week, Kat started picking up and using words more readily, and has shown a more sophisticated use of language than before.

    We are still going to work with the speech therapist and do our language developing work here at home, and I’ll still be giving Kat her fish oil and flaxseed oil supplements (one hypothesis that is being studied now at several universities is that late-talking kids might be somewhat deficient in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, which can result in slower myelin formation in the neurons in the brain, which can lead to lessened connectivity between neurons–plus these fatty acids are used in all sorts of other body processes, so her pediatrician suggested them for general health), but I am not nearly so worried as I had been.

    It is good to be back, though, and I am happy to start writing again. I already have the first recipe of the year written up and ready to post on Monday.

    Comment by Barbara — January 25, 2009 #

  30. yay you’re back!

    Comment by gizella — January 25, 2009 #

  31. WB, we’ve been waiting for you…

    Don’t let the blog become an obsession, but yea, don’t neglect us either :-)

    Comment by Wouter — January 26, 2009 #

  32. Welcome back, Barbara. I’ve missed your posts and recipes and lovely food pictures.

    If and whenever you’re feeling up for it, I’d love to hear what you think of Mark Bittman’s new book.

    Comment by Johanna — January 26, 2009 #

  33. Nice to see you back. I hope you’re in a better space now!

    I have a friend with a child who is just a little older than Kat (who is older than my child by about 2 months). They were concerned about his speech development as well, until they were convinced to try signing with him. All of a sudden, he got very expressive. And his speech has recently picked up pretty significantly as well. Just by looking at Kat’s face, you can see she’s got an active and expressive personality. :)

    I’ve been signing with my daughter since she was born. It’s the awesomest thing ever, to know what she wants. Plus it gives multiple levels of interaction, and it’s encouraging even more motor skill development. (Also, Signing Time is an awesome kid’s show that doesn’t drive parents completely nuts, and libraries often carry it)

    It looks pretty obvious to me that you guys are very engaged in interacting with Kat, and she with you. My brother didn’t really talk until he was over 2. It might be that you guys are just in tune enough with her that she doesn’t feel like she has to talk yet. :)

    Comment by Lynette — January 27, 2009 #

  34. Yay! So glad you’re back! I have missed you and your posts immensely. I know how you feel about hating cooking and food for awhile. There are some days when I just can’t stand to see another bagel, or bake another loaf of bread, or wash another blueberry, or bake another damned lemon meringue tart! :)

    Burn out comes so easily to us food professionals, it can be really challenging to deal with. I’ve learned to head it off by giving myself something challenging to learn–sometimes it’s food related, sometimes not. This is why I started to learn how to cook Indian food–because my mind was on the verge of turning into mush from spending so many hours in the bakery–doing the same things over and over again. Don’t feel bad or guilty about your emotions over leaving Restaurant Salaam; I for one can definitely relate!

    Welome back!

    Comment by Roxanne — January 28, 2009 #

  35. Barbara, I’m so happy to see you back again. I’m a bit curious about why you chose to leave Salaam when from your posts it was almost always a joy to design recipes or specials, but I’m glad that you made a decision that will hopefully bring you more joy. Best of wishes to you and everyone in 2009, especially Kat.

    Comment by Kyrias — March 1, 2009 #

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