Part of the reason I’m up in San Francisco is that Julia Turshen’s on tour promoting her new cookbook, Now and Again, and she’s not making any stops in LA this time. We share glowing opinions of her, love her and her wife, and, when I tell you I’m going to see her, you sigh, say, Jealous. One day, I’ll meet her.
I’m surprised your paths haven’t crossed yet.
Industry’s small but still big enough.
I suppose publishing’s the same.
At her reading, Turshen addresses her mentions of her wife, Grace, in her books, sharing that there is very much an intentionality to it because it’s one way of normalizing same-sex relationships. I’ve always loved her oh-so-casual mentions in her books, the stories she shares of her and Grace, the sweetness, the normalcy of “my wife.” When’s the world going to catch up and realize love is normal? we ask each other later, and we’re on the phone at midnight while I walk my puppy and ask him, please — please — to poop.
What’d you say to her? you ask.
Oh, god, I don’t remember. I never say anything that isn’t super awkward, and I’ve been to so many events. You’d think I’d be better at this. She was awesome, though, so sweet and nice and kind.
She seems like it.
Yeah … uhm, also, shouldn’t you be asleep?! Isn’t it three in the morning there?
I don’t want you walking around alone at midnight.
I have my dog! And, besides, if something were to happen, you’re a five-hour flight away, babe.
Still safer to be talking to someone instead of talking to your dog.
Thanks, but you should really be sleeping …
Mmm yeah, did he poop yet?
I don’t think he’s gonna.
You should go to sleep then.
Same to you. I’m back inside now. You can go to sleep now.
Mmkay, make sure he takes you to poop later, though, yeah? When it’s sun time ...
In the morning, I make the pumpkin and olive oil cake from Julia Turshen’s new cookbook, even though I’m still not sure how I feel about pumpkin things. (I decidedly do not like pumpkin spice lattes.) (I’ve never had one and never will.) I like a slice of pumpkin pie around the end of November just fine, but I’m particular about that, too, pretty much like the brown butter pumpkin pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds and that’s it.
I’m going to my mentor’s house in Berkeley before I drive back down to LA, though, and I don’t want to go empty-handed, so I’m baking this pumpkin and olive oil cake. To my relief, she likes all things pumpkin, and the bread turns out great, flavorful and moist with a light crumb, not too pumpkin-y, not too sweet. We eat it over literary gossip, after a meal of black eyed peas over rice with homemade hot sauce, and I think this recipe will make for great banana bread, too, maybe will be better with bananas because banana bread is better than pumpkin bread.
Later, when I’ve been back in LA a few days, I’ll do just that, swap the pumpkin puree for four ripe bananas. It’ll be just as awesome as I thought it would be.