well folks, it’s official. as 23 said goodbye, 24 welcomed me graciously on this past thursday. i must admit, i am very excited and comfortable about 24– 23 was hard for me, i think, because it was such an odd number. it’s the OCD in me. i love round, warm, even numbers. they feel so much more welcoming and loving. my roommate, john, did suggest the benefits of 23 as a prime number, unique in that way. i say bahh to that, and even though 23 was a lovely year, i eagerly ushered in the big 2 – 4.

surprising as it may seem, the theme of the day was food. tara woke up super early (for her!) and made her famous banana cream pie. 

it was really remarkable. usually, i spend the mornings alone, just me, my old fashion oats, and some tea, bracing myself for the day. this day, though, alanna and tara joined me, glimpsing my morning ritual (revised, of course, with the added company). i was really excited that tara used my great grandma meyer’s rolling pin for her beautifully rustic pie crust.

work was work. what i was most excited about (and indecisive about) was the meal to follow my day of labor. the possibilities totally overwhelmed me. already somewhat uncomfortable about it being my birthday (so much attention! so much pressure! me, the food addict, unable to decide a proper meal– too fancy? too picky? too gwen? but wasn’t this, also, my day? but i don’t like to be self-centered! blah blah blah it went on and on in my head), i really wanted to eat delicious food, made together with amazing roommates. solution? grilled cheese and tomato soup, of course!

last sunday, tara and i ventured to ann arbor, with all its intellectual might, and participated in zingerman’s creamery’s inaugural cheese tasting. two hours of dairy delight. my goodness, who wouldn’t be totally giddy over six varieties of cheese that ended with fresh vanilla bean gelato topped with a fromage blanc with macerated michigan strawberries?!

well, following our tasting, we bought two rounds of cheese: the sharon hallow, a cow’s milk cheese with chives and garlic, and the citi goat, a traditional chevre. DELICIOUS. 

cheese? check.

next: bread. earlier that day, i picked up compost from the amazing detroit bakery avalon. they are very generous in saving their coffee grounds and veggie and fruit scraps for the earthworks‘ compost pile (which is growing HUGE). a well-timed trip for compost also allowed me to pick up their farnsworth family farmer’s bread, a tangy, chewy sourdough bread perfect for grilled cheese.

bread? check.

arriving home around 4:30, john and i discussed the evening’s plan and firmed up our menu. originally, tomato soup (while the logical accompaniment to grilled cheese) was not on the list. we quickly agreed that homemade tomato soup would be the perfect partner for the evening’s meal, along with a growler of voodoo vator from atwater block brewery, where i also pick up compost (spent grain makes for a beautiful compost!).  dinner was set!

the smooth creaminess of that soft, melty fresh cheese between the tangy sourdough, drunk from delightful pools of melted butter… the sandwich was killer. even better when dipped in the tomato soup. and so local! tomatoes canned in the height of our summer’s glory (which was not super glorious, as far as tomatoes go, such a cool season in detroit this past year) and carrots, onions, celery, etc from our favorite vendors at eastern market. oh, the pleasures of making food with other people! and the memories and stories within those foods: the fun and delight of canning with janelle and heather, the love and labor of mother earth and our friendly farmers, the joy and care of the cooks in the kitchen. everyone sharing, everyone eating, our tongues smiling with satisfied glee. such a lovely meal!

afterwards, we ventured to the oh-so-swanky coach insignia for after dinner drinks and dessert.

we met up with friends and enjoyed the gorgeous views of the vast, wagon wheel of detroit as well as the river and windsor, canada. many thanks to all for a day of celebration, love, sharing, and palatable decadence.