Yesterday, Colin reminded me of the time we walked through Asmara with a mattress on his head.
It was bright yellow, queen-sized, and filled with balled-up, gnarled cotton. Within a year it got infested with both fleas (from our dog) and bedbugs (from wherever bedbugs come from). We tried to combat the scourge by dragging the mattress into the sun and dousing it with boiling water, kettle by kettle by kettle. It was a temporary fix. And it made our mattress very, very wet.
So that was a rough period.
And sometimes life does get rough, and nothing seems funny at all. But then time marches on, and if you're lucky, things turn around, look up, and get easier once again. And then years later you can look at your spouse and say, "Remember that time we lived in Africa? And we walked around with a mattress on our head? And we poured boiling water all over it?"
And then it's funny. Then you can laugh.
Look, I've been lucky.
I get to do what I love, which is to cook and to write, and I get to learn from other cooks and writers through their food, their stories, their art. I get to travel. It's a fine, fine way to spend my days, and I don't for a second take it for granted.
Except when I do.
There are days, too many, when I forget my good fortune.
When words dry up like a hunk of cheese left out, unwrapped, overnight.
When a phrase falls flat, a recipe fails hard, or hours scream by with nothing written, nothing gained.
Those days I forget how lucky I am.
Not today, though. Today, I'm reminded.
So this feels like an especially good time to express my gratitude and to thank those of you who, for six years, have lent me your eyeballs.
If you've been reading for a while, perhaps since the beginning, thank you. If you've bought my first book, or look forward to my second (which comes out next year), or never bought a thing but just visit now and again, you're the heart of this matter.
If you're new (thanks to Saveur), welcome. Perhaps you're unfamiliar with my work. If so, start with this, this, this, and this. Sample the buffet. Visit the folks in my sidebar. They're worth your eyeballs, too. I hope you find something you like.
Sit back. Peel off some layers. Settle in.
There's more to come.