Last week I resigned my job. I had not been expecting to do so that early. I had a plan, an exit strategy. I was going to hang onto my job for as long as I could while spending that time looking for future work. It was not a brilliant plan but it was a responsible one. I was terrified of what would happen without work, even if it was only for a week. What would I do? How long would my savings last? What if I quit and found nothing?
But I spoke with Aaron that morning and said out loud, “I think I might put in my two weeks today.” And my heart felt light with those words, and the anxiety I had been carrying for weeks left me. I wrote the letter an hour before I went into work and floated through the work day. Almost exactly 24 hours after I put in my notice I received a job offer with better pay and better hours for work that I enjoy.
It’s a summer of Major Life Changes over here. Aaron moved out of Minneapolis last month because he got a job near Chicago. My AmeriCorps term is ending. We’re getting married. I’m starting a new job two days after leaving Minneapolis myself. And we aren’t sure where we will be living yet. It’s all so exciting that it sometimes makes my heart pound like a rabbit’s. No amount of hustling will magically transition us to a time of calm. There’s so still much left undone. I’m making to do lists compulsively. I’m optimizing my breaks at work with phone calls and emails and thank you’s. If I had the time I could easily sleep another two or three hours a night. And yet I feel like I’m glowing.
I’ve avoided talking about work here because it’s boring. And when it’s not boring it’s difficult to talk about without sounding negative. But the truth of it is this past year I worked up to 60 hours a week between two jobs. There were mornings that I was done before noon. And there were days when I started job number one at 7AM and ended job number two at 11PM. I sometimes cried because I was so exhausted. One job was an AmeriCoprs service posting, and so I made very little money this past year. It’s been a good experience, mostly, but also incredibly hard. I feel so much less naïve than I was at 23. I also feel more grateful. Now it feels like these insane past 12 months are paying off. In my darker moments I wasn’t sure if they ever would. One job. One commute. One paycheck. Overtime if I ever have to work insane hours again. My reality is finally changing.
That’s where I am now. I’m filled with relief and excitement. I miss Aaron so much it physically hurts and the thought of just being with him again is a balm on all my jagged edges. I have to figure out how to say goodbye to my friends here, the wonderful, interesting, creative people I’ve met, and how to leave Minneapolis, this city that taught me in so many ways how to be an adult. I still have to cram in my least favorite thing, wedding planning. And I have to collect boxes and start packing and cleaning my apartment and use every single item of food in my fridge. I hate wasting food, but I’m cooking for one now. It’s much harder to move through food and it’s less interesting. I can’t wait to feed Aaron again.
Even though I’m supposed to be focusing on downsizing I couldn’t stop myself from recently buying one beautiful, glossy, inspiring cookbook. The cookbook in question is Sarah Copeland’s Feast. I’ve wanted it since it came out and when I finally saw a physical copy I sighed because I knew it was coming home with me. On my first read through I dog-eared at least half of the recipes because everything sounded exactly like what I wanted to eat. Vegetarian food that exists because it’s delicious and nourishing and just happens to be good for you. That’s the sort of thing I love, and Feast is full of these sort of recipes. Like these semolina pancakes.
Due to the move I’ve been trying very hard to only cook things that have ingredients that I currently have. I can only buy produce, that’s been my rule. And these semolina pancakes delivered. There was two types of flour, both of which I had, both of which I did not want to schlep back to Illinois. Baking soda and baking powder, raw sugar, eggs. I had peaches sitting on the counter and butter in the freezer and a pint of blueberries and a jug of maple syrup languishing in the fridge.
I made these pancakes the day I put in my notice. It was storming and dark outside. I lit candles and made a pot of tea and danced around the kitchen as the pancakes cooked. As I ate these pancakes I wasn’t focusing on the monumental to-do list or the wedding or the vague hope and dread that comes from wanting something different from what your life is. Instead I was eating good food and drinking hot tea, listening to the rain, and remembering how good life can be if you let it.
Semolina Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup
adapted from Feast by Sarah Copeland
Makes about 8-10 pancakes
I made these pancakes, ate a few for breakfast, and saved the rest. They have been making a sturdy, filling, and quick breakfast this week. These are thick and substantial pancakes, only faintly sweet but deeply pleasant, the sort you’d expect at country breakfast. The recipe originally calls for dairy milk but I used almond because that’s what I keep on hand. The blueberry syrup is my addition, because I’m hopeless against the flavor of blueberries and peaches together and because I always buy more blueberries than I intend.
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons turbinado or other raw sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup almond milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan and serving
2 large eggs
ripe peaches, sliced
pure maple syrup
Whisk together both flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl combine the almond milk, melted butter, and eggs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in, whisking until just incorporated. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps.
Heat a cast iron skillet or a griddle over medium heat until a drop of water flecked onto the surface sizzles. Brush the skillet lightly with melted butter. Pour out about 1/3 cup of batter onto the skillet. If your skillet is large enough to do more than one pancake at a time, make sure you leave enough space to flip the pancakes. Cook the pancakes for about three minutes, until the bottoms are set and small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Flip the pancakes and cook about a minute on the other side until the bottoms are set. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.
While the pancakes are cooking wash the blueberries. Combine the blueberries, any water holding onto the berries, and the maple syrup to taste in a small pan over medium heat. I used about a tablespoon of maple syrup per half pint of blueberries. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries have started to pop and turn jammy, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
To serve, smear the pancakes with butter, layer peach slices on top, and pour the blueberry syrup over.
The pancakes keep well in the refrigerator in a sealed container for about a week.