I am back! The last six weeks have taken me on three trips in a series of rejuvenating, wonder-filled days, and I feel refreshed, ready to dive into the big projects I’ve cleared my schedule for. Travel holds a different purpose for all of us, I think, but to me, being elsewhere presents the opportunity to observe how other people live their lives. I like architecture, art, and museums; I love food; I like biking and walking and sipping wine at lunch. But most of all, I want to watch the people, gauge their routines, and take in the character of a place.
And maybe that’s what’s most refreshing to me, the pop of the bubble of our own habits and outlooks with the reminder that there are so many ways to go about a day, including a whole lot of hanging out in outdoor cafes and squares in the evening, the way people do from Cuba to Marseille. We don’t have enough of that.
Coming home, of course, means a return to routine, and a lot of that is downright good no matter what everyone else around the world is doing. Cooking again is especially good. Last night, our first night back, as we struggled to stay awake, I made my signature braised broccoli with pasta, a dish that’s less pretty than this one but that takes cues from the same everyday need for something simple and rustic that also contains plenty of green. I’ll share that recipe here with you one day–it’s a great one, if ugly. But first, this bowl of slurpy cool ramen, which I made before we left. Half inspired by pesto pasta, half by ginger-scallion noodles, the concoction is rich, bright, spicy, and smooth.