2013 tasted like kale salad and sandy sandwiches.

Christmas2013-16In 2013, we ate well.

January in DC is cold – a wet dreary cold that seeps into your bones and chills them more than any snowstorm. We ate soup, despite how bad I am at making it, and I blended one tray of roasted squash after another, trying to perfect squash bisque. They were all pretty bad but we still ate them, sopping up the bland mess with thick hunks of bread before concluding that we just like solid roasted squash better.

I moved on from soup to Brussels sprouts, roasting so many trays in February that James finally voiced a weary observation that maybe we could take a little break from sprouts. We laughed with friends and flipped crêpes in our tiny kitchen for la chandeleur and we let the cold outside drive us inside, hold us around the table as we enjoyed dinners in with friends.

In March I drowned myself in tea as I wrote my thesis and studied for my MA exams. I spent all of spring break at the table writing and guzzling, one cup after another of Good Earth Sweet and Spicy tea, wearing flannel pants and reading Camus. There are far worse ways to spend a week. One day I needed spring, and we had strawberry shortcake for dinner. The berries were weak and bland but they reminded us that spring would come eventually.Christmas2013-12

And in April it came, and we started eating on the porch again. We shivered by our plates in those days where it was still too cold to eat outside but we didn’t come in. Food carried outside crosses a threshold that instantly improves upon it. We went to New York and ate too many things to chronicle, celebrating my MA and enjoying this stage of life where we can have adventures so easily.

In the end of May we went to Colorado with my family and we ate trail mix on mountaintops and onion grilled cheese sandwiches in the cabin.  We hiked through the snow and yelled at each other when we got lost, but then made up and laughed about it later. We ate apples dug from the bottom of backpacks and even those Cliff bars that taste so gross but make you feel like you are accomplishing something just by eating them.

And then it was summer. I would have eaten from the picnic basket every night if I could have, and we carted bread, cheese, and pasta salad around the city. We dipped carrots into hummus beside good friends. We let the city be our property, its parks our yards, and its spaces our places. We went to the beach on the weekends and ate sandwiches that had sand in them, but we didn’t care. We drank strawberry lemonade every day and tried to cook quick things that didn’t keep us in that narrow, hot, air-conditionless kitchen. Our brothers both came to town and we ate caprese salad with every meal. We started setting the table for three or four more often than two, and my heart just about burst from the joy of having family in DC with us.

In July we celebrated our one-year anniversary with donuts in bed, brunch, and ballpark hot-dogs. We dined out at a fancy French place and looked back on how wonderful that fist year was. Then I wrote that one post, and this previously overlooked little corner of the Internet got 1.5 million views in a week and I considered crawling under a rock and deleting all forms of social media. We weren’t ready for it, and it was exciting reading positive comments and encouraging emails that poured in, but they were mixed with the bad words, cruel things people said that I deleted but still remember. I was stressed, and ate comfort foods, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cried more than I should admit.

We celebrated James’ birthday in August with peach cobbler and mine with pink cake and s’mores in September. We welcomed fall with its promises of cooler days and changing colors. I got French pastries on Wednesdays from the farmer’s market on campus and spent Saturdays writing papers at Starbucks, drinking salted-caramel mochas. We tried to keep up with my weekly produce box, forcing ourselves to eat fennel and beets, staining all our cutting boards bright purple and choking down endless radishes.

Christmas2013-17

In October the government shut down and everyone critiqued Capitol Hill of laziness while I watched James trudge to work early and stay late, even on the weekends. Everything stressful for my semester seemed to happen during those same weeks and they were the first really hard weeks of our whole relationship. Dinnertime was suspended, chores left undone, and we were so tired. We ate meals from cardboard cartons and became connoisseurs of all the local take-out options.

November brought peace, and kale salad five days a week to undo the dietary pain of October. I can’t even begin to express how much kale I ate in November. To balance it out, we made donuts with friends and crammed 12 people around our table for Thanksgiving dinner. There wasn’t much time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break, but we made the most of it with gingerbread cookies, hot cocoa, and eggnog at night. We sat on our couch, stared at our tree, and dreamed about the future.

In 2013 we ate wedding cake and raised glasses to new marriages twelve times. Our year was punctuated with celebrating new love and new commitment. We held new babies and shared meals with new friends. We continued eating beside old ones, but without the charade of fancy plates and elaborate table settings.  In 2013 we ate brunch almost every weekend, sometimes out as we explored out city, and sometimes in, omelets and coffee to start the day right.

I’m sure it seems silly to recap the year in this way, through the food we ate. Everyone eats, you might say, anyone could do this. And so they could. But when I think back on all the tastes that have defined different parts of our past year, I am reminded afresh of the goodness of gathering around a table, a picnic blanket, or a couch. When we eat, we open up and share with those around us. Our year was full of eating, good eating, the type where you sit back and linger and let your stories fill the hours as you continue picking off of plates. I want to look back on this year and remember how it tasted like Brussels sprouts, kale salad, wedding cake, and sand-filled sandwiches on summer weekends at the beach.

So yeah, in 2013, we ate well. May 2014 taste just as good. Christmas2013-19

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57 Responses to 2013 tasted like kale salad and sandy sandwiches.

  1. macurr3 says:

    I love this post, such a cool way to recap the year. You have such a beautiful way with words, I enjoy your blog so much. I hope 2014 brings you lots of joy and many blessings 🙂

  2. Love, love, love this post. My 2013 tasted like too many saltine crackers, oranges, bowl after bowl of cream of wheat and Greek yogurt, until September, when I started to bake cakes, and then a little Cajun food for prosperity.

  3. redhairedrebel says:

    I love this way of reviewing the year! Beautifully done, my friend. (Also speaking of beautiful: I love your bangs :-))

  4. Jess Novello says:

    You’ve just inspired me to take a trip when I finish my Masters. It’s about a year and a half off, so I’ve got tonnns of planning time. Maybe I’ll plan a trip instead of reading my textbooks 🙂
    I also love how you recapped your year! You were the wedding queen!

    PS- Are you ready for Juan Pablo?!

    • Hannah says:

      Planning beats homework every time. If you trip happens to bring you to the East Coast, I would totally offer up our couch!

      And YES. I am nervous that the show might just be getting a little ridiculous (a little? Maybe a lot.), but I am PUMPED for it and even more so for your recaps.

  5. Kate says:

    You write so vividly 🙂 thank you for sharing… I began reading because of ‘that post.’ Happily married twenty six years and say ‘amen sister.’
    A joyous, tasty two thousand fourteen to you and yours.

  6. I wish I’d thought to keep track of what 2013 tasted like, but I didn’t. Heck, I didn’t even keep a list of what books I read and I always do that. It was that kind of year.

    I do know I ate far too many pizza pops (I’ve sworn off of them now) and too few grilled cheese. May this be a more ‘culinarily’ interesting year!

  7. Raewyn says:

    Well, I for one am very glad I got to ‘meet’ you via ‘that post’!
    I loved it and a sure love this post today. Your year tasted so good to me – I loved your ups and downs. I had plenty of those – more downs than ups for me last year – so your posts really encouraged me, made me laugh, made me think, helped me more than you can ever know.
    Don’t ever feel you have to hide. Just keep posting and keep being real. Sending you love from Kiwiland as you venture forth into 2014. May your foods keep on being incredibly forthright and interesting and very very tasty 🙂

  8. Katie says:

    I found your blog because one of my friends posted “that post” on his Facebook. I loved it! I, for one, was absolutely intrigued by it. But I also know how snarky the Internet can be – don’t let it stop you from writing. Just wanted to send some encouragement your way – I have loved reading your blog since that day. You have a wonderful, vibrant, passionate voice when you write, and I always enjoy visiting your site. Thanks for posting, and Happy New Year! – From a reader in Taiwan.

  9. Nikki says:

    “That post” is insightful and amazing. Snarky people are looking for someone to make miserable just like they are!

    I love the year in review via food, it feels very French to me. Thank you for writing and for sharing it, and not crawling under a rock after that post. Your “little corner” is very inspiring!

  10. We love this way at looking back on a year! Maybe next year instead of our top ten list (http://sophiaspockets.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/the-top-10-tradition/) We will follow your lead and look back over one theme through the year! We wish you had written for us during our food theme! Maybe 2014 is the year for that! Happy and tasty new year!

  11. This is so marvelous Hannah. Happy 2014!

    PS – I’m getting married in 30 days (!!) and you make me so excited for marriage.

  12. “That post” led me to your blog, so I’m glad you posted and continue to post. Happy new year!

  13. Kate says:

    what a great recap, i love it. happy new year!

  14. Heidi says:

    This is a very sweet post, Hannah. 🙂

  15. RA says:

    Oh, Hannah, I love this so much. It’s not silly! Remember that Tim Chester book I was telling you about, “A Meal with Jesus”? He quotes somebody (I wrote this down but don’t have that journal with me; I can look up the right wording and attribution for you if you like) who said something like, “God has no other use for creation than delight.” Isn’t that wonderful? So what we take delight in and who is around us when delight happens is indeed significant. Happy new year to you!

  16. ccpruett says:

    I LOVE this. Reminds me of Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. Food brings people together in ALL seasons, and you have done a beautiful job of painting a picture of your year through the lens of your table.

  17. Amy Grace Duncan says:

    OK! I loved this. First of all, I can’t believe I went to college with a girl who has this great blog that got ONE POINT FIVE MILLION VIEWS in a month! That is impressive, Hannah! Secondly, I want to recommend to you this awesome book that I am just finishing up. It’s called “Bread and Wine” and is written by Shauna Niequist. She writes about life, but all of her stories involve food and some great receipes. You would love it.

    Happy New Year!

  18. Stephanie says:

    Such a great way to recap the year. Plus it sounds so delicious! You have such a sincere way with words too! I love reading your posts!

  19. Laura says:

    This was beautiful. I loved every word. It’s funny how you mentioned the post that got you 1.5 million views in a week (!!!) and I was one of those lucky 1.5 million who found my way to your blog. I fell in love with your writing, the way you look at life. I’m so glad that I did! You did eat well in 2013, and you also did a lot of other things well too. May your 2014 taste just as good and have just as many adventures! Happy new year, Hannah 🙂

  20. mi says:

    I’m glad I got the chance to read your [in]famous blog post. Shared it on my facebook wall. And it made me read this post which just confirmed that I like your style of writing and that, for some reason, makes me suspect that I might like you a bit if I ever met you randomly. Wish you all the best in 2014 – hope it tastes delicious!

  21. Haylie says:

    You’re blog is so delightful!! I am so glad my friend shared a link to it on Facebook back in November. Along with Ann Voskamp’s blog, aholyexperience.com, yours is the only other one I read regularly! I love your love of food… and color… and marriage… and God… ok, I pretty much am on the same page with you about all the things you write about. Except kale. But I am intrigued- is it really good? Ugh, I just imagine soggy lettuce, but I suppose I should just pinterest it…. Anyway, thank you for sharing your fabulousness!!!

    • Hannah says:

      Ok so I promise that kale salads can be surprisingly good. You just have to massage them to break down the leaves. Trust me!!! I have some good ones on my Pinterest food board. But still… I did have to train myself to love Kale! : )

  22. E. Henry says:

    Hannah! Sometimes I feel like a broken record because I feel like I always say “I LOVE YOUR BLOG!” And yet, that phrase just doesn’t seem adequate. Your blog is incredible – it brings such delight, joy, and inspiration to me. You are such a good writer: you are hilarious, clever, wise, and creative.

    What an interesting and fun way to recap your year. To be honest, I don’t generally enjoy people’s posts online about what their past year looked like. I enjoy talking about it with friends and family, but not necessarily reading it. But knowing how awesome your blog is, I read on. And was just tickled pink by your monthly descriptions of food mingled with what life looked like for you during that particular month. And giiirl…. 1.5 MILLION?! Really?! Oh my goodness. I knew that your post had gone viral but I did not realize it was THAT VIRAL. Wow. Wow.

    I have to say that this year, I have truly enjoyed your blog. I am so glad you did my wedding photos, which in turn led me to your incredible blog. Keep on writing!

    Happy New Year!

    P.S. You look gorgeous in these pictures! Stunning, my dear.

  23. aashworth68 says:

    Thank you. I am a reader than came along after “that one post”. I’m so glad that you continued writing. Reading your thoughts and opinions is a joyful pastime of mine. Plus, I love weddings so much and enjoy your consistently amazing documentation of them!

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks! I mean, even though I just wrote about it being overwhelming, now that it has slowed down a little, it is exciting all the people I have “met” through it.

  24. Ashley says:

    Hannah, this was completely lovely.

  25. Mmmmm… 2013 definitely sounded as if it tasted good! I loved this mouth watering recap of your year and the fab photos too. Here’s to great tastes in 2014….

  26. Rach says:

    Love the year in review! I sit down to your posts with a cup of coffee and feel like I’m just visiting with a friend. Thank you for being a reality check more than once for me this year – a needed reminder to be present in my life, otherwise I may miss out on simple adventures! Blessings and joy to you guys for the new year!

  27. Elizabeth Blair Ollis says:

    Love this post, Hannah! I found your blog through “that one post,” and have enjoyed reading ever since. I’m a newlywed too, and you have such a way with words that sometimes describes exactly how I’m feeling or what I’m experiencing in my new marriage too – it’s nice to read about someone who has a similar story. So, thank you for continuing to write. Happy New Year!

  28. angie stone says:

    Does dad have the first picture of you and James on this blog?? That would be a fun refrigerator picture and I need a new current one.

  29. Nancy says:

    I am just now reading this post (a month late…) and it literally brought tears to my eyes. What a great way to recap an amazing year. Here’s hoping 2014 is even better for you and James!

  30. Pingback: A word for 2015. | The Art in Life

  31. Pingback: 2016 sounded like heartbeats and hymns. | The Art in Life

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