Watermelon Pool
Life • 

Every afternoon, when it’s hot enough (and it always is), my daughter spends a few hours running around our backyard naked. She has an inflatable pool that looks like the cross-section of a watermelon: pink-red interior, bright green sides….

Lately

  • Life • 

    Last night, I made lasagna. Not because Los Angeles in May warrants the consumption of cozy, crunchy-cornered dishes with cheese that stretches. It was seventy-five degrees yesterday.  I made it because the choreography lives in my hands. The familiar rhythm of gathering the ingredients, making an assembly line of tomato…

  • Life • 

    One of my favorite things about Paris is l’apéro, that sacred moment when the day winds down and people stop for pre-dinner drinks and bites. The tradition is so the opposite of what I’ve trained myself to do at the end of my day: push harder, get just a little…

  • Books • 

    Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t working for the protagonist of Rachel Yoder’s novel, Nightbitch. She feels “stripped of all she had been, of her career, her comely figure, her ambition, her familiar hormones…” But she suspects something is truly off when she finds “a patch of course, black hair sprouting…

ABOUT ME

I ask big questions and complain about how the laundry is never finished. Sometimes in the same sentence. Welcome.

I’m Renae. I’m a writer, a mom, and above all, an observer. I like to pause on the things that move me, to dwell on my experiences. Even the hard ones. Especially the hard ones.

More Articles
  • Food • 

    Lately, I’m averaging one frittata per week. I forgot about them for a little while and then decided to make one when I had a lone, sad leek and some wilted kale I was about to toss. That reminded me: when you make a really delicious frittata, it’s basically the…

  • Food • 

    I make this sauce about once a week, on nights when the chaos of my day bleeds into the evening, when all I want to do is close my eyes and open them to find dinner on the table. It does require some prep in the form of grating carrots…

  • Food • 

    I’m sure you’ve read about my love for dried white beans. But I hold plenty of room in my heart for the canned variety, too. They’re my secret weapon on nights when dinner time catches up with me before I catch my breath from the day. Give me one 15-ounce…

  • Food • 

    When I step back from the messy, imperfect everyday-ness of it, I think about cooking as a way to turn the mundane into something sacred. Nothing exemplifies this more than dried beans.  Given some love and the slowed-down hours of a Sunday morning, they become a ritual. They offer that…

  • Books • 

    The 32-year old protagonist of Dolly Alderton’s Ghosts, Nina, has a lot going for her: good friendships, a stable family life, and a new flat—paid for by her dream career as a food writer and cookbook author. But being in her thirties also makes Nina aware of what she doesn’t…

  • Life • 

    This morning, I’m somewhere different. A hillside house, with oak floors and a real backyard with a patch of grass and COUNTER SPACE (prayer hands emoji). It feels surreal to say that this is my house and that we are now homeowners. We’ve traded the swooshing soundtrack of a busy…

  • Life • 

    Hello. I come to you this morning from the little balcony outside my apartment. Lately, I’ll come out here for a few minutes at a time, just to look up and feel the sun warm my face. Adam and I had lunch at a restaurant the other day (!) with…

  • Food • 

    To me, nothing says spring more than sugar snap peas at the market. Combined with anise-fragrant fennel and the tart, herbaceous lemon-mint dressing, they taste like spring in a bowl: fresh, bright, crunchy, and sweet. I make this salad in that perfect crossover moment at the market, when the fennel…

  • Books • 

    The 12 essays in Let Me Tell You What I Mean, written between 1968 and 2000, don’t exactly follow a cohesive thread. Or rather, Joan Didion’s methodical, cutting search for the truth in every situation is the thread. In the essay, “Why I Write,” Didion says about the way she…