Monday, January 12, 2009


Ugh, sweet lord, I have missed blogging. I really have. The last few months kicked my butt kind of completely. I applied for jobs which I did not get, ended my internship working on things in which I had no background nor education (and succeeding, shockingly, despite my own predictions of complete and profound failure), and avoided pondering my impending unemployment by running away to Rome, then Austin, then Philadelphia. Now I am back, unemployed (did I mention that I have no job?), with all the time in the world to blog and a back log of about a million pictures and stories that I had neither the time nor the physical and emotional energy to record before now. So here I go.

In the middle of all the work, and the job search, and the impending darkness of the 9-month long Boston winter, my little social circle suffered a terrible loss – one of my closest friends and inspiration for numerous blog posts on this very blog – left me, cold-heartedly, for three years in Paris. I am happy for her and all her baguettes and crepes, obviously I am happy for her. Meh. I am just sad for me.

Before she left me for Parisian cheese and wine (and can you blame her, really) we had one last hurrah at my place, a going away party with lots of friends, lots of booze, and of course, lots of food, close to Halloween. A momentous departure demanded a momentous dish. The Texan and I pulled off one of the more spectacular things that has ever come out of my oven – a whole pumpkin (picked with my own two hand at the same farm as the apples), hollowed out and stuffed with alternating layers of baguette, Gruyere, heavy cream and a tint of nutmeg, baked until the cheese and cream liquefied into a fondue, the pumpkin softened to a puree, the skin blackened and blistered.

The glorious party centerpiece, complete with rivulets of hot cream running out of the cheese fondue inside

The melted cheese and cream soaked bread, piled onto a plate next to a scoop of baked pumpkin flesh made for a picture perfect (and dramatic) way to bid good-bye (a temporary good-bye) to someone you love.

All hollowed out.

The recipe here.

Happy Birthday, Melissa! I miss you very much and am jealous, daily, of the newly Parisian you. And happy for you, of course.


The Texan said...

Happy birthday!!

and that pumpkin was so yummy!

lissa said...

way to make someone feel homesick! i still dream (and excessively brag) about the cheese-o-lantern. unfortunately, with no oven in my teeny Paris apartment, i cannot even attempt to recreate it's greatness. i wish both you and the Texan could be here to celebrate with me today. although i'm in Paris (a fact that surprises me every day), it isn't quite home without your closest friends. i miss you both - and am so happy to see you back blogging, so i can keep up with you - now, just to get my own up and running... thanks for the birthday wishes - i cannot have wished for a better sentiment.

Neha said...

YAY! I've been looking forward to a new post and here it is, complete with cheesy goodness. What a gorgeous centrepiece that must have made! I can't wait to read about all the rest of your latest culinary adventures. Welcome back. :)

mehdi said...

Hi Anna,

Nice to hear back from you. You know how long it is I've been visiting either of your blogs and seeing no update?!

Hope 2009 is a great joyful year, with or without a job!


PS: I finally got my own kitchen!

zavorka said...

Hi, Anna,
I found the following openings on

Lab Technician, Senior (January 10th, 2009). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Large University in Philadelphia is looking for a part-time Senior Lab Technician. The individual will performcell/tissue cultures of various immune cell or bone cell subsets, AnimalHusbandry, Tissue Harvesting/Processing, Stem Cell Transplantation (in vivoexperiments), Computer Data Entry and Word Processing. Assist in preparation ofmanuscripts. Will order supplies for lab, assist in experimental design and troubleshooting, conduct general lab maintenance and computer graphics, data management, statistics, etc. Assist in animal surgeries in the Department of Urology research laboratory. Perform other duties asassigned. Required Education and Experience: Bachelor's degree in a science related area of research, preferably Biology, plus a minimum of one to two years prior experience with general cell and molecular biology techniques.

Research Assistant I (January 10th,2009). Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Medical School of a large University in Boston is looking for Research Assistant. Duties And Responsibilities: study gene regulation and models of stem cell colon cancer. Perform necessary experiments. Collect related data. Process, organize, and summarize data under direction. Perform related duties as required. Qualifications: College background or at least 1 yearor Bachelor's degree in Biological sciences is preferred; demonstrated laboratory experience with molecular biology as well as experience reading the primary literature; strong communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills; computer proficiency; ability to take direction well and work closely with team members; interest in the biological sciences preferred.

Research Assistant II (January 10th,2009). Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Medical School of an important University in Boston is looking for Research Assistant II. Duties And Responsibilities: Previous experience in the basic computer programming and computation techniques and protocols listed below will be considered favorably. This position requires some level of independence and capacity to be an effective team player. The areas of research will involve testing of anti-cancer agents and development of tools to storage, maintenance and mining the data. The person applying should be a careful, organized and neat worker adhering to protocols, regulations and instructions. The applicant will be willing to work with human cells, bodily fluids and tissues. The work will be carried out in both biological and chemical laboratories. Performing the job will involve: Maintaining a Microsoft access based data base; Generation of additional Microsoft access based databases; Cultivating and processing cell cultures; Collection and processing clinical samples; Protein modification, purification and characterization; Performing ELISA and PCR; Preparation of buffers, stock solutions and standard mixtures; Organizing, recording and maintenance of data bases; and Participating ingeneral maintenance chores in the lab. Qualifications: College background or equivalent work experience, preferably in a related discipline. One to two years related work experience (relevant course work may count towards experience). Demonstrated abilities in laboratory techniques required. B.A./B.S. preferred.

Anna said...

Hi Palmiro! Thanks so much for the job postings. I really appreciate you thinking of me. At this point in my career, however, I think a tech position might be counter-productive. A lab tech with a PhD may send the wrong message to employers. I am going to suck it up and do a post-doc for now, and hope for something more exciting to come along!
Thanks again for the postings though. I will check out the site you used to find them.

lara griffiths said...

glad to have my favorite food blogger back.

you were missed.

come back to texas when you can!