Ada Calhoun takes breakfast very seriously.
Illustration: Lindsay Mound
When she was growing up in the East Village, Ada Calhoun She wanted to become a farmer because it was the most bizarre profession she could think of. Instead, she became a writer. It’s a family business: her father, art critic Peter Schjeldahl, had once started and abandoned biographer Frank O’Hara; In her last notes, also a poetCalhoun takes over the project. The result, as she will be the first to tell you, is more complex than you might expect. “It has to do with my relationship with my father, and about the poetry school in New York,” she says, “but it’s also about people’s absolute lack of knowledge.”
Thursday 30 June
I woke up at 7 am in a hotel in San Diego after doing the last book event on the first leg of my tour. I made myself a cup of hotel coffee and then another, drank a few cups of water from a small plastic cup and then searched for “breakfast” on Google Maps.
I like to go out to eat, but the place doesn’t really matter. Especially when I’m on the run and reeling, I look by distance, not evaluation. Half a block away, there was a place called Parakeet Café, so I sat outside and got yogurt and granola, which came with lots of fruit – it was very generous with fruit – green juice, and lots of coffee.
I love to roam. I think part of the point of writing books is to go and talk to people about books and hear what they have to say. You just write things down, you don’t know what people are going to take away from it, and this book seems to talk a lot about annihilation and disappointment and what to do with the people you love but have. problem with. And there are always people eager to share stories about their lives. I’m here a lot for that.
At the airport, I had a dark Southwest chicken half of the Hudson News equivalent – we’re talking about a can of cooler, so dark – some popcorn and water. I stopped drinking soda all the time when I was sixteen years pregnant and never got back into the habit, although when I visit family in Texas I still drink Dr. Pepper exclusively. It tastes better in Texas. Not sure why. Maybe because when you go to Sonic, she’s served with all the ice out there in the world.
When I finally got home after ten days on a tour, I took a bowl of cherries out of the fridge and ate it while Neil, my husband, who appears in almost everything I write, and our 15-year-old son Oliver, made me toast and a fried egg. Well, he just made the toast, and my husband made the egg, in this particular case, but he’s really a really good cook. He started making Gabriel Hamilton’s recipe with whitewash from New York times Every two months and then we eat it for several days because it lasts a very long time and gets better. We met them while I was eating and I gave them gifts from the tour, mostly T-shirts from a bookstore.
Friday 1 July
slept in. jet lag. I woke up around 10 to eat yogurt, granola, and a sliced apple to it. Water and coffee. More coffee.
Growing up, my parents always put Entenmann on the counter—they were all about the chocolate donut all the time for breakfast. I can taste it in my mouth now just thinking about it, I ate a lot of it when I was a kid. But I’ve now moved on to yogurt, which is a questionable achievement. Not that I’m saying anything against Intenman’s words because God knows, these are really remarkably good.
While at the computer, I drank a triple kombucha and ate a banana. I almost crossed that line because I still wasn’t comfortable thinking of myself as some kind of kombucha drinker, but here we go.
At about the age of three, Oliver and his friends put on fancy clothes to go see disciples A movie, I stopped with Neal. We walked around and shared an iced coffee from Oslo, then ended up at the Caracas Arepa bar, where I had a bowl of rice with chicken, beans, vegetables and guasacaca and drank Arnold Palmer’s hibiscus.
I used to come to Williamsburg in the early ’90s to sit at my Aunt Mary’s house. You were walking into Bedford, and there was nowhere to get coffee. I was wandering thinking, Oh, if only there was a place to get some decent coffee! And now I live here, 30 years later, and there are 50 cafés between here and the subway.
At home, I sat at the computer for a few hours, until it was time to drive in the North for the weekend. Our oldest son, Blake, 28, and his girlfriend Izzie came in about seven, and before we all got in the car, we ordered a Border Burrito on Bedford Street. Arizona shrimp for me, which is “Arizona” because it’s hot and peppery smokes. Oliver went and picked them up and we ate them in the living room. For the car, we packed granola bars and Trader Joe’s water. The five of us plus our magical cat, Claude (doing tricks!), are crammed into a Subaru. Claude loves upbringing like a bear – this is his main trick. It is very good. I mean, as far as cats go.
It was ten o’clock by the time we got to our home in the Andes and got the beds full and everyone settled down, I sat in the living room and snacked on grapes, nuts, berries – supermarket blueberries, not local cranberries – and seltzer.
Saturday 2 July
coffee and water. Yogurt with walnuts and the rest of the blueberries. I realized that I drink a lot of coffee. I am not her own. We used to make a pitcher of coffee with random Starbucks coffee in it, but we just got a Keurig and now we have random capsules instead.
In the middle of the morning we stopped to visit my parents about 15 minutes away for some coffee and to enjoy the mini golf that my mum constantly accommodates. My parents used to throw huge 4th of July parties at their home in Bovina. The idea was that people would bring a platter to pass on, and there was a really crazy fireworks show that my dad did where he and his friends were connecting fields downstream and connecting trees, and it was really very dangerous and I felt dangerous. In fact, it is I was dangerous. It’s getting bigger and bigger every year. People are starting to think of it as city fireworks. People were talking about the party not knowing who the house was for and then ended up on some websites about “fun things to do in the Catskills!” I think that was the year there were 2,000 people. This was the last. It was sad. My parents loved that party, but they knew she had become a victim of its own success.
So when the party stopped, my mom and friend Scott Hill built a miniature golf course, which got bigger and bigger. Now there’s a pirate ship and a windmill, and there’s a little place that’s like a tiki bar where they serve sandwiches and ice cream and things like that. I think she loved the idea of doing something for the community the same way she felt the party was for the community. It is called Putt Putt Van Winkle, because it bears the stamp of Rip Van Winkle.
Oliver was a volunteer with the local historical society that day, so after we visited him and got a tour of the Hunting Tavern, Blake, Izzy, and Neil went to the local diner, Rosalino, which we still call Woody’s, even though it didn’t happen It wasn’t called that in many years. I had a sandwich of egg salad, french fries, and iced tea. Then I brought Oliver a sandwich and fries when he took a break.
Then I did a bunch of yard work and read a few from a couple of great books I’m trying to pull off as long as possible: Yoga by Emmanuel Carrier and Bill Hawkes It’s all about love.
At seven a group of people including my parents came over for drinks in the backyard and the weather was really nice so we ended up cooking outside. Neil has become great at barbecue during lockdown. I would say his primary grilling achievement is the corn on the cob, coming out the silk and roasting it in the husk. Giving ends this way – highly recommended. Blake prepared jalapeño margaritas, which were delicious. I had some cheese, crackers, chips and guacamole. Then a burger, salad, grilled corn and grilled vegetables. This was addressed while talking to friends and dodging nerf and badminton bullets. Oliver has inherited a huge arsenal of Nerf guns from two older kids who have outgrown them.
Sunday 3 July
6 am: coffee, water, yogurt, grape nuts, strawberries, walnuts. At 10:30 I made the family pancakes (using a . file Pancakes for breakfast recipe) with berries and syrup from the farm stall.
Around noon, I went to Price Chopper where I finished my book on midlife crisis. I had this moment of joy in the parking lot feeling a bit overcast. Here’s what we get: These are glimpses of what it will be like when all goes well. Anyway, I got a lot of groceries, plus more fireworks – they were only among the ketchup – then grass seed, bird seed and some nails from the hardware store. On the way back, I ate half a bag of baby carrots and drank a trio of kombucha.
Soon after I got home, our friend Jillian Walsh arrived from town and Blake made his signature chicken tacos. Then while everyone was out playing badminton, I made a batch of food to bring for our friend’s 4th of July party.
I made two big plates of macaroni and cheese. Rigatoni with garlic, olives, and tomatoes from some cookbook that broke down, so I can’t tell you about it; And the blueberry milkshake that gave me pandemic memories because Neil, Oliver and I made it a lot during lockdown. Also during closing: We watched 17 James Bond films and rated them. why? Because we have time.
We got to the early side for my friend Annual Fourth of July Party. I ate a plastic cup of roses. Within an hour, the field was filled with blankets and the tables under the tent were filled with food. We got to class and made our plates. I had a ridiculously good taco al pastor (made on site in a clay oven) and spam musubi, then watermelon and feta mint salad, roman dill salad with edible flowers, quinoa salad, and soba noodles. When I told someone how much I liked something I made, I apologized that it wasn’t better. I remembered Julia Child saying that chefs should never apologize, no matter what.
The rest of the night was a blur of apple pie and beer. When we left, we found dozens of cars stuck behind one car that was parked in the only driveway. Then I saw something I had never seen before: about 20 men surrounded the car, lifted it, and moved it to a suitable parking spot. I think the spam gave them the strength to do so.