{Review} The Race for Paris by Meg Wait Clayton

23460961How daring must we be, for how long must women fight for the recognition of equality? When will all men stand up and say, “yes, you matter, too, as much as we do”? Meg Wait Clayton, in a beautifully crafted novel, uses two brilliant heroines to make the point that not much has changed…but it could, if we are brave enough to stand up. Based on real female war correspondents reporting during World War II, Clayton delivers sharp social commentary, as relevant today as it was in 75 years ago, with fearless heroines proving that determination and good friends can get you just about anywhere.

As the scene unfolds at a hospital camp in Normandy, the readers are introduced to three journalists whom Clayton skillfully uses to portray a few common mindsets prevalence even today.

Olivia “Liv” Harper is a daring, headstrong, and extraordinary photographer, defying even her husbands wishes as she heads to France. Jane is a young journalist, writing for a Nashville newspaper owned by the family for whom her mother works as a maid. Marie is Jane’s fellow journalist and stiff on following the rules. She may not like them, but she will not break them, nor allow herself to think beyond them.

When Liv defies direct orders to remain at the camp, Jane, hungering to see and write about more than field hospitals, takes the risk and follows Liv. As they experience life at the front, Liv and Jane find themselves fighting against the obstacles that come with being females amidst the sea of male war correspondents, but also find allies along the way.

There is a great need in the world for men like Fletcher Roebuck and Hank Bend. In aiding Liv and Jane, from driving them to the front against orders, to keeping the women safe and distributing their stories and photos when they were denied access to the men’s press camp, Fletcher and Hank showed their support with something much more powerful than words. They acted.

Of course, they weren’t perfect, as revealed in Fletcher’s character: “…he certainly didn’t need the distraction of Charles blood Harper’s beautiful wife, no matter how talented she was…”, but his ultimate support of Liv and Jane, acting against the wishes of even his best friend Charles, showed that even engrained opinions can be pushed aside. We are not always obligated to hold onto all the beliefs of society.

Liv’s eventual death while photographing the front is a larger allegory of the sacrifices women have made and will be forced to make in order to obtain the same opportunities and prove themselves equal and capable. More than that, it’s a tribute to the women taking risks, defying norms and doing something that they love, with or without society’s approval.

In Jane’s decision to accompany Liv to the front, she represents those who want something badly and only need a push, people fearless like Liv to pave the way and show us how to live. Sometimes all we need is a friendly face and an outstretched hand, knowing that we’re supported and not alone.

So what should we women be doing? Reading about what’s happening, after its happened? No. Rather, we should look to Liv’s daring philosophy to be in the trenches of our lives: “Photos of the parachute sermon itself, the gunfire, the bicycle ride—those are the photos I ought to be taking. Not photographs of a woman in a safely liberated French town recalling them.” We need to be in the thick of it, not picking up the pieces.

Right now, many of us are Marie, discontented with the confines of society, but unwilling or unable to fight against the system. We find ourselves “couch potato activists,” unable to do more than support the Livs from behind a screen.

Not all of us will be Liv, but we can be Jane. Clayton is right. We need to acknowledge the risk, but take the chance and follow. Otherwise, we could be missing out on the greatest adventure of our lives. Liv and Jane were living in a changing world, and it’s still evolving now. Where will it take us?

San Francisco on Film

One of my favorite portrait photographers introduced me to film photography. She uses a Rolleicord, and all the photos she takes are so vivid in color and detail, I knew that I wanted to explore this medium of photography, too. So, I caved, bought a Rolleicord, did an obscene amount of Googling because I had no idea what I was doing, and experimented last summer. Recently, we bought an Epson scanner, so I was able to scan all my negatives, and here are some of the results!



North Beach is one of my favorite neighborhoods, if only for the cute cafes and Italian restaurants that line the streets. I stopped poor Divya every 10 feet or so because I wanted to take a picture of something! This little cafe was just so charming.


During winter break, the family trekked out to Land’s End. Open ocean, jagged cliff lines, and violent, majestic waves … it was like watching a beautiful symphony, being captivated by the melodies and artistry. It is moments such as these, when you feel small, and the world feels big, that you are filled with curiosity and wonder.


And of course, there are few greater joys than stumbling across fresh flowers in the middle of a metropolis, but I did just that on a little corner in Nob Hill.


Voilà! (A bit of) San Francisco on film.

Happy exploring!


{Review} Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

I have a running joke that I like science. I’m actually not well suited to the field; I lack patience, am not fond of following directions to the T, and crave a little bit of creativity and my own rules. However, I find its principles fascinating…when I’m not sitting in class. Seeing scientific principles in action is actually quite fun, and so I picked up this little book to learn a little bit more about how the world spins. It’s probably fair to say that I only really processed 60 percent of what was explained, but this was all for fun, after all.

Rovelli divides this book into the following chapters: “The Most Beautiful of Theories,” “Quanta,” “The Architecture of the Cosmos,” “Particles,” “Grains of Space,” “Probability, Time, and the Heart of Black Holes,” and “Ourselves.”

I won’t try and delve into all the details, because I’m not sure how well I understood everything, but I was thoroughly fascinated. His tone is conversational as he carefully explains the principles and history of topics such as the Theory of Relativity (space is gravity?) and what actually happens in black holes. I think that this little book is a lovely way to become acquainted with some the basic theories and principles in physics, whether or not you are scientifically inclined.

Happy reading!

Polenta with Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Eggs

Last year I raved about Huckleberry, Zoe Nathan’s little gem in Santa Monica. I finally bought the book. Glorious, I say. Glorious. On this episode of #domesticwithdad, we decided to make her recipe for polenta with roasted asparagus, prosciutto, and fried eggs. Need I say it again? Glorious.


I am a super-fan of roasting vegetables. Salt, pepper, and maybe a seasoning or two if you’re feeling fancy. It’s a nice alternative to sautéing vegetables or heaven forbid, boiling them. Grilling is also an option … if you have a grill.

The recipe isn’t difficult, but team #domesticwithdad needs to work on its time-management skills. A few tips based on our test-run:

  • Sprinkle the cornmeal into the water a tablespoon at a time. Yeah. You read that right. Tablespoon at a time. Trust me, it definitely beats mashing out all the lumps after your cornmeal seizes. Yuck.
  • Blanch your asparagus! We forgot … and our asparagus were a little too soft. Blanching will stop the asparagus from cooking and keep them firm.
  • Please don’t scramble the eggs. Fry the eggs. Over easy is good, over medium, still good. Over … hard? At your own risk.


You may be wondering, what’s the difference between grits and polenta? What even are grits?!

Please don’t ask what grits are. Southern food staple. I’ll leave it that. Go try some and report back.

According to one of my favorite cooking sites, grits and polenta are made with different types of corn, which also yield different textures. I prefer polenta, which has a firmer (and therefore better) texture, over grits, which are softer or mushier. Also note that grits are (as aforementioned) Southern, and polenta is an Italian dish.


Also, please use prosciutto … don’t sub for bacon; it’s not the same. Prosciutto, like the lamb chop, has been one of the more formative foods on my foodie journey. Eat it. Like it.


Polenta with Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Eggs (from Zoe Nathan’s book, Huckleberry)

2 bunches asparagus, trimmed

8-12 slices prosciutto

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tsp

1 cup (160g) cornmeal

4 tbs (55g) butter

1/2 cup (50g) grated Parmesan

4 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 500˚F. Roast prosciutto until crispy, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. Set aside a bowl of ice water. Cook asparagus until tender (should not be super squishy/soft). Blanch asparagus  for 2-3 minutes to stop cooking. Important if you do not want squishy asparagus in the final product.
  3. Place asparagus on pan lined with parchment or foil. Drizzle with (good!) olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for approximately 15 minutes, until browned.
  4. In a saucepan, bring water, garlic, and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk the cornmeal into the water. I recommend 1 tablespoon at a time. Otherwise, your polenta will horribly lumpy.
  5. Fry eggs. Over easy or medium, but please don’t scramble or cook the yolk through.
  6. Toss (or plate nicely) everything into a bowl, top with parmesan, and serve.

Happy cooking, friends!


The End.

This is the end. Death is life’s final punctuation mark, the period. Life sees commas, semicolons, colons, apostrophes, ampersands, and others, but all hint at something more to come. Death is the period. It is the end. There is nothing to come after that.

I do not know how I will continue on. For me, this is an ellipsis, but I feel that my own story has come to a squeaking, resisting, angry halt. It’s difficult to concentrate, and I only want to be mindless, because thinking about nothing is easier and nicer than thinking about something. Something always leads back to what I do not want to think about.

One saving grace is that we were not in the habit of seeing Ye Ye often. Once or twice a year in person, once a week on Skype. If we had lived closer to them and seen them several times a week, I do not know how I would bear it. But, distance graciously allows me to pretend that everything is fine, because really, our daily routine has been minimally interrupted.

I never want to see a funeral home ever again. Why do they call the places funeral homes? That is not a home. It is the antithesis of a home. Homes are warm, inviting, happy places. Funeral homes are cold, where death greets you at the door and invites you to suffer, to see him place the final punctuation mark on your loved one’s manuscript that was their life. Homes are not final. Death is final. I hate that.

As we began to clean my grandmother’s house, we found Ye Ye’s 8mm movie camera, forgotten in a woven basket my aunt shipped back from Kenya. Ye Ye always had a video camera with him on family vacations, and I guess this was the first one. We also found an envelop with camera negatives, containing photos from his first years in the U.S. It made me realize a two things: We often don’t really know people until after they’re gone, and we don’t spend enough time with people while they’re here. How can we remedy that? Instead of a slap in the face, life’s final punctuation mark should bring closure. We make a nasty habit of expecting everything to be as it should, every day. Tomorrow may be different. Please be prepared. Dearest friends, if I have not spent enough time with you, I am sorry, and I hope that will change.

Sesame-Mozzarella-Cilantro Salad


I have a friend (hi, Fred!) who can look in his refrigerator, size up his ingredients, and make something on the fly. It’s an amazing skill, and even more impressive to watch him in action. I wish I had the same ease and confidence in the kitchen.

In an effort to clean out the fridge, I found myself pulling a Fred, as I looked at the odds and ends. Spinach, cilantro, fresh mozzarella, green onions, mandarin oranges … Honestly, I was a little skeptical as to how this would all play out, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything played together. The main star is definitely the cilantro, with the spinach solely providing fluff and nutrition(?). The mozzarella mellows the cilantro’s sharpness, and I like fruit in my salad to give a contrast to whatever savory components I’ve thrown in.


I believe that salads are to taste, and I also believe that recipes should be done by weight. However, this I made this salad on the fly, so I measured nothing. I confess. Here’s the basic ingredients you need, but it’s on you to figure out the proportions in which you would like everything.

-Sesame-Mozzarella Cilantro Salad-



Fresh Mozzarella

Sesame-Ginger Dressing and/or Sesame Oil

Mandarin Oranges (drained)

Crispy onions

  1. Using your hands, gently rip cilantro into large chunks. Add cilantro and spinach to a large salad bowl.
  2. Cut mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Drain mandarin oranges. Add both to bowl. Top with crispy onions and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of dressing and/or oil.
  3. Cover with another bowl and shake to coat.
  4. EAT.
  5. Feel like Fred. AKA feel like a genius in the kitchen.


Happy cooking, friends!




It has been one week. Can I tell you how many times I have been muttering “no” to myself? How many times I have screamed in the car, believing that if I yell “no” loud enough, that everything will be back to normal? How many times I have remembered, cried, said I was fine, and did life, after?


I want to scream at the cosmos, smash the stars until their glitter is piled around me in a  shattered heap of porcelain, rip apart the clouds and tear the sky into shreds.


But it is.

Frankly, I find this all a cruel joke. I told myself that this year, I would choose joy. I told God that I would trust him. And I also remember that over Christmas break, I prayed for brokenness. I believe that brokenness is how we draw closer to God, and he to us.

So in a way, I feel like this is all my fault. Maybe I would still had a grandfather if I had prayed for something else.

How could I have known?

But as I spit these bitter words onto my virtual page, I am reminded that choosing joy is something that we do regardless of our circumstances. Frankly, I don’t see how I can do that right now, or ever. I feel as if I received the short end of the stick. I am livid. How can this be? How can I choose joy, how can I trust God now? I feel as if I am being punished for wanting to draw closer to the creator of the universe. This is the test in which I must walk through fire. You know, everyone says following God isn’t easy, but I never imagined it would be this difficult.

I sent him an email to set up our weekly skype, because in my mind, I’m going to receive a reply in a couple hours. The next morning I woke up and found a reply; my heart skipped a beat, only to sink in crushing disappointment to realize it was an automatically  generated email. The words slapped me with their formal, brief, almost cold reply. He didn’t write it. It was standard. Was I naive to expect more, or expect the miraculous?


And no.

I  believe that God is powerful and that he is not arbitrary in his ways. I want to walk away from this and still be able to say that God is good, all the time. Despite wanting to scream at the creator of the universe, I find myself resentfully comforted by these words:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the heart, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORd; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:1-3

Death really sucks. Sorry. It just wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’m still angry, but more than anything, I’m hurt. I’m disappointed. I’m devastated. Is it too much to ask for someone to come back to life? I don’t think so, and this isn’t over, yet. But honestly, After should be illegal. I have descended into listlessness, unable to concentrate on anything that requires even a small amount of substantial brain power. Funny, because I am also doing everything in my power to keep my brain from thinking too hard about the things I do not want to think about. Nothing works. My mind is as occupied as ever. But, if I think about it hard enough, everything returns to normal.

Normal is such a precious state in which we fragilely remain. It is the glass of a snow globe, and mine is shattered.



Grief is one of those things you read about all the time, but can never relate to until it’s happened to you. You know how people say it’s so bad they can’t breathe? Physically, breathing remains as easy as it ever was. But every breath means you actively accept defeat. Another breath means another moment that you are accepting as your new reality, the one you didn’t choose, dousing you in ice water on a snowy day. That’s why you can’t breathe.

And the world continues on, as if everything is normal, and it is normal. But not for you. Now, something that you’ve always had is missing. The world can’t tell, but you can. Everything looks different. It’s life, after. And when you think about everything too hard, your eyes threaten to spill over, as if they were holding Niagara Falls, and your eyelids are an inadequate dam to prevent everything from cascading down. The ground is watered with your tears, and the air is punctuated with you repeating “no” to yourself, under your breath, before you fall asleep, because this isn’t real. It’s fake and it’s going to end soon. When you wake up everything will be a nasty dream, and everything is going to continue on as usual.

But you know that it’s really real, because your dad flew home to Alabama on a beautiful Saturday morning, and it should be illegal for the weather to be so fine on such an awful day. You know it’s really real because he calls and asks you when you’d like to fly out, and your family always, always buys plane tickets months in advance, not days. You know it’s real because your emails go unanswered, and your grandpa always answers you. You know it’s real because he’s never, ever late for anything if he can help it, but now he’s missing everything.

It feels strange because his phone number is still in your phone, and you keep getting texts, but they’re from your dad because his phone broke. Every time his hame pops up on your notifications, you hope it’s him, and you see his profile picture you took for your address book because you hate it when contacts don’t have photos. You remember that the photo was taken at IHOP after your sister’s graduation, and the lighting was horrible, and you were teaching him how to send text messages.

You realize that this week, you’re going to miss your weekly Skype. That even if you call, he won’t pick up. You’ll never see him type, “Hi Marissa.Ye Ye is here” ever again. Ye Ye is not going to be here, ever again.

Despite all of these realizations, you’re in denial. You grasp desperately at any distraction, any semblance of “normal” life, the life you once had. It’s funny though, because really, nothing’s changed. You still go about life. You just know in your heart that someone is gone, and somehow that makes all the difference. And the distractions work…until you start thinking, and a sinking feeling creeps up. They call it a sinking feeling for a reason; your heart just kind of droops as it inches towards the acceptance of a new reality, even though your brain is not budging, refusing to acknowledge it.

Denial comes next, as you lie to yourself. Everything’s fine. Nothing is wrong. It’s just another ordinary day. Everything is as it should be. Your world is in tact. But deep down you know you’re lying to yourself, and that’s a little bit pathetic, but you want nothing more than for it to be true. This isn’t real life.

Then you start worrying that you will forget. Memories punch you in the heart as you look at all the photos you took on vacation and you realize that you’ll never, ever find Chinese food in a foreign city ever again, because it just wouldn’t be the same without him. It was our thing. The first thing we did when we arrived in Paris was eat Chinese food at his favorite restaurant. And the highlight of our vacation to Italy was the night that we found a Chinese restaurant. Same in England, too. We would’ve found some in Colorado, together, but not anymore.

You scramble for the postcard he sent you all the way from Tibet, which took three months to arrive at your dorm, worrying that you had tossed it out when you moved. You scramble for the last birthday card he sent you, a cupcake-shaped one, wondering if it had been lost during the move, too. You scroll through your email, looking for the last messages you received from him and placing them in a folder you’ll never ever delete. You salvage his old camera, the one he brought with him from Taiwan to America that you had put in the junk pile because it was broken, but now it sits on your shelf, the most prized of all of your cameras.

And while you do all this, you stay in denial. That’s the only way you make it even somewhat bearable, when it isn’t bearable at all. Denial numbs you until you believe it. It feels nice. You know that you’ll see him next week, that your emails just got lost, and that you’ll have an extra long chat together on Sunday.

It’s not to be.

Ye Ye-

I’m going to miss talking with you every week. You always cut the conversation short and told me to keep studying, but I would have talked to you as long as you would have liked. I always had time for you. Thank you for putting me through my first year of college and for teaching me the valuable lesson of not being afraid to fail. You showed me that it’s always possible to get back up.

Thank you for showing me new bits of the world, from France to Italy to England. You fulfilled your promise to 8-year-old me, and now I love Paris (and France) almost as much as I love you. I was so excited for you to read about my study abroad experience, and I’ll still be writing about it here. I know you would have enjoyed a postcard or two.

I had so much fun spending spring break with you- I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. You helped me check something off my bucket list (Loveless Cafe), and our walk around your neighborhood was one of the highlights of the trip.

I’ll miss your birthday cards (thanks for always remembering) and always eating Chinese food when you visit. I wish you were still coming to visit in July; Dad and I were going to make Chinese food on #domesticwithdad…but I also thought about making something funky, because I bet you would have tried it because I made it.

Here’s two of my favorite pictures of you. The first one was taken at the Vatican. Do you remember that? It’s probably my favorite picture of us. Thank you for showing me Italy even though you don’t like Italian food. The second photo was from Christmas last year, I think. Do you remember Tyler, my cousin? He’s really into origami and taught us all how to make star destroyers (from Star Wars). You and Syd got lost because the instructions were really complicated, so you called your star destroyer the “model T.” I remember I laughed at that.


I only knew you as “Ye Ye,” but I wish I had known more about you, the scientist. I’m sorry I never sent you the article I wrote about you last year. My flash drive stopped working for some reason, but I’ll try to recover the file. Of course, I only had good things to say about you, and so did Pat Corder. Brilliant, generous, kind; I think I got some of my writing skills from you. Pat always said she was amazed at how you could hammer out a proposal without drafting anything first. That’s kinda how I write my articles. But nonetheless, you are still the coolest. Your big science brain was just icing on the cake. I remember on the train returning from Florence, I asked you why humans didn’t feel like they were hanging sideways off the planet. Even though the question was way below the complexity of what you probably did every day, you so patiently drew an explanation. And I’ll never forget the day we stood in our kitchen, asking you about vacation plans, and you told us to figure it out, because “I don’t want to use my brain.” That was one of your best lines.

Every May 21st is going to suck. Sorry, but there’s no eloquent way to put that. But I won’t just remember you on May 21st, I’ll be thinking about you every week, sending you the email that won’t be read, and waiting for the Skype call that will never come.

Last year during spring semester you said, for the first time that I could remember, “I love you,” as we were hanging up from Skype. I always knew you loved me, but that was the first time I could remember you saying that. I felt so special. And I just want you to know, I love you too.



Easy Homemade Pizza Dough (Anything Dough)

Hello, friends! Today we’re making an easy pizza dough. It’s almost an everything dough. Right now I’m reading Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish, so maybe if you’re a bread nut like him, this isn’t an everything dough. But for novice bakers like you and me, it does the job! It’s pizza dough, dinner roll dough, cinnamon roll dough, focaccia, basic white bread…see? It’s everything.

I swiped this recipe from Sur La Table. The kitchen was making pizza one night last summer and it was divine. Pizza crust, summer vegetables, and an olive-oil drizzle. Yum.

Let’s bake! First, you’ll need to prepare the yeast. Make sure the water’s not too hot, or you’ll kill ’em off! Then you’ll be sad, and I’ll be sad for your un-fluffy bread.


Some directions will say to sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it sit. I like to give mine a quick, gentle stir in the sugary water to make sure all the yeast is activated.


After you let it sit for around five minutes, it’ll become nice and poofy. It’s a major transformation from the water-y mixture you started with! It will also smell like…bread. If your yeast doesn’t look like this after the five-ish minutes, it’s probably too old and you’ll want to buy a fresh jar.


I like to pour the mixture into a small well in the flour. You could do this without a standing mixer; it’ll just take you a little bit longer.


This dough is particularly wet. DO NOT add more flour! Only add so that you can roll out your dough at the end of the process.


After mixing, transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl so that it can rise. For easier handling, either oil or wet your hands with water (but not too much). After an hour an a half, your dough should have doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your room, though, it could take less or more time.


At this point, I sprinkled my dough with a little flour to help me ease it out of the bowl, but I would have used oil or water again. You can store it in the fridge overnight, or continue on and bake whatever you’re dreaming up. Mine’s in the fridge, waiting to be turned into pizza with yellow squash, zucchini, and spinach!


Happy baking! Here’s the recipe:

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough (from Sur La Table)

2 ounces (1/4 cup) warm water (110˚F-115˚F; I microwaved mine for a little under a minute)

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (I used Fleischmann’s active dry yeast)

16 1/4 ounces (3 1/4 c) flour

1 1/2 tsp sal (kosher or sea salt, not iodized table salt, please)

8 ounces (1 cup) water

1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp) olive oil

  1. Dissolve yeast into 2 ounces warm water mixed with a pinch of sugar. Let sit for around five minutes until yeast are activated.
  2. Place flour and yeast mixture into a bowl, and either mix using a dough hook for approximately five minutes until tacky and cleanly pulling away from the sides of the bowl, or kneading by hand for around 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl and place in a warm spot. Let rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down the dough and store in the fridge overnight, or continue on and bake at 350˚F. Don’t forget to roll the dough out onto a floured surface. It makes four personal pizzas.

French Onion Soup

#domesticwithdad is back with the first project of the summer: how to make French onion soup!

(Also, can I put a couple grammatical questions on the table? To Oxford, or not to Oxford? Do you capitalize after a colon or leave the proceeding letter lowercase? These little inconsistencies with AP Style and other styles…I need everything to be on the same page!)

College friends, I will be frank: T/this soup is time intensive! Caramelizing the onions takes around 30 minutes, and then the soup must simmer for 45. BUT, I am a super-fan of multi-tasking (another debatable concept), so sometimes, I babysit my simmering vegetables while doing my homework next to the stove. Do what you gotta do.


Anyways, first things first: C/croutons! I think 75 percent of the reason I eat this soup is to eat the croutons covered in melted Gruyère. YUM. You could make the croutons while you’re waiting for the soup to simmer; whatever floats your boat. I wanted my bread to be super-stale because it was going to be sitting in soup later!


Croutons are easy and unfussy. Buy a baguette or sourdough (or make your own), slice to desired thickness, butter, and salt & pepper it. You could alternatively do an olive oil drizzle in place of the butter … whatever makes your socks go up and down. We went the butter route.

As for the onions, cut to the desired size. We went with larger chunks, just because we didn’t think small pieces would hold up very well. For comparison, this is what the raw onions look like:


And after they had been reducing for a bit:


And the final, caramelized product:


Mom used to make a batch of these every week and pull them out of the fridge as needed. That’s also an option, if you fancy it.

The recipe we’re using calls for four cups of beef stock and four cups of chicken stock. We went rogue (because we don’t usually play by the exact rules) and did eight cups of chicken stock, because that’s what we had and we’re cheap. Everything turned out delicious.


If you don’t have ramekins, you technically don’t have to throw the soup in the oven, but it does seal the deal. I guess microwaving your soup + cheese would also work. Please do not microwave the crouton.

-French Onion Soup (courtesy of Dad’s favorite place…FoodNetwork!)-


4 yellow onions

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

1 overflowing cup white wine

4 cups beef broth

4 cups chicken broth

4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced


French bread/baguette

olive oil or butter

Gruyère cheese, thickly sliced


  1. Chop onions to desired size. Slice bread for croutons. (As much or as little as you’d like.)
  2. Melt stick of butter in large pot. Add onions, stir to coat. Cook until soft and translucent. Add wine and cook until caramelized (a deep golden brown). Add broths, Worcestershire sauce, garlic. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Either butter both sides of the bread before placing on baking sheet, OR lay bread on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Top with salt and pepper. Bake at 350˚F until deep golden brown.
  4. Ladle soup into ramekins and top with crouton and Gruyère. Broil until cheese is bubbling and brown. OR, grate the cheese over soup, microwave to melt, and top with crouton.
  5. EAT.


Happy cooking, friends!