It’s an embarrassing personal confession that I’m a huge home cook but not the neat kind. I can fake it like the best when guests come over, but eagle-eyed readers of the food column I write for The Paris Review will have noticed the occasional splatter and dirty dish in the backgrounds of my photos. If that’s the best I can do with witnesses, just outside the frame is often worse.
At my best, I’m fun-loving: I’m the mom who will bake something elaborate at 9 p.m. in a wrecked kitchen. As a result, my kids know their homemade pavlova from their homemade tiramisu. At my worst, things reach such a state that I’m running the dishwasher and churning through the handwashing all day long, several days in a row, trying to catch up from my culinary excesses. Sometimes I find Monday morning’s soggy Tupperware at the bottom of Friday afternoon’s sink, and am thoroughly revolted with myself.