Lingering

banana popsicles
Melty popsicles on the first weekend of September. Banana popsicles, to be exact, with a little bourbon and brown sugar. Thoughts of an Indian summer, a little jaunt here in one week, and choosing to linger — over morning coffee, evening drinks, a good book. Choosing not to linger over the television, online to-do lists, or starting to think about the holidays.

desk
Last week I read a little Anne Lamott piece (via Molly) that spoke to this idea of choosing what you want to linger over or focus on. She talks about how the feeling of being busy all of the time is actually addictive–how much we all like to feel connected at all hours of the day, thriving on multi-tasking and creating little efficient systems around things that don’t necessarily need systems. She says, “Time is not free—that’s why it’s so precious and worth fighting for.” I read this right after I finished a hot-and-heavy texting conversation with my sister Zoe about hurricane Irene. Zoe lives in Manhattan and was writing to ask why I hadn’t checked in on her yet. Didn’t I know she was leaving her apartment to go stay with my aunt and uncle? Didn’t I know that the grocery stores were all sold out of food? That this could actually be big. The truth was I didn’t know. I had no idea.

My excuse? I don’t have cable. Sarcastically Zoe asked if my internet was broken, too. Had I been drinking all day, she wondered. I explained I’d been baking for the farmers market and it just wasn’t on my radar. She only sort of bought it. I think she still would’ve liked a “checking in” text or call. Fair enough. But I have to say, there’s something really, really nice about not having TV and getting to choose what information you look up and seek out. To fight for a little bit of time. While I wasn’t on the verge of breaking hurricane news, I seem to generally do just fine. I looked up where Irene was slated to land and checked in with The New York Times occasionally. But I did miss a lot of the good shots with news anchors and their flailing umbrellas. True. Speaking in general terms, Anne Lamott says, “No one needs to watch the news every night, unless one is married to the anchor. Otherwise, you are mostly going to learn more than you need to know about where the local fires are, and how rainy it has been: so rainy!” So much of it is largely noise.


When I lived in the city by myself for a few brief months searching for employment and nursing a broken heart, I liked to have the TV on for background noise. It made me feel less lonely. It made the apartment feel much less quiet. And I thought I’d feel the same way here in my Oakland apartment, but months ago I realized I didn’t. I cancelled cable but the TV still sat there completely untouched. Now it’s shoved into a closet with my snowshoes, ugly duffel bags, and a snorkel. Am I using the time I’d generally be sitting and watching TV to blaze through all of Russian literature? I’m afraid not. But I am listening to much more music, doing more writing, and every now and again looking around and marveling at my sunny little Oakland apartment. Marveling at the choices we get to make and how we can go about fashioning our days to be kind of how we want them to be. Melty popsicles, shelves of books, good booze, a plane ticket to West Virginia, and the sun setting across my school house desk. That’s the view from here as I linger (or dawdle, depending on how you look at it), stealing a little bit of time before digging into what’s next. In your case, that would be popsicles.

Creamy Banana Bourbon Popsicles

Creamy Banana Bourbon Popsicles

  • Yield: 10 Popsicles
  • Prep time: 5 mins
  • Cook time: 5 mins
  • Total time: 10 mins

While it may be tempting to add a little more bourbon, remember that will affect how well your popsicles freeze. And this recipe yields popsicles that aren’t at all too sweet. Taste the mixture before pouring it into the molds, and adjust the sweetness as necessary. By the way, I think these would be lovely with cardamom or even a dash of cinnamon.

Quick note: the popsicles take a good 4 hours to freeze up completely (time not factored in the breakdown above), so plan accordingly. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 bananas, cut into thirds

Instructions

Pour the milk, cream and brown sugar into a small saucepan and heat until just before it begins to boil. This helps integrate the brown sugar smoothly. Add the bourbon and vanilla and pour into a blender. Add bananas. Blend quickly — the mixture can remain a little chunky. Let cool and refrigerate until cooled completely.

Divide the mixture amongst the molds and freeze for 4-5 hours.

Comments

  1. Amanda

    I love the idea of lingering. I have cable but have been considering canceling it because I can't remember the last time I turned on the TV. Then again, it's nice to know that it's there for that background noise, if I need it (for the current broken heart that I am trying to mend). However, I refuse to believe that it's not healthy to escape the rat race every once in a while. I'd really love to abolish Facebook and texting altogether! Thanks for another lovely post Megan.

  2. Mary

    Marvelous piece, Megan!

  3. Chez Us

    Great recipe. I just realized yesterday, over an ice cream with Lenny, that I have not made any ice cream, sorbet, gelato or popsicles all summer. Don't get me wrong, the idea is buried somewhere, I just have not gotten around to it. While I loved my cone yesterday, I have a feeling I would have rather enjoyed one of your slushy popsicles!

  4. sara

    beautifully written, and I love that anne lamont piece as well. We don't have cable either, just occasionally use the tv to watch a rented movie or play music from. My family doesn't get it, "don't you get bored? do you miss your cooking shows?"... I don't really, I don't miss it at all. All my girlfriends chatter at the beach and no, I don't know anything about the kardashian wedding and it doesn't bother me one bit. So cheers to you for choosing your focus, it'll pay off, I'm sure of it.

    1. megang

      Oh thanks so much, Sara. I can totally relate to sitting around with girlfriend's and not knowing what the latest is with Kim's wedding. But hey, I think we may just be all the better for it, really. I find they're all very, very happy to fill you in at the drop of a hat! Hope you had a lovely Labor Day weekend with Hugh!

  5. Heather

    Another great post, I will be making these tomorrow for my little personal Labor Day celebration. Can't wait to meet you at Greenbrier! Safe travels.

  6. lori

    Have a great time at the writers symposium! I wish I were going.

  7. Dennise

    Nice Nice We just move to Japan I mean (hubby and me) have a TV but don't know what their saying so why turn it on.Thanks too that I found great site,blogs,recipes. My life I would say is better. Great piece.Thanks again

  8. Marlene Lehman

    Loved your post. We'd all be better off if we unplugged more often. You said it so beautifully. Thanks.

  9. momgordon

    TV is the easy one. For me it is being in the car with my three passengers (maybe daughters?) and everyone is bent over their iphone checking not sure what and conversation has stopped. Can't wait to linger with you soon!

  10. Rebecca

    This sentiment was so refreshingly familiar. Wonderful to hear that the quiet has become peaceful.

    1. megang

      Thanks, Rebecca. So nice to hear from you and nice to know you're reading the blog. Hope you're well and enjoying your summer.

  11. Mel

    Hi Megan, I enjoyed reading this post (love your site in general!) - yes it is so true. I recently deleted my Facebook account and thought, how strange - I only felt the urge to email a small fraction of the 400 odd people on my account. So telling! Much to my surprise, the emails back were mostly along the lines of, "congratulations - oh I wish I could do it too!".

    I don't watch TV and I never read the news for pleasure (only a few specific subscriptions that I need to monitor as part of my job). I love the freedom it brings to tune in to music at all times and make a conscious decision to opt out of pointless noise!

  12. Kasey

    So beautiful, Megan. I have been talking about canceling cable for so long now, I need to just do it. These days, I tap into NPR for my news on my morning commute, and beyond that, who needs to watch hours of repetitive coverage of a single event?

  13. Katie

    I got rid of my tv over a year ago and don't miss it (actually, I have the tv itself, but don't have service...it's a 15 year old tv, so when SF went digital, I lost service and didn't miss it). I find that now when I do watch tv, it's just too much (I imagine it's like going off sugar for months then stuffing a whole twinkie into your mouth, washed down with a Coke). But yeah, like you, I admit, I'm not using my time away from the tube to get through the literary canon...I watch lots of movies, daydream, etc.

  14. Danielle

    Hooray for a TV-less life!! Apart from the time you gain, there's also a nice sum you save when you're not paying for the cable subscription yes? I love the power of not having a TV...to be able to watch programs when I want to, and not have to schedule my life around a box. Freedom!

    And what is this that your symposium is just around the corner?? Good lord, time really flies, miss you lady! xo

  15. Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi

    I love the idea of adding a bit of cinnamon to these popsicles. I've been doing a little 'Choosing not to linger' lately - and have found it so refreshing! Sometimes you need to just CHOOSE to be relaxed and happy ..

  16. Adriana

    Oh man did I love this post or what! So inspiring! I find myself in such need of constant everything! I don't have a TV either, but I've been obsessed over doing stuff all the time. I've been forcing myself to read books, watch documentaries on netflix, study over and over, even when I'm not really concentrating on what I read. And then all the sudden, last weekend I chose to stop. To sleep because I needed to, to go on a sunset hike and not worry about what time I was gonna wake up the day after. I love the pictures of your apartment. It looks like such an amazingly cozy place. Love the chairs in the fireplace! Hopefully you'll have the best rest of the summer ever!
    ps. I barely follow the news. It's become kind of a rule. Only once a week or so, to stay in touch with the world. That's it!

    1. megang

      Ahh, thanks Adriana. Sounds like you, too, need to be a little easier on yourself, huh? Aren't you in graduate school?? Nothing feels better than sleeping when you need to, and a sunset hike sounds perfect. Happy rest of summer to you, too.

  17. Genevieve

    I love the idea of lingering. I just tried to linger over my cup of tea while reading your blog. For once, the radio is not on. The baby is asleep. It's all quiet. I like it.

  18. Linda Sue

    So happy to have found your blog post for Bourbon and Banana popsicles, while lingering on a Saturday morning. I bought a popsicle make from WS last year, this recipe should have been in their book!
    Thank you for sharing it!

Join the Discussion

Summer Desserts

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing. 

Read More
Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

This past week we've had quite a heat wave in Seattle. I've been getting into the bakery early in the mornings so as to avoid the afternoon heat + hot oven combination, and it turns out the upstairs of our new house is quite a little hot box. I bought some aggressive blinds and a new fan and am hoping both will help cool things down a bit. The wool blanket is in the linen closet for the season, and Sam's been making iced tea like it's his job. Summer has arrived! A few nights ago, the thought of actually doing much real cooking seemed a bit overwhelming, so I figured it was time to dig out the ice cream maker and get to work. I'd wanted to do something with the beautiful strawberries we have in the markets right now, but it seems every time I get a little pint it's gone before I have the chance. They are just so incredibly sweet, and it seems a shame to do anything other than eat them right out of the container, preferably while sitting on the Moroccan picnic blanket you brought back from honeymoon on the lawn in your new backyard trying not to stress out about the incredible, insurmountable number of weeds. So. Many. Weeds. But cherries: somehow the bag of cherries made it safely through the weekend, so I set about to find a great cherry ice cream recipe. 

Read More
No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

When you have an eight month old baby, making social plans can be hard. Especially in the evenings. When I was pregnant, I read Bringing up Bebe and one of the big premises of the book is how the French feel strongly that babies and children can fit into your lives and that you shouldn't have to change and alter everything to accommodate them. I remember reading the book and thinking: YES! Life will be just as it was, except we'll have a small baby in tow. Obviously a few things would likely be different, but I didn't want to change our routines, change the way we cooked or approached time off together, or see our friends any less. Well of course I'm the fool. Or at the very least, I'm not as French as I thought I was. Today, we very much schedule things around Oliver's nap schedule and bedtime, but thankfully we have a lot of other friends with kids who get it. Friends who make homemade cookies, own ice cream businesses, and have really great taste in music. Friends who host the kind of occasion that warrants homemade hot fudge sauce and eating dessert first.

Read More
Dating Yourself

Dating Yourself

We're back! After a restful few days in Lake George, I ended up flying home while Sam spent a little time with his family in New Jersey and a few days in New York City by himself before taking the train all the way back to Seattle (a solid four day journey). If you know Sam, this isn't surprising; he loves trains. When he's gone, I quickly revert back to my single gal days of eating veggie quesadillas for dinner (over and over) and staying up working later than I'd like. We would talk on the phone often as Sam would narrate his very full days in New York City and the stops and layovers he had while on the train. After a few days of me lamenting the fact that I wasn't there to experience it all with him, he encouraged me to ditch the quesadillas and do something special for dinner. See a movie. Go to the museum for just an hour. In short: I needed to get better at dating myself.

Read More
Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

I received The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon cookbook in the mail not long before we moved to our new house, and I remember lying in bed and bookmarking pages I was excited to try but also feeling overwhelmed with where to start: the truth is that this summer has been a relatively low-inspiration / low energy time in the kitchen for me. I'd been chalking it up to pregnancy but when I think back and if I'm honest with myself, my cooking style tends to be very easy and produce-driven during these warmer months. I rarely break out complicated recipes, instead relying on fresh tomatoes and corn or zucchini and homemade pesto to guide me. But last night I cracked open Sara's book and pulled out a few peaches I've had sitting on the counter, fearing their season may be nearing its end. This morning as I was making coffee, I sliced up the peaches, toasted the pecans and churned away -- having a bite (or maybe two) before getting it into the freezer to firm up. 

Read More