Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Collection of Perfect Things

Are there really things we can deem as a "perfect thing"?

 I have this possibly strange thing I do. I collect perfect things. Well, not the things themselves, I suppose, but a list of them. This wasn't entirely my idea. Years ago a book showed up in my house called, "14,000 Things To Be Happy About", by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It's basically a giant list of things that make Barbara happy. I thought it was cool enough, but I realized I didn't want to just read about what makes her happy, but that I wanted my own list. 

So I pulled out a little Chinese journal that a friend had given me, which had yet to find itself a significant purpose and began to collect.... Those next few years would turn out to be my darkest and most tumultuous, and this little red journal containing simple, beautiful, nourishing things became a sort of therapy. When things in my life were painful and fragile, I would write down their opposites. 

There was no real rhyme or reason to the way they poured onto the pages. Any page could go from "The smell of newborn skin", to "having a history", to "The thesaurus", "the Sun on your face", "dark chocolate" to "running through the sprinkler fully clothed".  This simple exercise dragged my mind from my own turmoil and gave it a place to rest, cushioned with all of the things, people, experiences, tastes, smells, emotions, philosophies and memories that truly bring me happiness and peace.    

Of course, me being me, there seem to be a lot of perfect things that revolve around food and beverages in my collection. So I'm gonna go out on a limb and share some of them with you here. 

 Bacon. Lobster. Great wine. The smell of raw corn on the cob. Watching a child eat something they love. Cheese. The smell of a tomato plant. Dark chocolate. Thai iced tea. Farmers markets. Coffee. Picky Dinners. Martinis. Chunky Monkey ice cream. Cooking leisurely. A table full of friends. Homemade cranberry sauce. Family recipes. Fortune cookies. Homemade jam. Balsamic vinegar. Melona bars. Sugar cubes. Herb roasted potatoes. Sandwiches. S'mores. Margaritas. Hot chocolate. Fingerling potatoes. Jasmine rice. Gum. Toaster ovens. Roadside fruit stands. Lemon-aide stands. Thanksgiving. BBQ chicken pizza. Blueberries. Red onions. Sauteed mushrooms. Wooden spoons. Homemade chicken stock. My mom's cinnamon rolls. BBQ ribs. Goat cheese. Carving pumpkins. The perfect rows of orchards. Thyme. Green peas. English muffins. Lunch with a girlfriend. Mortar & Pestles. Roy's chocolate soufle. A fridge full of stuff you love. Warm cookies & Milk. Warm french bread. Ceviche. White rice with butter & salt. Crab with melted butter & lemon. Shirley Temples. Sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar. French onion soup. Gelato. Hot wings. Ice cold Hefewiezen with lemon. The smell of fresh baked bread. Frosty mugs. A beach side clam bake. Brownies with walnuts. Wild strawberries. Toasting marshmellows. Asparagus wrapped in bacon. Banana splits. Roasted garlic. Raspberries. Homemade pasta. Heirloom tomatoes. Mason jars. Meyer lemon trees. Saffron. Carmel corn. Lemon zest. Pork roast. Saving/using bacon fat. Godiva chocolate and red wine. Successfully flipping an omelet. Meat counters where the butcher wraps your order in paper. Swanky parties. Country Ham. Dinner at mom's house. Gourmet food stores. Talking about food. Pomegranites. A cup of tea. Secret ingredients. Jelly Bellies. Garnishing the finished dish. Cast iron pans. Your favorite coffee cup. A thirst quenching beverage. Cracking your own nuts. Drinks served in old jars. Handed down recipes with no real measurements. Mimosas at brunch. Keawe wood in the BBQ. Raw oyesters. Avocado with salt. Anything flambe. Wild rice with butter and salt. B.J.'s BBQ and Deli. Peach Cobbler. My sister's crazy breakfasts. The spice of life. Carrots plucked from the ground. Cooking shows. Chicken pot pies. Unconventional hanging pot racks. Greek food. Sidewalk cafes. Citrus blossoms. Dr. Pepper. Prime rib. Eating a bowl of pomegranite seeds. Bed and Breakfasts. Viking Subs in S.F. French toast. Vanilla beans. Leonards Malasadas. Anthony Bourdain. Chicken and Dumplings. Root beer floats. A freezing cold beer. Indian Naan bread. Falafles. Sourdough toast.. The "grannies" in popcorn. Fried bread. Sundried tomatoes. Sunday brunch. Muddeling cocktails. Italian sodas. (Are you bored yet??) Paninis. Gnocchi. Fresh squeezed juice. Ripe mellon. Teddy's Burgers. Wine shops. Cheese stores. Milk shakes. Cucumber Tzatziki. Floral patterned china. Outdoor kitchens. Pickled beets. Champagne. Tiramisu. Onion bagles. Mochi ice cream. Steel cut oats. The word "fancy" in product names. Don's Drive In. Thick pork chops. Lattice pie crusts. Mashed potatoes with butter. Ginger snap cookies. Red and yellow cherries. Sushi with my sister. Cream soda. Planting seeds. Oatmeal with butter and brown sugar. Spitting watermelon seeds. Cheers-ing. Breakfast in pajamas. Chopsticks. Having a drinking buddy. Olives with seeds. Risotto. Italian Delis. Carmel. Small boxes of raisins. Banana Bread. Polish sausage. Lobster ravioli. Chinatown markets. Tomato mozzerella and basil salad. The smell of coffee beans. Opening a wine bottle with a hammer & screws. Breakfast sandwiches. Steak Au Poivre. Pizza stones. Blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream. Cocktail shakers. Aged, dark rum. Having a tiki bar. Calzones. Riff- Raff Thanksgivings. The kids making you breakfast for no special reason. Omnivores. Grocery shopping. Coffee in bed. Ginger and mint tea. Honey mustard. Raspberry jam. Guiness beer. Mix Cafe's tuna sandwiches. Wishbones. Tagines. Herbs in small vases. Growing vegetables. A clean kitchen. Cookbook collections. Chipotle Tabasco. Elaborate cheeseburgers. Shrimp scampi pizza. Having a wine collection. Lychee martinis. Maple scones. French onion soup. Oyester shucking. Feeding frenzies. Food fights. Bowls of spice in foreign markets. Pistachios. Espresso machines. Microwaves. Open kitchen shelves. Cutting boards. Tait's "The Ballbuster' wine. The smell of a peach. Sidewalk tables. Making popovers. Green papaya salad. An Imu. Old enamel spoons. A keg of good beer. Brie and grape quesadillas. Harissa. The pop of a cork. All day cooking. Gravy. Ginger Martinis. Quiche on Christmas morning. Indian spices. Sausage meatballs. "Plungerhead" wine. The gift of Christmas meat. Bonnie Maman's Blueberry jam. Hot buttered rum. Yellow tomatoes. Eggplant and goat cheese rolls. Making something out of nothing. Chocolate shops. Ice cream sandwiches. Pepper Jack cheese. Garam Masala. Chicken tacos with lime.  Cooking on a campfire. Animal cookies. Crepes. Blenders. Roasting hot dogs on a branch. Leeks. Green tea ice cream. Flour. Having pizza dough on hand. Sugar. mountain apples. Yeast........... And the collection continues.

Of course there are plenty of non-food entries of things like: Painting your nails black when you're feeling pissy. Hockey announcers. Fringe benefits. Courage. Antique mirrors. etc, etc..... but I shall keep those to myself and leave you with the beauty of things that nourish the body and the soul as only food and drink can. I encourage you to start your own list, or at the very least, add to this one. It really is so great whether your life is unravelling or in perfect order, it's nice to remember the little things that make you happy. And please oh please, don't leave without dropping one (or more) of your favorite things in the comment section!          


  1. Standing in the silent woods watching big, fat snowflakes fall. Sitting at the end of the dock watching the sun set. Kit Kats. Fresh, warm eggs from your chicken. Fois Gras sushi at Hiroshi's. Cottage Inn pizza. Hitochino Red Rice beer.

    I'm going to go get a new journal and continue......

  2. antique alarm clocks, crumbly cheddar cheese, fire in the fireplace. . .

    i made a similar book entitled "the finer things in life" many moons ago, in fact i made a few for some people dear to me, they loved it. i loved reading some of yours!

    glad to connect with you!

  3. Anonymous: Thank you for your comment! I'm intrigued by the Hitochino Rice Beer. I've never heard of that. Where do you get it? Thanks again for stopping by!

    O Charm: your perfect things sound lovely. I like the idea of making them for people. Happy to connect with you too. I love your blog & photos.


  4. Your favorite things are My favorite things......it's in the blood!!

  5. Hitochino Red Rice beer.... first had it at the pool bar at the Edition in Waikiki but you can get it at Tamuras and Fujiokas. Cheers!

  6. I could literally have cut and pasted your favorite things as my own! Love the idea of keeping them all recorded!
    thank you for stopping by my blog! It lead me to you and I am so thankful I found your blog! It's lovely and I will be back!

  7. This is a great idea. I just recently started a quiet little text-only personal blog where each day I write down a little something for which I feel thankful. I'm sort of hoping no one ever finds it. Maybe I should make a point of hiding it from public view. We'll see. At this point it's a non-issue. Anyway... Thinking this way each day is such a gratifying exercise. As you are clearly aware, the looking back is fun too. I can't wait to continue long enough to have as many items as you've compiled in your journal. Cheers to recognizing the good in our lives.