If you’re a close follower of Hummingbird High, you may have noticed that I posted slightly less recipes this month than usual. Earlier this month, I wrote about slowing down my content for the summer to take a break and train my new teenage puppy, Biscuit.
I knew that training a new dog was going to be hard, but it’s proven to be more challenging than I originally thought! The first few weeks with Biscuit were really, really overwhelming. I’ll probably get judgement for saying this, but I felt a little regret during his first weeks here. My steady schedule needed to be completely rearranged and dependent around his needs, and my once clean and quiet home was now loud, chaotic, and messy. The whole experience was eye-opening—if things were this hard with a dog baby, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what things would be like with, you know, a HUMAN baby. The stakes would be SO MUCH higher, lol. It definitely reaffirmed some life decisions Erlend and I had made regarding children, ha.
But that’s another story for another time.
That being said, during these last few weeks, Biscuit’s proven himself to be plenty trainable. We’ve made incredible headway this last month—he’s 100% potty trained, 90% leash trained (I’m super proud of that one—I’ve been drilling him not to pull on the leash during our walks), and already knows a handful of basic commands. I’m anticipating he’ll get even better once puppy school starts next week. I’m hoping that, by the end of the summer, I’ll be able to get back to my regular schedule for Hummingbird High.
The Pacific Northwest Heat Dome
In addition to Biscuit’s arrival, I also lived through another “once-in-a-millennium” event: the super intense heat wave in the Pacific Northwest caused by a heat dome. Last weekend, temperatures in my city of Portland reached as high as 115°F—at one point, the only places hotter than Portland in the entire world was the Sahara Desert and Death Valley in California.
Luckily, my new place has central air conditioning. Air conditioning is still a luxury in a city like Portland—historically, we’d only ever have a handful of 90°F+ summer days. I remember back in 2013, when I bought my first house, my current roommates at the time legit ROASTED me for thinking about installing air conditioning. “You don’t need air conditioning in Portland!”, they laughed. “Air conditioning is for the weak.”
Mm. Or maybe it’s for the foresighted. Because in the last few years, things have changed dramatically. Now, 90°F+ summer days are the norm, with 100°F+ days appearing with startling frequency. My plan to install air conditioning back then probably wouldn’t be laughed at now.
Even with the relative comfort of our central air conditioning, Erlend and I spent the weekend stressed and anxious. In the last year alone, we had faced a pandemic caused by a deadly virus, hazardous smoke from wildfires that caused us to move into this new house with sealed windows and central air conditioning outfitted with HEPA filters, a freak ice storm that caused our car to catch on literal fire, and now, this heat dome. That’s far too many “once-in-a-lifetime” events… all in the span of 12 months.
It really feels like the writing is on the wall, right?
In Case You Missed It: New Recipes and Posts on Hummingbird High
And in case you missed it, I published the following new recipes and posts on Hummingbird High. Here’s a round-up of everything:
- Small Batch Honey Butter Biscuits
- Small Batch Streusel Coffee Cake
- Momofuku Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cake (This is technically an old recipe, but I recently updated it with new information and step-by-step photos!)
- Creme Brulee Without Torch Recipe
Food For Thought
This past month, I also spent a LOT of time thinking and reading about food beyond the baking recipes you see on this blog. Here are the ideas and issues that resonated with me:
- Last month, I shared Kenji Lopez-Alt’s lookback on The New York Times’ Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread Recipe, and how it achieved culinary fame. Eater, however, takes it one step further—they argue that the recipe is incorrectly attributed to Jim, and instead should be credited to a baker named Suzanne Dunaway. Forgive my inner feminist for speaking so loudly and staunchly on this subject, but OF COURSE a man would get credit for a woman’s work, right?
- Y’all KNOW I’m obsessed with ube, the purple yam often used in Filipino and other Southeast Asian desserts. I’ve made ube crinkle cookies, babka, layer cake, and more. So I especially enjoyed this deep-dive: Where Does Ube Really Come From?
- Did you guys see the @foodandwine dramz? I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. While the post was obviously well-intentioned, the tone, styling, and subject matter was definitely… off. I think the worst part was that they deleted everything and refused to acknowledge any harm or wrongdoing, except in a throwaway comment in this post. Yikes. But what do you guys think?
- Wow, there are now vegan eggs with yolks that pop and run like conventional eggs! Wild. While I think that these vegan eggs are emblematic of some pretty amazing food science, I have mixed feelings about vegan food that tries to imitate their non-vegan counterparts. Like the Impossible Burger… why do you need your plant-based burgers to “bleed” like traditional meat? There are so many amazing, delicious vegan foods like fruits and vegetables that are plenty tasty without trying to be something else!
- Speaking of food science, scientists have discovered a way to make VANILLA from plastic bottles. The future is now, it’s here.
- “The Pandemic Really Did Change How We Tip.” It’s true—I spent the last year tipping above and beyond for takeout, simple coffee runs, and even self-serve restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries. I’m happy to support essential workers, but I can’t help but feel that these businesses are using our tips as a way to suppress costs on their side and underpay their workers. Like… just pay your workers a living wage, plz?
- By now, I’m sure that many of you have seen that James Corden bit where he asks Jimmy Kimmel to taste a bunch of Asian foods like chicken feet, thousand year old eggs, and Filipino balut. They spend the bit wrinkling their nose and talking about how gross everything is. It seems like people are split—half of folks think the bit is incredibly racist, while the other half thinks that those offended are delicate snowflakes who are pressed over nothing. What do y’all think?
New Cookbooks and Ingredients To Try
- In case you missed it, I collabed with Ground Up, a local nut butter company, to develop my own custom flavor: Confetti Sugar Cookie! It has a cashew butter base, lots of vanilla flavor, and my favorite India Tree quin sprinkles. There are only a handful of bottles left, so be sure to jump on it if you haven’t tried it yet! It’s a bit on the spendy side, so here’s a code for 15% off: HUMHI15
- Summer is kind of a slow time for cookbooks, but I did get a new one I’m excited about: Jam Bake by Camilla Wynne! I’ve always wanted to get into jamming and canning—summer berries in Oregon are the BEST, and I’m always freezing them to make them last longer. But jamming and canning them would be amazing, too! Camilla also includes a ton of recipes for baked goods to make after you’ve canned and jammed everything, too.
Recipes and Resources To Save
And here are the recipes and cooking-related resources I saved these last few weeks:
- “How To Read A Food Label” in The New York Times. Though admittedly, food labels depress me more than they help me, lol. Especially since I got an Apple watch recently and have become OBSESSIVE about tracking how many calories my workout actually burns. And it’s shockingly grim—an hour long workout only burns 300 or so calories, WOMP.
- This white chocolate pistachio affogato by Simply Delicious! IMO, pistachio is an underrated dessert flavor.
Finally, On A Lighthearted Note
- “Photos Of Your Most Disturbing Hangover Meals.” Definitely felt some of these, lol.
- HOT TAKE: “Pellet Ice Is Extremely Overrated.” Omg…I kind of agree?! Come at me in the comments.
- MY GIRL OLIVIA RODRIGO APPARENTLY DOESN’T LIKE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. I was rooting her. WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR HER.
Okay, whew! That’s all for now, folks. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, and feel free to share the ideas and issues that are floating around in your heads, too.