From Where We Stand: Our Weekend in Photos

August 31, 2015

A good gray paint, a DIY beach fort, encounters of the goat kind, and more.

kenzi wilbur's living room

A living room slowwwwly coming together, and an upcoming staycation to think through all the details (and re-read all of our Home posts!). —Kenzi

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genius chocolate loaf cake

This is Nigella's Genius chocolate loaf cake, made with the Yemen La Boîte Spiced Chocolate Chips we carry in the Shop. I had never made this cake before, which I was reminded of as I was paging through my mother's copy of Genius Recipes. So glad I finally did—it's so squidgy and perfect, and the hint of spice from the chips was really tasty! —Merrill



Here's Clara contemplating feeding the goats at a farm near my parents' house in Maine (she ultimately decided it was too risky and commanded that her father do it instead). —Merrill



My friend Santiago collected these treasures (round rocks and the smoothed purple clam shells that are used to make wampum beads) on an excursion we took to Ho Hum beach on Fire Island. Glued to a piece of foam core or even floated and framed, they might end up as wall art. —Amanda


beach tent

This weekend I learned the beach isn't far from New York City—and that a fort is essential for this pale city kid to survive said beach. (The little crab shell on the right stick was my touch.) —Ali


making friends with a duck

Making friends with a duck. —Sarah

Where did you go and what did you see this weekend? Let us know in the comments. 

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rhonda35
  • AntoniaJames
  • Rebecca Burnham
    Rebecca Burnham
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
  • boulangere
Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Rhonda35 September 7, 2015
I love this column - glimpses of what the Food52 crew does when not at work. Hope you all had a relaxed and wonderful vacation week. P.S. Merrill, I will happily sacrifice myself to eating that chocolate cake anytime you want to share!!
Merrill S. September 7, 2015
Thanks, Rhonda! :)
AntoniaJames September 1, 2015
Merrill, does the Nigella Lawson cake always sink like that? If not, how can that be avoided? It looks like a good loaf cake, but I would not serve to company one that craters so dramatically. ;o)
Merrill S. September 1, 2015
Yes, in fact Kristen addresses this very topic in her post about the cake: It is sort of a hybrid pudding/cake, with a wonderful dense texture, and the sinking in the center is related. I think if you were to forgo making this for guests just because of a little slump, you'd be doing them -- and yourself -- a great disservice!
AntoniaJames September 1, 2015
Okay, I just realized that the Genius recipe says at the very end that it sinks due to its denseness. Interestingly (not surprisingly, too, I should suppose), there is no photo posted other than the cut slice.

Guess I should find another cake recipe, which I'm happy to do.

If anyone is interested, this informative piece by Shuna Fish Lydon provides valuable insights on the topic:
Cheers. ;o)
AntoniaJames September 1, 2015
Wow, that was quick, Merrill. Our messages crossed. ;o)
boulangere September 1, 2015
I felt the same when I saw the photo, AJ: it looks dreadful. I could see preparing it at home, where some explanation could satisfy family or guests that it tastes better than it looks, but I could never prepare it at work for a pastry or dessert tray. I am certain no one would touch it based on its appearance.
Merrill S. September 1, 2015
I have to say, I'm disappointed by this thread. This is a delicious cake, and sliced and served with some freshly whipped cream (maybe with a little creme fraiche whisked in), it would make a lovely dessert for company. I think it's pretty insulting to Nigella to use the word "dreadful."
AntoniaJames September 2, 2015
Thank you, Cynthia for weighing in. I value your expertise as a baker professional and as an experienced and dedicated educator in the field.

As I've looked a bit into the science underlying this, I'm now wondering whether using those $25 / pound chocolate chips instead of the chocolate called for in the recipe might have affected the outcome as well. The ingredients in the chips are not included on the sales page here on Food52, so that may be impossible to evaluate.

Either way, I'm actually thinking about doing a test with a bunch of friends and family this holiday weekend of this sunken loaf versus an excellent dense but prettily domed chocolate loaf that the talented and always reliable Alice Medrich developed 20+ years ago (back when she had her shop in Embarcadero Three, and my office was a mere 17 stories above it), to see what people think. I'll probably also test using a better "vessel" for the job, as Shuna Lydon so aptly puts it in the useful article I linked above. ;o)
boulangere September 6, 2015
In fact, I intend no disrespect whatsoever to Nigella Lawson. Rather, my issue is wih the photo. The serving platter is so small that it accentuates the sunkenness of the cake, and honestly makes it visually unappealing. "Squidgy?" I have no idea what that means. Nothing encourages me to click through to the recipe. $25 a pound chocolate chips? Sorry, not in this lifetime.
Merrill S. September 6, 2015
The purpose of this column is for people who work at Food52 to share candid photos of what they did -- and cooked -- over the weekend, not to convince you of anything. It was a mistake to encourage you to try what is truly a delicious cake recipe.
AntoniaJames September 1, 2015
Amanda H, you could also use those rocks and shells to decorate your office, or your children’s work space, or any bookshelf or window ledge, quite simply, if you are so inclined, as I do.

See the three photos posted here:

Or for a more variable approach:

Inspired by this:
Rebecca B. September 1, 2015
I'm a bit of a maniac when it comes to a good gray paint I didn't see a mention of this in your post. Would you care to share? Many thanks, Rebecca
Amanda S. September 2, 2015
The first picture! Benjamin Moore in Dorian Gray.